Common European thought is the fruit of the immense toil of translators. Without translators, Europe would not exist; translators are more important than members of the European Parliament.
Many critics, no defenders,
translators have but two regrets:
when we hit, no one remembers,
when we miss, no one forgets.
Say what we may of the inadequacy of translation, yet the work is and will always be one of the weightiest and worthiest undertakings in the general concerns of the world.
J. W. Goethe
Translation is not a matter of words only: it is a matter of making intelligible a whole culture.
Either the translator leaves the author in peace, as much as is possible, and moves the reader towards him: or he leaves the reader in peace, as much as possible, and moves the author towards him.
Translation quality assessment proceeds according to the lordly, completely unexplained, whimsy of “It doesn’t sound right”.
Translators live off the differences between languages, all the while working toward eliminating them.