https://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/poem/item/3779/auto/0/CLIFF

A poet clearly is a “producer” of knowledge. In the case of the translation of Rin Ishigaki’s “Cliff” it could also be argued that the translator is another “producer” as he is producing something new for a new audience. The translator is also of course a “user” of the original poem.

The issue of “accuracy” regarding literature in translation is important as the translator has a duty to the original Japanese poem but also has a certain degree of freedom. Some ideas cannot be simply translated word for word and the translator has the ability to deviate from a purely “accurate” translation in order to try and preserve themes, tone, etc.

Readers of literature are “users” but are not really responsible for reading it “accurately” in the same way an editor of a math journal article is. Or course readers or art can and do misinterpret ideas; not every interpretation of a piece of art is equally valid so there is some responsibility to justify one’s views on a poem.


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