So—if I’m Groucho—would I be inclined to remove obstacles to international comprehension? Would I understand how to pivot a joke from English to French, or—if I were Bassem—from Egyptian Arabic to English? Would I have to worry about the English equivalent of Emad Eldeen Adeeb instructing me to buy tiger-themed bed sheets, too? (And seriously? Tiger themed?) I know I’d be tempted to take the Bakhtinian route and lean into the fact that an act of translation would be taking place—that someone could achieve English as She Is Spoke by intention rather than by accident (and that’s not the only way to lean into this, but it’s the first example that came to mind)—but I’m not so sure if that’s the best, most fruitful way to do it.
On translating humour. [via The Paris Review]
Incidentally, I just reached the translating humour chapter in David Bellos’s Is That a Fish in Your Ear? yesterday.