Translating poetry

Last night in workshop, Sean read “Keeping Quiet” (“A Callarse”) by Neruda. I don’t know who the translator was (Sean?), but it was well done and was conscious of rhyme, sound, and rhythm in the new language. A few of us noted, though, that we have read really bad translations that preserve little of (what we presume is, I suppose) the original author’s intent. And the whole idea of a translation is that a third party is rewriting the original work, using his own interpretations of the author’s intent – is this not a complete bastardization? So this brought up the question for me of whether or not we should even read translations. I guess we could just go learn every language… Thoughts?

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