Translation Ethics

Is it ethical for a translator to improve a poem while translating it? For example, if a poem in the source language uses a cliche, does the translator have to find an equivalent cliche in the target language, or is it okay to substitute some fresh language? (This question assumes that the cliche in the source text is not used intentionally, ironically, etc.)

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.