Pym questions

Pym makes the claim that we are always theorizing when we translate: we make subconscious choices on what word is a better fit; whether to foreignize or domesticate; whether to create a dynamic equivalent when there isn’t a natural one; whether to privilege the source text or the target text; how to navigate between the conceptual/cultural grids of the ST and TT.; are we thinking of the movement of meaning in spatial and maybe also temporal terms?

He also claims that all this theorizing doesn’t necessarily mean that we are using a “theory” of translation, but that we are talking within one or another “paradigm”.  The paradigm set forth in this class is one that is firmly rooted in hermeneutics.  Of primary importance are terms like “understanding”, “meaning”, and “equivalence”.


  • a relation of equal value between ST and TT and can be linguistic, stylistic, formal
    • natural equivalence is a priori to the act of translation
    • natural equivalence is non-directional
    • equivalence is an impossibility to those who see language as deeply embedded within the structure of society and culture
    • equivalence paradigm functions at many levels–it can overcome this structural problem by positing that all language systems can point to a referent that is a tertium comparationis; in the same way as metaphor works
  • We can illustrate some of the concepts of equivalence by using online translation machines.  Use Google Translate etc to see what is lost.  How can we break this up into components to see how the translation has occurred?



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Katie Faull

Dr. Katherine Faull is Professor of German and Humanities at Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA. Author and editor of six book-length publications, over 40 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, she was educated at King's College, London (BA Hons, German/Russian) and Princeton University (Germanic Languages and Literatures), and is a Life Member of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. The recipient of three major grant awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, she has published extensively on questions of gender, race, and autobiography in the Moravian Church in North America in the colonial period. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Moravian History, the book series, Anabaptist and Pietist Studies with the Pennsylvania State University Press, and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, PA. Her current international collaborative DH project, Moravian Lives, focuses on the digital exploration of Moravian memoirs ( and brings together top international scholars in the field of Pietism with graduate and undergraduate students in the exploration of 18th-century life writing, gender, race, and the Moravian world. Katie has also published scholarly articles on digital pedagogy at a liberal arts institution, DH and religious history, and digital visualization in the humanities. For more, go to

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