The task of the literary translator is usually framed around the notion of ‘fidelity’ to the source text. Whatever the translator is trying to be faithful to (which is another question), any betrayal of the original, according to this logic, is deemed a failure. Or, as the Italian motto has it, traduttore traditore. The translator Mark Polizzotti has recently challenged this view in his radical ‘manifesto’ _Sympathy for the Traitor_. ‘A good translation’, he contends, ‘offers not a reproduction of the work but an interpretation, a re-representation, just as the performance of a play or a sonata is a representation of the script or the score, one among many possible representations’. Polizzotti’s proposals may partly explain the approach taken by John Deathridge in his superb new English translation of Wagner’s Ring poem.