“But if after what I have urg’d, it be thought by better Judges that the praise of a Translation Consists in adding new Beauties to the piece, thereby to recompence the loss which it sustains by change of Language…” (Dryden, 41).
It is interesting to see how Dryden and Derrida regards translation as a debt, however, is it possible to recompence the loss by adding new beauties into it? While the loss is inevitable, does the changes made by translators, which are not contained in the original, make the translation less like the original text, or recompense the loss?
Dryden’s essay discusses the notion of Imitation as proposed by Mr. Cowley. The author explains in his interpretation of the concept that imitation is the translator’s decision to write similar to that of a previous writer. The emphasis is not placed on translating the meaning of the words; rather, they consider the previous work as a “Patern” and then aim to devise the piece, as he would have. Can we then consider imitation to be a form of translation? What about paraphrase? If a piece does not elicit the same meaning as the original version, are they still considered equals?
Dryden compares literal translation to “dancing on Ropes with fetter’d Leggs: A man may shun a fall by using Caution, but the gracefulness of Motion is not to be expected”. Is he suggesting that even if translation is produced with caution, both paraphrase and metaphase face equal difficulty in ever experiencing “gracefulness of motion”? Is this to say that translation is dangerous and cannot be completed without creating fallacies?