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A Story

October 24th, 2008 by justinb

The same thing always happened to him. When someone translated one of his poems into a foreign language (at least, a foreign language that he knew), his own verses sounded better than in the original. This is why it came as no surprise that he found the French version of his poem “Time and the bell” amazing, graceful and full of substance.

Two years later, an Italian translator who did not know Spanish translated that French version. Although he had never been a big supporter of indirect versions (keeping in mind however that this is how he had been introduced to , and years before), he greatly enjoyed his poem” in italico modo.”

Another three years passed and an English translator who, like most , did not know Spanish based his translation on the Italian version based on the French version. Despite being so far from the original, it was the most pleasing to the original Spanish speaking author. It just surprised him a bit (he actually attributed it to a printing error) that this new indirect version was entitled “” and that the name of the alleged author was a . Nevertheless, he liked it so much that he decided to personally take on the task of translating it into Spanish.


in Cuentos Completos (Ed. Seix Barral 1994, p.497)
Mario Bendetti (born in Uruguay in 1920) is described as a poet who also writes stories and novels. His novel La tregua (1960), whose cinematic version was nominated for an Oscar in 1974, has been translated into 19 languages. He has published over 80 books and earned countless awards.

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4 Responses to “A Story”

  1. Punchis Says:

    In my personal opinion every single text changes a lot when it’s translated, I think that only the idea can be translated. And in this particular case (Burnt Norton) T.S. Eliot did a nice job… Still, enough? This are beautiful words to be translated without the risk of getting lost in the idea, plus trying to translate being objective.
    Really nice article Mr justinb.

  2. Punchis Says:

    In my personal opinion every single text changes a lot when it’s translated, I think that only the idea can be translated. And in this particular case (Burnt Norton) T.S. Eliot did a nice job… Still, enough? This are beautiful words to be translated without the risk of getting lost in the idea, plus trying to translate being objective.
    Really nice article Mr justinb.

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  4. Jamie Says:

    Hey – I stumbled on this site by mistake. I was looking in Yahoo for Accounting software that I had already bought when I came upon your site, I have to say your site is really cool I just love the theme, its amazing!. I don’t have the time today to fully read your entire site but I bookmarked it and also will sign up for your RSS feed. I will be back around in a day or two. thanks for a awesome site.

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