How would one translate a pause, a space, an interruption or a hesitation? How does one translate something that is not there? How does the translator deal with something that is not only not there, but is evidently not there? Translation is difficult enough as it is, but when we add to this the idea of communicating to the target audience what is between the lines then matters take on a different new outlook. Translation, as we know, is an infinite search for the disappearing and ever-retreating sign. It is an infinite chain of signifiers and signified. Add to this fact the idea that we must also represent what is not explicit in the translation and try and hint at what is implicit, then we begin to get lost in a web of nuances, hints, shadows and echoes. But this is, in essence, the very core of translation. The original text is often a voluptuous, curvaceous seductive siren which after translation becomes an exquisite smooth marble sculpture. When we look at the sculpture up close we realise it lacks certain details, it is lifeless and cold to the touch. Furthermore, the sculptor has fashioned the body too symmetrically, the features are too perfect. What is lacking is that imperfection that we equate with humanity.
Translation needs those words that are unspoken, those intrigues that lie buried beneath its paragraphs, those ideas that remain lodged firmly in the authors’ mind but are there for all to interpret in a fashion beyond just words. What translators need to remember is that brevity and nuance are often tools as useful as wit and precision.