In his essay ‘Translation and the Trials of the Foreign’ (trans. Venuti 2000), Antoine Berman outlines his negative analytic, a list of twelve deforming tendencies, unconsciously practised by translators, that give rise to target texts which fail to respect the foreign-ness of the original text. Just as the problematic of meaning in ‘The Task of the Translator’ makes the translator’s relationship with words connected to meaning in Benjamin’s text somewhat inhibited, so too does Berman’s unforgiving critique make the translator nervous about approaching his commentary. But the Antoine Berman of The Age of Translation is a more forgiving critic, a human critic; one might even say that he is a translator’s translator. In the very first cahier of his commentary, he acknowledges the longstanding criticisms of Gandillac’s translation of ‘The Task of the Translator’ but argues that French readers should nonetheless acknowledge the ‘gift’ that Gandillac made them in the sixties when he introduced Benjamin’s texts into France (2008:20). The many revisions to Gandillac’s ‘La tâche du traducteur’ that were made both by the translator himself and by subsequent editors point to the complexity of Benjamin’s text and the humility of the translator in the face of this complexity. It is against this background that Berman’s introduction, in a footnote, of the concept of the translational défaillance, which I have translated as ‘default’, should be understood.