Tuesday, August 13, 2013



James Howell (1594?–1666), Epistolae Ho-elianae: The Familiar Letters of James Howell, Historiographer Royal to Charles II, ed. Joseph Jacobs, Books II.-IV. (London: David Nutt, 1892), letter III.21 (March 25, 1646), "To Sir Paul Neale, Kt.", pp. 544-545:
Or I may say, Translations are like the wrong side of a Turkey Carpet, which useth to be full of thrums and knots, and nothing so even as the right side: Or one may say (as I spake elsewhere), that Translations are like Wines ta'en off the lees, and poured into other vessels, that must needs lose somewhat of their first strength and briskness, which in the pouring, or passage rather, evaporates into Air.

Moreover, touching Translations, it is to be observ'd, that every Language hath certain Idioms, Proverbs, and peculiar Expressions of its own, which are not rendible in any other, but paraphrastically; therefore he overacts the office of an Interpreter who doth enslave himself too strictly to Words or Phrases. I have heard of an excess among Limners, call'd too much to the Life, which happens when one aims at Similitude more than Skill: So in version of Languages, one may be so over-punctual in words, that he may mar the matter. The greatest fidelity that can be expected in a Translator, is to keep still a-foot and entire the true genuine sense of the Author, with the main design he drives at...

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