In this book Umberto Eco argues that translation is not about
comparing two languages, but about the interpretation of a text in
two different languages, thus involving a shift between cultures.
An author whose works have appeared in many languages, Eco is also
the translator of Gérard de Nerval''s Sylvie and Raymond
Queneau''s Exercices de style from French into Italian. In
Experiences in Translation he draws on his substantial
practical experience to identify and discuss some central problems
of translation. As he convincingly demonstrates, a translation can
express an evident deep sense of a text even when violating both
lexical and referential faithfulness. Depicting translation as a
semiotic task, he uses a wide range of source materials as
illustration: the translations of his own and other novels,
translations of the dialogue of American films into Italian, and
various versions of the Bible. In the second part of his study he
deals with translation theories proposed by Jakobson, Steiner,
Peirce, and others.
Overall, Eco identifies the different types of interpretive acts
that count as translation. An enticing new typology emerges, based
on his insistence on a common-sense approach and the necessity of
taking a critical stance.