The answer is clearly “Yes and no,” but detailed discussions of translation are always interesting, and here‘s one by Xujun Eberlein (you can read an interview with her here). Now, I have to say she lost me in terms of trusting her ear for poetry with this:
I’ve heard some other Chinese poets praising Ezra Pound’s errors in translating ancient Chinese poetry, saying that even the errors were interesting to read. A close look at Pound’s errors, however, demonstrated otherwise for me. Take “The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter” as an example. The original poem by Li Bai (701-762) makes allusion to the “holding-pillar faith” allegory, which comes from a book by ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi. The allegory goes like this: A man is waiting for his date under a bridge. Before the woman arrives, however, the river water unexpectedly rises. To be faithful to his date, the man doesn’t leave; he holds onto a pillar of the bridge until he drowns. The moral of this allegory is that one can place love above his own life. Pound, who did not know the Chinese language at the time, based his “translation” on Ernest Fenollosa’s meticulous unpublished notes. Fenollosa had written a draft translation of the lines that allude to the allegory, “I always had in me the faith of holding to pillars / And why should I think of climbing the husband looking out terrace.” This is quite accurate literally, but it is unclear whether Fenollosa was aware of the allusion. In any case, he did not explain it. At this point, Pound, who had faithfully followed Fenollosa’s notes so far but apparently couldn’t make sense of this part, chose to dodge it completely. He simply translated the corresponding line as “forever and forever and forever.” The meaning of “forever” was indeed implied by Li Bai in the poem, but the great Tang Dynasty poet whose pen was said to “startle the wind and rain” would never have written it so tritely. Translation like that, certainly a big departure from the original style, is uninspiring.
“The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter” is one of the glories of English poetry, for reasons which have nothing to do with Fenollosa or the details of the Chinese original, and anyone who can call “forever and forever and forever” trite and uninspiring has no business discussing it. (Perhaps Eberlein thinks the same about Lear’s “Never, never, never, never, never”? [Thanks for correcting the quote, Michael!]) But she goes on to discuss two translations of a poem by the contemporary Chinese poet Han Dong in satisfying detail, so by all means check it out if you like that sort of thing.
Also involving Chinese: China’s tyranny of characters, by R.K.G. at The Economist; it takes off from Pokémon’s announcement that “the names of the creatures would henceforth be written in characters that adhere to Mandarin pronunciation, not Cantonese,” and discusses the much-discussed issue of Chinese characters. Thanks, Paul!