FREE ELECTRONIC LIBRARY - Dissertations, online materials

Pages:   || 2 |

«1. In the appreciation of a work of art or an art form, consideration of the receiver never proves fruitful. Not only is any reference to a certain ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

Walter Benjamin, "The Task of the Translator"

(introduction to a Baudelaire translation, 1923; this text translated by Harry Zohn, 1968)

[This is taken from the anthology, The Translation Studies Reader, ed. Lawrence Venuti (London:

Routledge, 2000).]

1. In the appreciation of a work of art or an art form, consideration of the receiver never proves

fruitful. Not only is any reference to a certain public or its representatives misleading, but

even the concept of an "ideal" receiver is detrimental in the theoretical consideration of art, since all it posits is the existence and nature of man as such. Art, in the same way, posits man's physical and spiritual existence, but in none of its works is it concerned with his response. No poem is intended for the reader, no picture for the beholder, no symphony for the listener.

2. Is a translation meant for readers who do not understand the original? This would seem to explain adequately the divergence of their standing in the realm of art. Moreover, it seems to be the only conceivable reason for saying "the same thing" repeatedly. For what does a literary work "say"? What does it communicate? It "tells very little to those who understand it. Its essential quality is not statement or the imparting of information -- hence, something inessential. This is the hallmark of bad translations. But do we not generally regard as the essential substance of a literary work what it contains in addition to information -- as even a poor translator will admit -- the unfathomable, the mysterious, the "poetic," something that a translator can reproduce only if he is also a poet? This, actually, is the cause of another characteristic of inferior translation, which consequently we may define as the inaccurate transmission of an inessential content. This will be true whenever a translation undertakes to serve the reader. However, if it were intended for the reader, the same would have to apply to the original. If the original does not exist for the reader's sake, how could the translation be understood on the basis of this premise?

3. Translation is a mode. To comprehend it as mode one must go back to the original, for that contains the law governing the translation: its translatability. The question of whether a work is translatable has a dual meaning. Either: Will an adequate translator ever be found among the totality of its readers? Or, more pertinently: Does its nature lend itself to translation and, therefore, in view of the significance of the mode, call for it? [...]

4. Translatability is an essential quality of certain works, which is not to say that it is essential that they be translated; it means rather that a specific significance inherent in the original manifest itself in its translatability. It is plausible that no translation, however good it may be, can have any significance as regards the original. Yet, by virtue of its translatability the original is closely connected with the translation; in fact, this connection is all the closer since it is no longer of importance to the original. We may call this connected a natural one, or, more specifically, a vital connection. Just as he manifestations of life are intimately connected with the phenomenon of life without being of importance to it, a translation issues from the original -- not so much for its life as from its afterlife. For a translation comes later than the original, and since the important works of world literature never find their chosen translators at the time of their origin, their translation marks their stag of continues life. The idea of life and afterlife in works of art should be regarded with an entirely unmetaphorical objectivity. [...] The concept of life is given its due only if everything that has a history of its own, and is not merely the setting for history, is credited with life. In the final analysis, the range of life must be determined by history rather than by nature, least of all by such tenuous factors as sensation and soul. The philosopher's task consists in comprehending all 1 of natural life through the more encompassing life of history. And indeed, is not the continued life of works of art far easier to recognize than the continual life of animal species? The history of the great works of art tells us about their antecedents, their realization in the age of the artist, their potentially eternal afterlife in succeeding generations. Where this last manifests itself, it is called fame. Translations that are more than transmissions of subject matter come into being when in the course of its survival a work has reached the age of its fame. Contrary, therefore, to the claims of bad translators, such translations do not so much serve the work as owe their existence to it. [...]

