To the Editors:
Mr. Creighton Gilbert in his review of Michelangelo the Painter (NYR August 20) was quite right to complain about the many errors in the translation. A poor translation is an abomination, unfair to both author and readers.
It was amusing to me, however, to catch Mr. Gilbert in an error of his own when he says that the phrase “young candiotto,” a reference to El Greco, should be translated “young Cypriot.” Not so, Mr. Gilbert. El Greco was a Cretan, from the city of Candia, now called Heracleion. He was known to his contemporaries as “the man from Candia.” The correct translation should be “young Candian” or more freely, “young Cretan.”
Lucile H. Brockway
Creighton Gilbert replies:
Yes indeed, perfectly true. I have only to add that Miss Brockway will credit me, I trust, with knowing which island was El Greco’s birthplace—Crete—and (as a consequence) knowing that Candiotto should be translated accordingly. So what I did in effect was less a translation error than an absent-minded muddle between the currently headlined island and the correct island. Which is worse still.
Tolnay's Michelangelo December 3, 1964