“Dynamic equivalence”, Artur Viana writes in his contribution to this issue’s special feature on translation, “is preoccupied with retaining not only the linguistic proximity of structure and words, but the feeling of the message as well; not hesitating, for example, to modify and adapt where necessary.”
Actually, what Artur really wrote was not in English, but in Portuguese; in order to make his article accessible to a greater number of people, his piece was translated, first by the splendidly helpful Alexis Davis and Madeline Moran, and then further by myself and Anirudh Krishnan. This, mind you, was no easy process. We spent several long nights arguing over idiomatic translations and approximations of meaning, and eventually had to settle for several compromises that probably did in fact result in the loss of some of the nuances of what Artur was originally trying to say.
I do believe, as Artur goes on to argue, that the work of a translator is sometimes almost equivalent to that of a co-author; I must then here add that the work of an editor is often no less different. In preparing for this issue, we were often forced to make unhappy, difficult edits to many of this issue’s articles, throwing out eloquence and stylistic flourish in favour of readability and transparency in meaning. Like a translator, editors at Unravel seek to translate what may sometimes be difficult to comprehend into meaningful language that retains all of its progenitor’s beauty, while opening itself up to its new, more diverse audience.
The sixteen pieces we present to you in this issue are varied and vividly written, reflecting disparate and multifarious tastes on the part of our contributors in not just the usual linguistics sub-disciplines like ethnolinguistics, morphology and phonology, but also excitingly eclectic domains like heavy metal music and poetry. Two of these pieces also reflect our growing efforts toward bringing Unravel to non-English readers, with our first articles in Portuguese (Artur Viana’s work on equivalence in translation) and Spanish (Ruxandra Căparu’s piece on variation in the Spanish-speaking world). Our contributors themselves hail from every continent, with writers and designers from Brazil, New Zealand, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Our mission here at Unravel remains the same as that of every translator (and I hope every editor as well): to translate, and in doing so make accessible to the rest of the world. Though we are not always completely successful, on behalf of the editorial team and all our contributors, it is my hope that we have come as close as possible to approximating that elusive, ever-changing meaning of success in some form.
Kevin Martens Wong
12 Feb 2015