"Just as a tangent touches a circle lightly and at but one point, with this touch rather than with the point setting the law according to which it is to continue on its straight path to infinity, a translation touches the original lightly and only at the infinitely small point of the sense, thereupon pursuing its own course according to the laws of fidelity in the freedom of linguistic flux."
— Walter Benjamin, “The Task of the Translator,” Illuminations
"In my novel A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea, which was written in English and translated into fourteen languages, I made liberal use of these sayings in creating the voices of four older village women who mutter and opine and worry in idioms. In translating each phrase into English (and watching them be translated into other languages, though my involvement was limited to clarification and approval of slight variations), I had to strip each idiom of its connoted, cultural meaning in my own mind (e.g., it’s difficult for a Persian to think of I want to eat your liver as anything other than I love you, especially since modern speech has shed a few of its syllables so it sounds more like I want your liver). Then I rebuilt the expressions using precise images (e.g., we are talking about eating a liver, not admiring one)."