In The Translators Task, Benjamin relates translation to “a form of art”. He explains that both art and translation should not be concerned with their communicative purposes but rather their “pure form of language”. In accordance with Benjamin, I believe that such a “pure form of language” cannot exist. For instance, if one considers a sentence “I love dogs”, the sentence itself prevents language from becoming pure. The three words strung together in a sentence producing “I love dogs” communicates a particular idea since it possesses meaning. But, as Benjamin argues, the sentence itself is “the wall in front of the language of the original”. Is this to say that in a single work of translation one must have an understanding of all the languages of the world to break such a barrier? Would this mean the only way to achieve a “pure form” of language is via the sum of all languages?
The question that he propose “Is a translation meant for readers who do not understand the original?” (P. 75) makes me think about this: what he means by “understand”- the reader doesn’t know the original language or he doesn’t understand the book at all, then it would be different things. But then what is the role of translator here: is he just translating the book or he’s also explaining it(domestication)?.
“Languages are not strangers to one another, but are, a priori and apart from all historical relationships, interrelated in what they want to express”- the main problem of translation I guess as mode.
Walter Benjamin opens his argument by expressing his notion that it is useless to take the audience into consideration when analyzing a form of art. He declares, “No poem is meant for the reader, no picture for the beholder, no symphony for the audience.” The discussion then follows by questioning whom the translation is intended for. The suitable response provided states that the translation is created for those who do not understand the original. This would have to be the most likely purpose for expressing “the same thing” twice. One can conclude then that the translation is produced for the reader, but can we not then assume that the original must be formed for the reader as well? If we assume that the art is not created for the reader and is just an expressive element, is there a significant purpose for its translation? It can be argued that society would lack a great appreciation and knowledge of culture without insight into such concepts. For example, translations of the Bible are deemed necessary for the spread of the Word of God. How then does one establish the drive from which art is generated?