Steiner 4


Steiner’s work makes some interesting points both in favor of translation and against translation. He brings up an interesting concept relating to the life of speech or L’intraducibilita. This means that every speech-act is totally un-repeatable because time has passed. Thus, “to translate is to compound unrepeatability at second and third hand” (p.256). On the other hand, Steiner goes on to say that even in the arguments in favor of translation consist of their own barriers particularly with religion. On page 257 Steiner claims that “only translation has access” to the “more integral discourse…which wait between and behind the lines of the text”. Perhaps we can question whether or not this is really so. Does translation only have the power to access it? Are there absolutely no other ways to attain the desired understanding and meaning? If this is so, how is it possible or, is not truly possible, to completely translate something without losing certain aspects of the meaning its author has intended? It seems Steiner suggests that the true meaning and understanding of a phrase, word, expression, etc. underlies the translation process itself. This idea that Steiner points out almost parallels many semiotic theories which examine the semantic transfer from the original language to the targeted language.

One thought on “Steiner 4”

  1. Jenn, this is good! Steiner very much thinks that hermeneutics lie behind all acts of communication. And is untranslatability the end of hermeneutics?

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