Re: [OPE-L] Grundrisse. Help

From: Paul Bullock (paulbullock@EBMS-LTD.CO.UK)
Date: Mon Jul 31 2006 - 05:42:21 EDT

Dear Jurriaan,

With respect to Itoh's work I should like to make clear that whilst  I did
my best  20 years ago, Makoto systematically insisted on  many of the 'more
difficult' expressions in English that were finally printed. I remember very
well being presented with a draft with the smaller 'post-its' attached to
every question Makoto had of my amendments etc, and the thing looked like a
giant broom, so very many were there. I made every effort to retain his own
style, and from your comment would appear to have succeeded.

It is also worth remembering that all of this is always also corrected by
the professional proofer, in this case at Macmillans, whose grammatical
capacities no doubt fly way ahead of our own. Style is one thing, accepted
errors eg split infinitives, are another, and the occasional  gaff and typo
are yet further targets for the pedant, but in the end understanding the
intended sense is the final and vital issue. In the case of the ghastly
'Valorisation', even such a wretched syntactical distaster as me has to
stand up and say 'please ...noooooo',

Paul Bullock

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jurriaan Bendien" <adsl675281@TISCALI.NL>
Sent: Saturday, July 29, 2006 12:33 AM
Subject: [OPE-L] Grundrisse. Help

> Howard,
> 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
> 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
> mean all sorts of things or nothing at all, then we're not much further
> ahead.
> 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
> 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.
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> is a lot of translation, something which is often forgotten. The more
> "globalised" we become, the more translation occurs.
> Jurriaan

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