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I suppose that an opera-goer unable to sing in tune can understand from direct experience (maybe by trying in the morning, when shaving in front of the bathroom mirror) the skills required to produce a high C from the chest. William Weaver, the English translator of Foucault’s Pendulum, realized that this exchange hinges on the word lettera, which is used in Italian both for mailed missives and the messages of Saint Paul (the same applies in French) — while in English the former are letters and the latter epistles. In 8 Experiences in Translation Italian, the play was on two homonyms (the reference to Paul had to be inferred from the double sense of the explicit word lettera)-, in English, it is on synonyms (the reference to the current formula in telegrams had to be inferred from a quasi-explicit reference to Paul and from the weak synonymy between epistle and letter).Active or passive experience in translation is not irrelevant for the formulation of theoretical reflections on the subject. This is why, together with the translator, I decided to alter the dialogue and to reassign the responsibility for that witticism: Diotallevi - God created the world by speaking. Can we say that this is a faithful translation of my text? Thus the English version is not a translation of the Italian.But, on the one hand, this decision reflects the way in which I arrived at certain theoretical explanations, and, on the other, I deliberately wanted to discuss my experiences in the light of a ‘naive’ concept of translation. Theoreti- cally speaking, Achilles should never reach the turtle. No rigorous philosophical approach to that paradox can underestimate the fact that, not just Achilles, but any one of us, could beat a turtle at the Olympic Games.
An enticing new typology emerges, based on his insistence on a common-sense approach and the necessity of taking a critical stance. Sincere thanks go to the members of the Goggio family who, through their generous endowment, made the visit by Professor Eco, his lectures, and the publication of this new series possible.
TORONTO ITALIAN STUDIES Goggio Publication Series General Editor: Olga Zorzi Pugliese UMBERTO ECO Experiences in TRANSLATION Translated by Alastair Mc Ewen UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO PRESS Toronto Buffalo London © University of Toronto Press Incorporated 2001 Toronto Buffalo London Printed in Canada Reprinted 2001 Reprinted in paperback 2008 ISBN 978-0-8020-3533-2 (cloth) ISBN 978-0-8020-9614-2 (paper) Printed on acid-free paper Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication Eco, Umberto Experiences in translation / Umberto Eco ; translated by Alastair Mc Ewen. I have also organized the material differently so that the first part deals more with personal experiences in translation while the second part is more theoretical in nature.
(Toronto Italian studies) (Goggio publication series) Based on lectures presented Oct. With respect to the Goggio Lectures, this second part has been enhanced by many considerations suggested to me in the course of the Seminars on Intersemiotic Translation held at the University of Bologna over the last two years.
Toronto, Milano, Bologna, 1998—2000 EXPERIENCES IN TRANSLATION This page intentionally left blank Translating and Being Translated This page intentionally left blank I t seems to me that studying translation is like studying bilingual- ism.
Any study on bilingualism is primarily performed by ob- serving the behaviour of a child exposed to two languages, and only continuous daily observation yields sufficient data on the develop- ment of a double linguistic competence.
I think that a theory of translation should meet similar require- ments.