In order to translate a poem or a story, that is, you need to have all of the material “visible”—in other words, to keep it all in mind—in order to ensure that there aren’t inconsistencies in vocabulary, and that the tone remains consistent throughout. An original text is to translation as physical reality is to a photograph of that reality, in that the translation will never be equal to the original. It will invoke the original, in a sense.
But then again, that’s sort of a tragic way to think of translation, and a simplification. It would drive a translator crazy to believe that a translation will never achieve independence, or autonomy from the original work. In translating, then, what you hope to do—aside from help spread a work into another language’s reading culture—is make a text that will evoke an equivalent emotional resonance, an equivalent visual resonance, within the social spaces of the target language. It’s sort of an art of equivalences, but the equivalent is never exact. It’s the art of fudging equivalences, to make it seem right.
I cannot wait to read his translation of Monelle - this is similar to how I think about building a website. The frustrating part is in the whole picture coming together through the details, evoking something concrete in an abstract medium.