This essay explores the question of the uncertain relationship between historical narratives, the archive, and past reality by drawing links between Carlo Ginzburg's 1976 The Cheese and the Worms, and Hector Berlioz's 1830 Symphonie Fantastique. I suggest that Ginzburg's microhistory provides valuable insight into how a mode of historical scholarship premised on the concept of translation might proceed. The symphony provides an example of translation in the medium of music and, by way of comparison with Ginzburg's text, illuminates how a similar mode is already operative within the historical work insofar as history remains a dialogical activity. Key, then, is that translation produces dialogical texts, where each voice contributes to the shared production of meaning.