The essays in The Art of Translation “emerged from lectures given over the past decade in the Translation Seminars at Boston University.” Rosanna Warren has done well to collect them. There must have been much illuminating, and some baffling, talk at these seminars, and the editor does not pretend that the volume represents a consensus. Indeed, she tells us that what is on offer is “not a comprehensive survey of contemporary translation practice, but an indication of the fecundity of the field.”

It could hardly be otherwise, with seventeen contributors each saying his or her piece on so disputatious a subject. For what is translation? Warren, in her introduction, quite rightly questions the meaning of “translation in the ordinary sense,” a crude notion suggesting that “up until now translators had done nothing but dump some indefinable cargo called...


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