Susan Bernofsky: Pertinaciously Tergiversating for the nonce.

I couldn’t help but being interested in the translator of this work about translation, and wondering at some of her word choices. A quick Google revealed that Schleiermacher was older than America, old enough for his language to have been significantly different from modern English, if he’d even written in English. Ms. Bernofsky, however, is quite modern – she translated this in 2004.

Why, then, would she pick words like tergiversate? That word is underlined right now as misspelled, as the default dictionary does not include the term. It means equivocate, but she could have just as used ‘indecisive’ or some variation of the like. More annoying still was ‘for the nonce’, which just means ‘for the time being’. Why translate two hundred year old German into needlessly esoteric English?

I imagine to get the real answers to that I’d have to get fluent in German and then get academically proficient in romantic hermeneutics, but the actual material of today’s reading did provide me with some interesting notions. Was she trying to bring us to Schleiermacher to us, or are we going to him ?

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Tim Kepple, Class of 2015, Creative Writing Major, Japanese Minor

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