Do we as readers subconsciously make these “corrections”? How far can they go? One of the things that always surprises me when talking about Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway is how little attention is given to the fact that this novel presents the suicide of one of its characters as a gift of individual to collective, on a par with, or at least comparable to, the party that Mrs. Dalloway throws for her well-to-do friends, or indeed the writing of the book itself. These are not fashionable or “safe” thoughts. At the crucial moment, when Septimus Warren Smith, feeling threatened by another doctor’s visit, throws himself from the window onto the railings below, he yells “I’ll give it to you!” The Italian translation offers, “Lo volete voi,” which in English literally is “It’s you who want it!” or, more idiomatically, “You asked for it!” Was the translator aware she had altered the text?
Tim Parks talks a little bit about translation. [via NYRB]