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What Gets Lost

I couldn't resist this one, by the brilliant poet, essayist and translator of Borges, Neruda, José Emilio Pacheco, Herberto Padillo, Eugenio Montejo and others.

Alastair Reid

What Gets Lost

I keep translating traduzco continuamente
entre palabras words que no son las mías
into other words which are mine de palabras a mis palabras.

Y, finalmente, de quién es el texto? Who has written it?
Del escritor o del traductor writer, translator
o de los idiomas or language itself?
Somos fantasmas, nosotros traductores, que viven
entre aquel mundo y el nuestro
between that world and our own.
Pero poco a poco me ocurre
que el problema the problem no es cuestión
de lo que se pierde en traducción
is not a question 
of what gets lost in translation
sino but rather lo que se pierde
what gets lost
entre la ocurrencia -sea de amor o de desesperación
between love or desperation-
y el hecho de que llega a existir en palabras 
and its coming into words.
Para nosotros todos, amantes, habladores
as lovers or users of words
el problema es éste this is the difficulty.
Lo que se pierde what gets lost
no es lo que se pierde en traducción sino
is not what gets lost in translation, but rather
what gets lost in language itself lo que se pierde
en el hecho, en la lengua,
en la palabra misma.

from Inside Out, Selected Poetry and Translations, Polygon, 2008


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