Publication details [#11672]

Nabokov, Vladimir. 2004. Problems of translation: Onegin in English. In Venuti, Lawrence. The Translation Studies reader. London: Routledge. pp. 115–127.


The idea that the translator should try to reproduce the totality of the original source-language text in the translated language has shaped the theory and practice of translation from the nineteenth century into the twentieth. Perhaps the only exception to that practice is Nabokov, who maintains that only a literal translation, a word-for-word translation, is a valid one. At the end of the article, he reaches three conclusions: 1) it is impossible to translate Onegin in rhyme; 2) it is impossible to describe in a series of footnotes the modulations and rhymes of the text as well as all its associations and other special features; 3) it is impossible to translate Onegin with reasonable accuracy by substituting for the fourteenth rhymed tetrameter lines of each stanza fourteen unrhymed lines of varying length, from iambic dimeter to iambic pentameter.
Source : Based on information from author(s)