The Task of the Translator

Walter Benjamin

“For what does a literary work ‘say’? What does it communicate? It ‘tells’ very little to those who understand it. Its essential quality is not statement or the imparting of information. Yet any translation which intends to perform a transmitting function cannot transmit anything but information—hence, something inessential. This is the hallmark of bad translations.”[1]

[1] Walter Benjamin, Illuminations. New York: Schoken Books, 2007


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