Jorge Luis Borges and the Debate of Translation
universidad de leon
Most translations with which we are familiar have been performed within the Indoeuropean family of languages and the culture of this linguistic domain is homogeneous. Most linguists have arrived at the conclusion that translation from a language into another is possible at least in the field of universals. As a matter of fact, many linguists for whom the translation of the whole message within the text is impossible, distinguish a vast corpus of vocabulary in al! European languages which expresses the identity of culture. The description of this identity of languages has been done by Whorf under the name of Standard Average European. It seems obvious that translation ought to be considered not as confrontation of linguistic systems but as a contact and mutual interpenetration, bilinguism being the best way for these contacts. Jorge Luis Borges is perhaps the writer who represents the best of this mode!. As you know, he lived in Switzerland, Italy and in Spain. He used to feel at home in several languages but English and Spanish were simultaneously learnt, however he affirms that he is condemned to write in Spanish. He penetrated different cultures. He delighted in spreading the sense of the foreign, of the mysteriously mixed. What is central in him is the idea of the writer as a guest, as ahuman being whose task is to be sensitive to many strange currents, as a person who has to keep the doors of his temporal rooms open, to let al! the winds enter. Although he considers the Spanish language his íate, he used English words both in his writings and his talk. He used them for precision, when Spanish fails to fulfill his aspirations to exactness.
- Livius- nº 02 (1992)