Ursula LE Guin’s First Note

“The difficulty of translation from a language that doesn’t yet exist is considerable, but there’s no need to exaggerate it.

The past, after all, can be quite as obscure as the future. The ancient Chinese book called Tao teh ching has been translated into English dozens of times, and indeed the Chinese have to keep retranslating it into Chinese at every cycle of Cathay, but no translation can give us the book that Lao Tze (who may not have existed) wrote. All we have is the Tao teh ching that is here, now. And so with translations from a literature of the (or a) future. 

The fact that it hasn’t yet been written, the mere absence of a text to translate, doesn’t make all that much difference. What was and what may be lie, like children whose faces we cannot see, in the arms of silence. All we ever have is / here, now.” 

- From Always Coming Home (1985)