5. With this attempt at an explication [that languages "are not strangers to one another, but are, a priori and apart from all historical relationships, interrelated in what they want to express"] our study appears to rejoin, after futile detours, the traditional theory of translation. If the kinship of languages is to be demonstrated by translations, how else can this be done but by conveying the form and meaning of the original as accurately as possible? To be sue, that theory would be hard put to define the nature of this accuracy and therefore could shed no light on what is important in a translation. Actually, however, the kinship of languages is brought out by a translation far more profoundly and clearly than in the superficial and indefinable similarity of two works of literature. To grasp the genuine relationship between an original and a translation requires an investigation analogous to the argumentation by which a critique of cognition would have to prove the impossibility of an image theory.

There it is a matter of showing that in cognition there could be no objectivity, not even a claim to it, if it dealt with images of reality; here it can be demonstrated that no translation would be possible if in its ultimate essence it strove for likeness to the original. For in its afterlife -- which could not be called that if it were not a transformation and a renewal of something living -- the original undergoes a change. Even words with fixed meaning can undergo a maturing process. The obvious tendency of a writer's literary style may in time wither away, only to give rise to immanent tendencies in the literary creation. What sounded fresh once may sound hackneyed later; what was once current may someday sound quaint.

To seek the essence of such changes, as well as he equally constant changes in meaning, in the subjectivity of posterity rather than in the very life of language and its works, would mean -- even allowing for the crudest psychologism -- to confuse the root cause of a thing with its essence. More pertinently, it would mean denying, by an importance of thought, one of the most powerful and fruitful historical processes. And eve3n if one tried to turn an author's last stroke of the pen into the coup de grâce of is work, this still would not save that dead theory of translation. For just as the tenor and the significance of the great works of literature undergo a complete transformation over the centuries, the mother tongue of the translator is transformed as well. While a poet's words endure in his own language, even the greatest translation is destined to become part of the growth of its own language and eventually to be absorbed by its renewal. Translation is so far removed from being the sterile equation of two dead languages that of all literary forms it is the one charged with the special mission of watching over the maturing process of the original language and the birth pangs of its own.

6. [Benjamin talks about language 'kinship,' which to him is not a matter of likeness or identities of origin but in "intentionality." Nonetheless, words from two different languages are not 'interchangeable.'] this, to be sure, is to admit that all translation is only a somewhat provisional way of coming to terms with the foreignness of languages. An instant and final rather than a temporary and provisional solution of this foreignness remains out of the reach of mankind; at any rate, it eludes any direct attempt. Indirectly, however, the growth of religions ripens the hidden seed into a higher development of language. Although translation, unlike art, cannot claim permanence for its products, its goal is undeniably a final, conclusive, decisive stage of all linguistic creation. In translation the original rises into a higher and purer linguistic air, as it were. In cannot live there permanently, to be sure. [..

2.] The transfer can never be total, but what reaches this region is that element in a translation which goes beyond transmittal of subject matter. This nucleus is best deigned as the element that does not lend itself to translation. Even when all the surface content has been extracted and transmitted, the primary concern of the genuine translator remains elusive. Unlike the words of the original, it is not translatable, because the relationship between content and language is quite different in the original and the translation. While content and language form a certain unity in the original, like a fruit and its skin, the language of the translation envelops its content like a royal robe with ample folds. For it signifies a more exalted language than its own and thus remains unsuited to its content, overpowering and alien. This disjunction prevents translation and at the same time makes it superfluous. For any translation of a work originating in a specific stage of linguistic history represents, in regard to a specific aspect of its content, translation into all other languages. Thus translation, ironically, transplants the original into a more definitive linguistic realm since it can no longer be displaced by a secondary rendering. The original can only be raised there anew and at other points of time. [...]

