[OPE-L] Grundrisse. Help

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Fri Jul 28 2006 - 19:33:32 EDT


I think I'd prefer to  translate as follows:

The surplus product - which, by the way, becomes legally defined in
consequence of the real appropriation by labour - therewith spontaneously
belongs to this highest unity."

The basic principle I have myself in written translation is that it should
make sense, and read well in another language - which is why I don't really
like Nicolaus's version all that much for practical purposes, because he's
often rather vague and sloppy. Admittedly the Grundrisse is a difficult
text, and sometimes obscure, but if you translate so that it could intend to
mean all sorts of things or nothing at all, then we're not much further

Nicolaus tried to show Marx's thought process literally, "warts and all",
but the presumption is, that he somehow follows Marx's thought process
completely, and from the textual evidence, I doubt that quite a bit. As I
mentioned, I believe that once a text has been translated one or more times,
it's easier to improve the translation, because a lot of the simpler
problems have been solved already, and you can then concentrate on getting
the meaning good and sharp, paying attention to nuances.

As regards Paul Bullock, I studied his corrected manuscript of Prof. Makoto
Itoh's "The Basic Theory of Capitalism", and really I cannot have a very
high opinion of Paul's demonstrated editorial/linguistic skills, since the
published text (Barnes & Noble 1988) is littered with straightforward errors
and poor styling.

You can of course object to the Pelican library translation of Marx's
Capital on the ground that (1) it is published by Penguin/NLR, (2) it is
introduced by the dreaded Ernest Mandel, (3) it is a paperback, and so on.
However, it is definitely a better translation overall than previous ones,
Ben Fowkes and David Fernbach are very good translators, and people who deny
all that don't know what they are talking about.

Translation is often regarded as low-status monkey work, but in reality it
involves a science and art of communication, and a considerable amount of
inventiveness and creativity as well as the ability to think clearly.
Translation can make or break a text, and consequently make or break a
communication; it can also twist the meaning of a message around, so that it
is critically a bit different from what is intended. We are used to having
the propaganda networks spout news at us in English, but behind that English
is a lot of translation, something which is often forgotten. The more
"globalised" we become, the more translation occurs.


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