Transleatery

by quisquilia

Quisquilia: Lib. nov. is to be found here.

Buddha Bodai, Chinatown, NYC. Apr 2017.

Buddha Bodai, Chinatown, NYC. Apr 2017.

On Monday he ate through 1 apple. But he was still hungry.
On Tuesday he ate through 2 pears, but he was still hungry.
On Wednesday he ate through 3 plums… And went to 77 Mulberry St. in Chinatown.

Kosher Cantonese cuisine with vegan options, as a reviewer put it, in and of itself opens a space of transpositions and permutations with unexpected, plentiful and miraculous – and thoroughly delicious – results, and the same holds true when, upon entering the premises’ facilities, you find in addition to the health-code mandated (and thus standardised) sign requiring employees to wash their hands a note which while carefully translated and designed with perk and playfulness in mind, boasts chock-full of all the challenges contemporary theories of translation are trying to tackle.

But here, this gentle reminder – by an anthropomorphic waste disposal of all things – to leave the sink in the (clean) state you wish to find it in, makes me just smile and think of caterpillars for a moment and then wonder about Ortega y Gasset’s adage traduttore, traditore. Is this a genuine example of translating in the sense Ortega y Gasset proposes or is it rather an act of writing in and of itself: Affable, but firm in principle? Dulce ma risoluto?

To write well is to employ a certain radical courage. Fine, but the translator is usually a shy character. […] What will he do with the rebellious text? Isn’t it too much to ask that he also be rebellious, particularly since the text is someone else’s? He will be ruled by cowardice […] he will betray him. Turn him into a beautiful butterfly.

To get back to the restaurant from which this all originated, I’d like to add: La traducción no es un doble del texto original. Which roughly translates to: While imitation is, no doubt, a form of flattery, in this instance the curious reader is well-advised to go for the audacious re-interpretation. It even has a new title /name.

– Quote from Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Thanks for your visit!

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