Guide Translation and Philosophy

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The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Philosophy is a pioneering resource for students and scholars in translation studies and philosophy alike. He has wideranging interests and has published papers on decision theory, ethics with David McNaughton , metaphysics, philosophy of action, language, mind and science and applications of quantum theory with Stephen Selesnick. His research interests include the philosophy of history and translation.

Translation theory and philosophy by Maria Tymoczko Context and pragmatics by Shyam Ranganathan Brought to you by Curio , an Aeon partner. Edited by Nigel Warburton. In European antiquity, philosophers largely wrote in Greek. Even after the Roman conquest of the Mediterranean and the demise of paganism, philosophy was strongly associated with Hellenic culture.

Translation Philosophy - CSB

The leading thinkers of the Roman world, such as Cicero and Seneca, were steeped in Greek literature; Cicero even went to Athens to pay homage to the home of his philosophical heroes. Tellingly, the emperor Marcus Aurelius went so far as to write his Meditations in Greek. Cicero, and later Boethius, did attempt to initiate a philosophical tradition in Latin. But during the early Middle Ages, most of Greek thought was accessible in Latin only partially and indirectly. Elsewhere, the situation was better. In the eastern part of the Roman Empire, the Greek-speaking Byzantines could continue to read Plato and Aristotle in the original.

And philosophers in the Islamic world enjoyed an extraordinary degree of access to the Hellenic intellectual heritage.

In 10th-century Baghdad, readers of Arabic had about the same degree of access to Aristotle that readers of English do today. This was thanks to a well-funded translation movement that unfolded during the Abbasid caliphate, beginning in the second half of the eighth century. Sponsored at the highest levels, even by the caliph and his family, this movement sought to import Greek philosophy and science into Islamic culture. Their empire had the resources to do so, not just financially but also culturally.

Philosophy, Anthropology, and Linguistics in Translation

From late antiquity to the rise of Islam, Greek had survived as a language of intellectual activity among Christians, especially in Syria. So when Muslim aristocrats decided to have Greek science and philosophy translated into Arabic, it was to Christians that they turned.

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Sometimes, a Greek work might even be translated first into Syriac, and only then into Arabic. It was an immense challenge. In this case, the translation exercise would be reduced fundamentally to a linguistic one. A translation exercise from the perspective of relativism differs from the same exercise from the perspective of universal rationalism on two points. First, although one accepts that the potential readers of these two products share common biological and psychological characteristics, the determinism that these characteristics exert at a cognitive level is to be questioned.

Therefore, the emphasis is on what the readers have in common, rather than on the differences, the distinct interpretation strategies that arise as consequences of the different cultural context. In this sense, the translator makes a greater commitment with the reader of the TT; this would imply saying the same thing with different codes Jakobson, , maintaining the stylistic impact of the original.

Understanding Derrida, Deconstruction & Of Grammatology

The translation would not simply be a question of linguistics. One should start translating not only words, but also concepts and even contexts. Translations using the relativism perspective have raised a heated controversy in the last twenty years. The question raised by those who do not support this type of translation is "Do we continue to have the same text?

The problem with which we are presented is that of equivalence in translation. The TT and the ST must be equivalent in words, in message and, as far as possible, in grammatical structures.

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The ideal would be an intermediate point where the translator commits himself to a high fidelity at the linguistic level as long as it doesn't interfere with the comprehension of the TT. According to this theory, the sender of the message, the translator in this case, will adjust the information according to the necessities of the receiver and other contextual factors in a process of self-regulation that have a tendency towards a state of entropy or a state of equilibrium. Equilibrium here would be understood as the ideal result where the message has maximum comprehension with minimum alteration of the linguistic elements and structures.

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We shouldn't remain unaware to the fact that the prevalence of different linguistic schools, from different time periods, have had a role in the different views of translation. Therefore, within structuralism one tends to see language like a collection of relations, of interconnected subsystems. According to this school of thought, each element is defined according to the role that it plays in this set of relations. Due to the importance that this linguistic paradigm has exerted from the s until well into the century, it is no wonder that translation was more centered on linguistic structure and how structural relations of the ST could be preserved in the TT.

One of the defenders of structural integrity was Cartford , who distinguished between rank-bound translation and unbounded translation. Rank-bound translation is a method of translation that maintains equivalencies at the word, or even morpheme, level. According to Cartford, rank-bound translation is the only feasible method to use between languages that have similar structures at the morphologic and syntactic level.

As far as unbounded translation is concerned, the equivalence would be found at more complex levels like sentences. However, in the 70s, with the advent of new streams of thought, like cognitive linguistics, paradigms like structuralism remained relegated to a peripheral position, except in classical studies, Latin and Greek.

New factors were introduced in the study of linguistics. Among them were the different cognitive activities like perception, vision, and conceptualization; in addition, aspects like kinesthesia and the interaction of body and space gained interest. Also, the appearance of neuroscience in the 70s and its first achievements contributed to the flourishing of this new linguistic school. The cognitive linguist attributes great weight to the formation of conceptual schemes specific to the cultural surroundings of the speakers of the language.

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Translation and Philosophy: An Interview with Philip Wilson

This specificity is what produces different conceptual categories in diverse knowledge systems such as language. In speaking of specificity, we're touching on the anthropological question of to what degree does a common ground exist between different cultures or between speakers of different languages. Evidently, we cannot assume that any system is translatable into another. Two completely different systems that have nothing in common cannot be totally explained one in terms of the other. From the point of view of anthropological studies, the members of a specific world could not understand another world if it is diametrically different from theirs.

Hilary Putnam referred to this when she spoke of the Principle of Charity. According to the Principle of Charity, human beings share a great number of concepts, the difference between them being perception. Therefore, the notion of concept would have a generic character and the way they are perceived would correspond to the distinct specific perceptions that occur in each culture, or in each individual, of a given concept.