Frank Wynne

The translator as spy

Translators are like bumblebees. In 1934, the French entomologist August Magnan pronounced the flight of the bumblebee to be aerodynamically impossible, and though long since scientifically disproved, this factoid is still routinely trotted out. Similar pronouncements about the impossibility of translation have dogged practitioners since Leonardo Bruni’s De interpretatione recta, published in 1424. Meanwhile, bees,