- I agree with Vit about the importance of the "Twilight zone", or "abyss" as
Kostas puts it.
Like many people, I used to write poetry, but something that struck me was
that so much of English is based on associations with the words used, rather
than just on their meanings. Much poetry relies, I think, on the
manipulation of feelings through these associations.
An example is the difference between the U.S. usage of the words "murder"
and "homicide", highlighted by author Isaac Asimov - the former is *much*
more emotive, and for most people would immediately suggest violent death.
The latter is much more formal, and perhaps implies a cold, planned
killing... In Britain, newspapers write of "violent murders", but of
This is how I would understand the "enrichment" that Kostas mentions - the
associations that words gain over time, for whatever reason. I don't think
it is the only factor at play, but yes, culture has an important role here:
"railroad", for instance, immediately suggests an American context - but was
in fact commonly used in 19th century England alongside the (now British
So, as translators, we must play with these connotations, these implied
meanings, to recreate the "sense" of the original text in the imperfect
medium of the new language - 'imperfect' because those associations (or that
sense) will be more difficult, if not impossible, to recreate in their
entirety. If it is this sense that gives shape to poetry, we must remember
that T.S. Eliot once defined poetry as "That which language loses in the