Today I stumbled again into Lawrence Venuti’s book The Translator’s Invisibility and thought that it would be a good occasion to draw from one of his essays to give you a more real example of a domesticating translation, as we talked about a few posts ago. As a quick recap, domestication and foreignisation are two opposing methods of translation, which can be used in many areas of the industry, including business translation services.
In 1636 Sir John Denham published his translation of the Aeneid and he commented on his own work by saying that he had followed Horace’s suggestion to translate sense for sense rather than word for word. He also added that translators should not be fides interpretes (= trustworthy interpreters) when dealing with poetry. This is also the case for the majority of other areas, including business translation services.
Denham wrote a very nationalistic piece of writing. However, this tradition comes from France and the contrast between this nationalistic attitude and the foreignness of the technique already highlight the contradictions of this piece. A predecessor of Denham was indeed D’Ablancourt, who translated Virgil’s Annals and dedicated them to Cardinal Richelieu. Denham aims to remind readers of the defeated royalist segment of the Caroline aristocracy and to help it regain its hegemonic status in English culture. But how can this be achieved through a translation?
First of all, Denham’s choice of text already goes toward royalist cultural politics. He chose to translate only around 550 out of the 800 lines of Book 2, and his work ends with the death of Priam. Since he translated that the king (Priam) died, but the State survived, he conveys the political allegory that the monarchy survived its destruction. Secondly, [...]