Experiences in Translation

Umberto Eco
Published in 2001
by University of Toronto Press

In Experiences in Translation, translated from the Italian by Alastair McEwen, novelist and scholar Umberto Eco argues that translation is about interpretation and connotation, and a shift between cultures. Based on a series of lectures on translation given by Eco in 1998, the first half of the book reflects on his personal experiences translating literature as well as having his work translated by others. Eco demonstrates how a translation can express a deep understanding of a text while violating both lexical and referential faithfulness, and how translation can be thought of as a semiotic task, using examples from translations of his own and other novels, translations of the dialogue of American films into Italian, and versions of the Bible. The second half of the book dives into translation theories proposed by Roman Jakobson, C. S. Pierce, George Steiner, and others. Anyone interested in language and literary translation will appreciate Eco’s approachable and thoughtful discussion. 

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