So, you want to read Dostoevsky’s darkest and most hilarious novel, a controversial political satire, the title of which has been variously rendered as The Possessed, The Devils, Devils, and Demons? By all accounts, it’s intense! You’ve got five in-print English translations to choose from, seven in total.
How hard can it be for translators to just “get it right”? Quite hard, since there’s no single objectively correct equivalent for a lot of the words and expressions they handle. Consider any idiomatic expression, such as an informal term of endearment, and you’ll quickly see how hard it can be.
Time marches on. Should we cast aside older translations in favor of newer ones? Sometimes they seem to have all the advantages! But do they really?