Literary Translation is an Art, Not a Science

All reading is, in a sense, a kind of translation, a search for meanings in a text written by someone else. We realise the impossibility of ever pinning down ‘an original meaning’ whilst enjoying our own interpretations. – LiterarytranslationThe owners of the website, literarytranslation, have a wonderful take on literary translations – they believe that it is an art in itself and wholly undervalued and under-rated in modern society. And while they don’t dispute the value of academia in literary translation, they argue that an academic background in translation is not necessary in order to be a good translator.This is a point of view to which I subscribe, but I have always held that tertiary education is not necessarily indicative of ability or capability, regardless of the profession (except perhaps medicine). Having a feel for writing and being able to convey an original author’s intent is perhaps more important in literary translation than grammatical correctness and puritanical style. To be able to successfully convey another’s story to a new audience, it is necessary to have an understanding of the author’s culture, his or her country, traditions, and circumstances at the time. It is important to feel where to place emphasis in relation to structure, italics and the like, as opposed to blindly copying the structure of the original text.This not something that can be easily taught, which is why, way back in the 19th century, established authors were primarily responsible for translating literary works. And they did so not because they were under contractual obligations or because it was a job and they needed the money, but because they had a passion for the work in question and an undying desire to share it with the rest of the world. Literarytranslation says that translating other works was a right of passage for aspiring authors, as it taught them about different styles, opened them up to different cultures and broadened their views. Translating the works of others helped writers to find their voices in their own writing.These days the focus is on standardisation and exactness as opposed to accuracy. Translated works are deemed to be good only if they resemble the original as closely as possible in structure and form and this is not always a good thing. The website laments the fact that more importance is given to “formal linguistic equivalence” and not “literary savvy”. As one quotation on the site says, ‘more correct doesn’t mean better loved’.Reference:http://www.literarytranslation.com

Western Painting – Russian Futurism – Russia’s Artistic Prelude to Science and Technology

The ConceptRussian Futurism was an artistic movement in the fields of literature and Visual Arts that hit Russia in the early 20th century. Russian Futurism took its cues from the famous manifesto published by an Italian poet Fillip Marinetti (1876-1944) on the front page of the February 20, 1909, issue of the French daily newspaper Le Figaro. Inspired by this manifesto, a group of Russian poets and artists formally adopted the ideology of Marinetti’s manifesto in December 1912, under the leadership of Ukrainian artist David Burlyuk (1882-1967).The HistoryIn comparison to its Western counterpart, Russian Futurism is an esoteric and little-known trend. However, it was an enormously momentous movement in Russia, leaving its marks both, in art forms (theatre, graphic art, painting, & poetry) and public life. The Russian Futurists named themselves ‘Budetlyane’ – people of the future.The DetailsNotwithstanding the apparent resemblance flanked by Russian and European Futurism, each had its own style, displaying the nation’s local traditions and outlook. One of the distinctive qualities of Russian Futurism was the merger of all probable styles and trends – “everythingism,” as defined by French Futurist poet Ilya Zdanevich(born 1913). The setback of one common approach was not encouraged. They espoused speed, technology, & violence, and was pictured as celebrating the technological, future era and its triumphs over nature. Highly influenced by Cubanism, Russian Futurism even went beyond the techniques of Cubanism.The ArtistMost of the Futurist artists also wrote poetry (Velimir Khlebnikov, Vladimir Mayakovsky, David Burlyuk, Alexei Kruchenykh, & Elena Guro) and were musicians too (Nikolai Kulbin, Vladimir Baranoff-RossinÐ~, & Mikhail Matiushin). They mutually understood that with their understanding of Futurism as an art form was determining the man of the future. Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich, Pavel Filonov, Olga Rozanova, Nikolai Kulbin, and Alexandra Exter also paid tribute to Russian Futurism at some junctures of their careers. David Burlyuk, so-called “vicar of Russian Futurism,” stood at the core of this galaxy of Russian futuristic stars. One of the finest examples of Russian Futuristic works is David Burlyuk’s ‘Glass Eye,’ a unique representation of the Futurist view of the world. The exhibition at the Russian Museum consisted of some two hundred works of art – painting, graphic, decorative & applied art, book graphics, archive documents, and sculptures of these artists. Poster of ‘Victory over the Sun’ by El Lissitzky’s and ‘Cyclist’ (1913) by Natalia Goncharova are a couple of other Russian Futurism milestones.ConclusionThe movement began to decline after the revolution of 1917. Some Futurists died, others emigrated. Although considered extinct, Russian Futurism still powerfully echoes in the modern, popular culture and art of Russia. As David Burlyuk rightly summarized it, “Russian Futurism is not a school, it is a new disposition.”