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?
There are several reasons the edition of a book might matter to a reader or book collector. (Don’t forget legibility!)
I found so much information on translations of Madame Bovary that I had to split this post into two! Part 1 of this post talks about the history of the novel and the challenge of translating it. The post gives information about 11 translations published from 1886 to 1965, including the original Marx-Aveling translation.