Article published in:Voice in Retranslation
Edited by Cecilia Alvstad and Alexandra Assis Rosa
[Target 27:1] 2015
► pp. 25–39
Anxieties of influence
The voice of the first translator in retranslation
A defining feature of retranslation is that a previous translation exists, and this earlier text has a first translator. In this article we argue that the figure of the first translator exerts an influence in the retranslation process, and all retranslators are forced to develop a stance towards the predecessor. Taking Harold Bloom’s notion of anxiety of influence in poetry as a starting point, we look at two cases of retranslation that share the same famous first translator, Pentti Saarikoski, analysing how and where the voice of this first translation can be heard in the retranslations. According to Bloom’s taxonomy, there are six modes available to poets. Applying the same taxonomy to our two retranslators, we find that they have resorted to different modes. What remains constant is that the figure of the first translator is an unavoidable function of the retranslation process and needs to be taken into account both by the retranslator and by researchers studying retranslations.
Keywords: retranslator, first translator, anxiety of influence, Pentti Saarikoski, dependency, translator roles
Published online: 09 February 2015
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