Something does, on occasion, fall from a torch. A bit of pitch.
Karl Kraus (F 279-280: 5)


post № 16

12 March 2015


New translation: A misunderstanding

A misunderstanding” (1911) is a translation of the gloss entitled “Ein weitverbreitetes Mißverständnis” (F 338: 1-2) and is, to the best of my knowledge, the first English translation of this gloss. Should this be false, kindly let me know where I can find an existing translation. I would be very interested in reading it.


Because my English translation of the title is not a literal translation of the German and because it is not readily identifiable to German-speakers as a translation of this gloss, I would like to say a quick word about my decision to opt for a non-literal translation here.


The German title might be rendered literally as “[a] widespread misunderstanding.” I have, however, opted to abbreviate and to rearrange the structure of the title in English for the purpose of tone. It seems to me that “[a] misunderstanding spread far and wide […]” renders the tone of this gloss more faithfully than a literal translation would. A literal translation would—so I would venture—even set the wrong tone and be a bit choppy stylistically in the context of this gloss. Admittedly, these are subjective considerations, and my decision here is a subjective one. Yet, it also satisfies two metrics common to any good translation: accuracy and completeness. These are no doubt complicated metrics, and unpacking them would be beyond the scope of any blog post introducing a translation. But suffice it to say that my understanding of accuracy includes, as hinted at above, the tone of the text, such that I strive—almost without exception—to render the tone of Kraus’s writings faithfully in my English translations of his writings.


Whether I have been successful is not for me to say. I am too close to the material. But I can hope.


Happy reading.


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