Almost every time that someone compares the translation of a text with its original, the quality of the translation is rarely awarded with overall positive comments: there is always ‘something missing’, there are always some aspects of the original that are inevitably ‘left behind’, even when it is recognized that the translator ‘has done a remarkable job’. Whenever someone compares a text to its translation, there is always a feeling that the ‘original text has lost many of its qualities in translation’. There are far too many examples which could evidently support this type of assertions, both in literary texts and in texts of other linguistic genres, due not only to the specific cultural and grammatical differences between the source and target languages concerned, but also, sometimes, to the inattention or inaccuracies of the translator(s) or of the automatic translation systems used to translate a text. The following paper aims to identify the reasons behind this ‘sense of loss’, and to suggest an alternative interpretation of it, by describing some practical examples of translation and by illustrating the ethical and theoretical implications involved in the translation of any text, in order to be fully aware and to re-evaluate the complexity and the importance of this process.
What is really lost in translation?Some observations on the importance and the ethics of translation / Gandin, Stefania. - In: ANNALI DELLA FACOLTA' DI LINGUE E LETTERATURE STRANIERE DELL'UNIVERSITA' DI SASSARI. - ISSN 1828-5384. - 6:(2009), pp. 81-96.