7. The task of the translator consists in finding that intended effect upon the language into which he is translating which produces in it the echo of the original. This is a feature of translation which basically differentiates it from the poet's work, because the effort of the latter is never directed at the language as such, at its totality, but solely and immediately at specific linguistic contextual aspects. [...] The traditional concepts in any discussion of translations are fidelity and license -- the freedom of faithful reproduction and, in its service, fidelity to the word. These ideas seem to be no longer serviceable to a theory that looks for other things in a translation than reproduction of a meaning. [Benjamin discusses the 'untranslatability' of connotation, etc.] Finally, it is self-evident how greatly fidelity in reproducing the form impedes the rendering of the sense. Thus no case for literalness can be based on a desire to retain the meaning. Meaning is served far better -- and literature and language far worse -- by the unrestrained license of bad translators. Of necessity, therefore, the demand for literalness, whose justification is obvious, whose legitimate ground is quite obscure, must be understood in a more meaningful context. Fragments of a vessel which are to be glued together must match one another in the smallest details, although they need not be like one another. In the same way a translation, instead of resembling the meaning of the original, must lovingly and in detail incorporate the original's mode of signification, thus making both the original and the translation recognizable as fragments of a greater language, just as fragments are part of a vessel [Benjamin here invokes the Kabbalistic doctrine of tsim-tsum, the breaking of the vessels and the gathering up of the 'sparks of light,' which will usher in Messianic time, one of Benjamin's life-long concerns]. In the realm of translation, too, the words 'in the beginning was the word' [Benjamin writes the Greek here] apply. On the other hand, as regards the meaning, the language of a translation can -- in fact, must -let itself go, so that it gives voice to the intentio of the original not as reproduction but as harmony, as a supplement to the language in which it expresses itself, as its own kind of intentio. Therefore it is not the highest praise of a translation, particularly in the age of its origin, to say that it reads as if it had originally been written in that language. Rather, the significance of fidelity as ensured by literalness is that the work reflects the great longing for linguistic complementation. A real translation is transparent; it does not cover the original, doe snot black its light, but allows the pure language, as though reinforced by its own medium to shine upon the original all the more fully. This may be achieved, above all, by a literal rendering of the syntax which proves words rather than sentences to be the primary element of the translator. For if the sentence is the wall before the language of the original, literalness is the arcade.

Pages:   || 2 |

Similar works:

«PLEADING PATENTS: PREDICTING THE OUTCOME OF STATUTORILY HEIGHTENING PLEADING STANDARDS ARJUN RANGARAJAN† ABSTRACT The tension between an extremely barebones Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Form 18 for patent infringement lawsuits and Supreme Court case law through Twombly and Iqbal has made it difficult for courts to dismiss frivolous patent litigation at the complaint stage. In this article, I look at the Federal Circuit’s treatment of Twombly and Iqbal, empirically evaluate 12(b)(6)...»

«Instrumentation – Amplifiers, Filters, Stimulators and all that Other Stuff we Love to Hate Learning Objectives: Most of the industry related materials we read are exciting and fun to read. They are all about diseases and injuries we work with every day. There are those other less desirable topics we are required to know and understand, but are not much fun at all. This paper tackles some of those items, from basic electronics to filters and stimulators. It is our desire to make this easy to...»

«© Copyright 2016 by Surrender to the Alpha Publishing All rights reserved. In no way is it legal to reproduce, duplicate, or transmit any part of this document in either electronic means or in printed format. Recording of this publication is strictly prohibited and any storage of this document is not allowed unless with written permission from the publisher. All rights reserved. Respective authors own all copyrights not held by the publisher. Kahara Lords Collection Box set Books 1 to 10 By:...»


«Tokomane ya Therišano 139 TSHEKASEKO YA MOLAO WA KGATELELO YA BOLOI (MOLAO 3 WA 1957) Projeke 135 Letšatšikgwedi la mafelelo bakeng sa diswayaswayo: 30 Moranang 2016 ISBN: 978-0-621-44208-3 ii MATSENO Khomišene ya Kaonafatšo ya Molao ya Afrika Borwa e hlanngwe ka South African Law Reform Commission Act, 1973 (Molao 19 wa 1973). Maloko a khomišene keMoahlodi Mandisa Muriel Lindelwa Maya (Modulasetulo) Moahlodi NaranNgaka an (Jody) Kollapen (Motlatša Modulasetulo) Moprofesa Marita...»

