Translating – another version of paradox

from Edwin Honig’s introduction to his collection of interviews The Poet’s Other Voice: Conversations on Literary Translations:

Is translation as self-transcendence still another version of the paradox: to know yourself, lose yourself in the other other? If voice is the instrument making it possible for poets to continue writing by giving immediacy and validity to whatever gifts they possess, it also exists in the constant collaboration between the language of the living and the language of the dead. Poets come to know that voice is both one’s own and not one’s own. As Antonio Machado observes, the poet, perceiving all the unbidden echoes in his personal language, realizes that his voice is not “mine” but “ours.” He senses that it resounds, as a collaborative instrument, and that the collaborators are the literary masters of many human languages, including many he does not know, as well as the special languages of trees, waters, and illiterate grandmothers.

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