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@jeremycherfas @rnv I never got that far. After encountering their bland Dead Souls, deadly dull Demons, and watery Crime & Punishment, I gave up. I later did some side-by-side comparisons of all three with different translations, and assumed that the P/V clunkiness had to do with them trying to retain a fidelity to the original’s idioms, which the other translators smoothed over or handled more colorfully. But I’ve since encountered a number of essays (no citations handy at the moment, sorry; will see if I can dig up some links) that describe in detail how P/V often don’t even get the idioms or styles of the original right, and all too often make pointlessly bad choices.

That is, if you’re going to take liberties, at least be interesting. That’s why, for example, Constance Garnett’s versions endure. She was loose, and sometimes strayed far from the source material at the actual word-choice level, but she had a great ear and, as far as I’ve been able to determine, recreated the feel of the original.

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