«NOTE: This bill has been prepared for the signatures of the appropriate legislative officers and the Governor. To determine whether the Governor has signed the bill or taken other action on it, please consult the legislative status sheet, the legislative history, or the Session Laws. SENATE BILL 12-175 BY SENATOR(S) Carroll and Roberts, King S.; also REPRESENTATIVE(S) Gardner B. and Duran, Barker, Fields, Kagan, Labuda, Liston, Singer, Stephens, Waller, Wilson, McNulty. CONCERNING STATUTORILY...»

«FAIRNESS IN FAMILY LAW ACROSS EUROPE: A PAN EUROPEAN IDEAL OR A PANDEMONIUM OF CULTURAL CLASHES? David Hodson Introduction In the second week of November 2006, England and Wales was within a few days of having imposed upon it the concept of applicable law in family law proceedings. No longer would English judges, lawyers and mediators have settled their cases according to concepts of fairness and justice based upon a millennium of English cultural, religious and similar values. Instead, some...»

«ISSN-L: 2223-9553, ISSN: 2223-9944 Academic Research International Vol. 2, No. 2, March 2012 RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PUBLIC EXPENDITURE AND NATIONAL INCOME: AN EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION OF WAGNER’S LAW IN CASE OF PAKISTAN Abdur Rauf Dr. Abdul Qayum Prof Dr. Khair-uz Zaman Gomal University, D.I.Khan, COMSAT, Wah Cantt. Gomal University, D.I.Khan, PAKISTAN. PAKISTAN. PAKISTAN. abdur_rauf60@yahoo.com qayyum_72@yahoo.com drkzaman2001@yahoo.com ABSTRACT This study examine the applicability of...»

«INL/CON-10-18287 PREPRINT Minimally Informative Prior Distributions for PSA PSAM-10 Dana L. Kelly Robert W. Youngblood Kurt G. Vedros June 2010 This is a preprint of a paper intended for publication in a journal or proceedings. Since changes may be made before publication, this preprint should not be cited or reproduced without permission of the author. This document was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government...»

«Russia’s Resurgence An international legal analysis of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine Madeline Ollivier A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the degree of Bachelor of Laws (Honours) at the University of Otago October 2015 To my family and friends for their unwavering support; and to Professor Kevin Dawkins for his generosity of time and insightful guidance. i Table of Contents Geographical Overview Introduction Chapter 1: The Collapse of Ukraine-Russia Relations A. Ukrainian...»

«3 Voluntary Active Euthanasia: The Debate Louis-Jacques van Bogaert Fellow of the Centre for Applied Ethics University of Stellenbosch South Africa 1. Introduction Voluntary active euthanasia refers to a clearly competent patient making a voluntary and persistent request for aid in dying (Brock 1999; Ogubanjo & Knapp van Bogaert 2008). In this case, the individual or a person acting on that individual’s behalf (physician or lay person, depending on the law of the country) takes active steps...»

«VARNER.WL (DO NOT DELETE) 8/9/2010 11:35 AM IS THE DEAD HAND LOSING ITS GRIP IN TEXAS?: SPENDTHRIFT TRUSTS AND IN RE TOWNLEY BYPASS UNIFIED CREDIT TRUST N. Camille Varner* I. INTRODUCTION The classic phrase “dead-hand control” signifies the ability of an individual to direct how and to whom his property will pass after his death.1 The extent to which the law should encourage or even protect this ability is an underlying issue in almost every legislative and judicial decision creating law on...»

<<  HOME   |    CONTACTS
2016 www.dissertation.xlibx.info - Dissertations, online materials

Materials of this site are available for review, all rights belong to their respective owners.
If you do not agree with the fact that your material is placed on this site, please, email us, we will within 1-2 business days delete him.