Derrida focuses strongly on the aspect of a “relevant” translation. Merriam-Webster dictionary claims that relevant means “relating to a subject matter in an appropriate way” (interlingual translation). Derrida uses the term to refer to a translation that achieves transparency and naturalness. While trying to translate and achieve the most appropriate meaning possible, Derrida acknowledges that this can simply not be achieved according to an economic principle. The law of relevance is therefore based on the concept of untranslatability. With polysemy, the idea of a transparent translation cannot possibly exist. Derrida analyzes the origin of “relevante” that is used both in the French and English language. The word has been borrowed by the English but is not used in French an as adjective form; however, receives its meaning from the French verb “relever.” If one word can have several different meanings all adapted from previous languages, do we ever then truly speak only one language? Or are we all just speaking several different languages that have been derived and condensed into one?

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Kendall Hughes

My name is Kendall Hughes and I am a senior at Bucknell University. I am a Psychology and Sociology major. I have taken French courses since my freshman year of high school. I also lived abroad in Germany for two years. I am interested in translation studies because I would like to further understand culture differences and how language can contribute to a barrier of understanding among people.

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