"Tradução Literária" ― a collective blog on literary translation

Today's RecBLOG is called Tradução Literária ( "Literary Translation" in Portuguese) and it is a collective effort to bring multilingual literature to an audience that reads Portuguese, even though it also strives―and sometimes struggles―to take works written in Portuguese to an international audience.

In addition to the languages that most commonly interact with Portuguese, such as English, Spanish, French, and German, this blog also features material in Classic Greek, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, and Arabic.

Most translations are provided into Portuguese, though, including works by Robert Frost, Sylvia Plath,  Emily Dickinson, Charles Bukowski, Walt Whitman, and Edgar Allan PoeHowever, Brazilian authors have also been translated into a foreign language, which is a very admirable initiative. To mention two examples, Carlos Drummond de Andrade's Poema de sete faces  was translated into German, and a fragment of Dom Casmurro  by Machado de Assis is available in English. 

Regarding the latter, there's a fragment of O desespero  (Chapter 75) that contains a mistranslation. More precisely, the expression atirava-me à cama  should have been simply translated as "throwing myself in bed," but the translator made a decision to use the expression "I stroke myself onto the bed."

For readers of English, the image that is created in one's head upon seeing the words "stroke" and "myself" together is that of a sexual nature, albeit a solitary activity―if you know what I mean <wink, wink>.  Reading the rest of the paragraph, an English reader may think that Bentinho saw Capitu and couldn't help but lock himself in his room and give in to his sexual fantasies.

On the other hand, the original excerpt is describing the desperate situation Bentinho finds himself in, to the point that he is considering becoming a priest as a possible solution to stop longing for her love.

Despite such hiccups, the blog is a very valid effort to bring literary translation to the discussion. With extra sets of eyes, contributors may benefit from the interaction with the audience and tweak their work further in order to bring to the target language almost the exact image that is created by the author in the source language, which is the true goal of all literary translators.