There are failures too though. Some are of the sort that plague most any endeavor in this vale of tears: inadequacy – incompetence – ineptitude.
A New Yorker cartoon – beloved in translator circles – shows someone approaching a horror-stricken writer and saying ‘Do you not be happy with me as the translator of the book of you’?
Some are cases of the capable but incompatible: not every good translator can translate every good book. They say poetry is what gets lost in et cetera – but humor might be even more often misplaced.
Not getting the joke is a common form of not catching the music.
And sometimes when a translator totally hijacks the original the failure is so dramatic – its lapses from the source text so catastrophic – that it’s hard to tell if it might not be a success after all.
Is what we have here a terrible translation or fake-terrible or fake-fake-terrible?