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Quotes about Language and Translation

Here you will find a selection of quotes about language and translation.

Author Quote
Plato In good speaking, should not the mind of the speaker know the truth of the matter about which he is to speak?
Ezra Pound A great age of literature is perhaps always a great age of translations.
Gregory Rabassa A translation can never equal the original; it can approach it, and its quality can only be judged as to accuracy by how close it gets.
Gregory Rabassa A translator is essentially a reader and we all read differently, except that a translator's reading remains in unchanging print
Gregory Rabassa I have always maintained that translation is essentially the closest reading one can possibly give a text. The translator cannot ignore "lesser" words, but must consider every jot and tittle.
Gregory Rabassa Translation is a disturbing craft because there is precious little certainty about what we are doing, which makes it so difficult in this age of fervent belief and ideology, this age or greed and screed.
Russian Proverb Translation is like a women: if she is faithful, she is not beautiful; if she is beautiful, she is not faithful.
Carl Sandburg Slang is language that rolls up its sleeves and spits on its hands
Theodore Savory The translator's task is much harder than that of the original author.
Theodore Savory The translator's task is much harder than that of the original author.
Leonardo Sciascia The best thing on translation was said by Cervantes: translation is the other side of a tapestry.
Lewis Thomas The gift of language is the single human trait that marks us all genetically, setting us apart from the rest of life.
Henry David Thoreau It is the man that determines what is said, not the words.
Voltaire It is impossible to translate poetry. Can you translate music?
Voltaire Translations increase the faults of a work and spoil its beauties.
Friedrich Von Schlegel What is lost in the good or excellent translation is precisely the best.
Don Watson It is part of the business of marketing to muddy the distinction between altruism and cynicism.
Don Watson Pictures rule, but words define, explain, express, direct, and hold together our thoughts and what we know.
Noah Webster A national language is a band of national union.
Edward Wilson Our species and its way of thinking are a product of evolution, not the purpose of evolution.

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