8 January 2020

On Translation

In translation theory, there are those who believe translators should “intentionally disrupt the linguistic and genre expectations of the target language in order to mark the otherness of the translated texts.” 1

That a translator should squeeze out a deliberately clunky, turgid turd of a book so that the reader never loses sight of the fact that the author’s language is not his own — it is such a preposterous idea that only an academic could take it seriously.

Partly to counteract this kind of eggheaded foolishness, partly to try my hand at typesetting a smaller book, 2 I decided to reissue Hilaire Belloc’s Taylorian lecture On Translation. It is full of sound advice but has been out of print since 1931. If I ever win the lottery I plan to drop thousands of copies on university campuses from a low-flying Sopwith Camel.

The printer made a mess of the first batch and misaligned the covers, so I now have a few to give away. If any of you, my dear readers, would like one of these factory seconds, just send your address to andrewjrickard@gmail.com

International requests are welcome — it is a slender volume and won't cost me much to mail.

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1 Kjetil Myskja, “Foreignisation and Resistance: Lawrence Venuti and His Critics,” Nordic Journal of English Studies Vol 12, No 2 (2013)

2 Edwin Grabhorn was right: A small book is harder to design.


I've always liked the 4x6 format, the size of Reclam's Universal-Bibliothek.
I vaguely remember reading that Shigeo Iwanami was inspired by Reclam.