Embracing and Encouraging the Act
of Translation as One of Creation

Misunderstandings or Mischaracterizations?

__ My human rights attorney wife has a heart of gold and a penchant for Jane Austen, so when her mother requested that she write a Christmas letter of love and appreciation to her recently-bereaved grandmother, she responded with a poem (her undergrad degree is, after all, in English literature – with honors). The poem was beautiful and quite moving, I wish I’d written it myself, and yes, her grandmother cried when it was read to her over Skype on Christmas morning. But it did spawn an unexpected question among more of her family members than I can count: “Why doesn’t it rhyme?”

__ My wife’s family is comprised of reasonably intelligent folk, they’re just not readers, especially of poetry, so this grand misunderstanding wasn’t that surprising. But it did get me thinking, in how many other literary misunderstandings is the human race engaged? Translation has got to be at the top of that list.