To Read What Hasn’t Been Written: "Ler o Que Não Foi Escrito" by João Barrento, Walter Benjamin, Paul Celan
“Ler o Que Não Foi Escrito - Conversa inacabada entre Walter Benjamin e Paul Celan” (To Read What Hasn’t Been Written – Unfinished conversation between Walter Benjamin and Paul Celan)
I’ve always been interested in the “mechanics” of translation. To be interested in the inner workings of translation is to be interested in reading Walter Benjamin, which I’ve been doing for a long time. Once again the influence of one of my German professors: Winfried Scheulen.
The Portuguese German studies owes a lot to Prof. João Barrento, namely his monumental translations from German into Portuguese of poets like Goethe, Musil, Celan, and Benjamin, to name just a few of the great German thinkers that we’re able to read in Portuguese because of his efforts. German translation is synonym with the name “Barrento”. I still remember one of his notes regarding the difficulty in translating German texts with many relative clauses…the problem lies in the fact that Portuguese does not allow the construction of nested clauses one after the other, as it’s pretty common in German, at least in literary texts.
Read on, if you're into Philosophy and Translation.