Week 4 — 09/20/16

Tuesday 9/22/16

Antoine Berman and the Deforming Tendencies of Translation–discussions

Antoine Berman, the French theorist who preceded Venuti, talks of the translation strategy of ‘naturalization’, which equates with Venuti’s ‘domestication’. “The properly ethical aim of the translating act”, says Berman “is receiving the foreign as foreign”, and, as Munday points out, this seems to have influenced Venuti’s ‘foreignising’ translation strategy. Perhaps Berman’s contribution to translation studies is his concept of ‘negative analytic’. Berman asserts there is a system of textual deformation in TT, which keeps the foreignness from coming through. An examination of this textual deformation is called ‘negative analytic’. Berman (1985b/2000) says:

“The negative analytic is primarily concerned with ethnocentric, annexationist translations and hyper-textual translations (pastiche, imitation, adaptation, free writing), where the play of deforming forces is freely exercised.”

He identifies twelve deforming tendencies:

  • Rationalization
  • Clarification
  • Expansion
  • Ennoblement
  • Qualitative impoverishment
  • Quantitative impoverishment
  • The destruction of rhythms
  • The destruction of underlying networks of signification.
  • The destruction of linguistic patternings
  • The destruction of vernacular networks or their exoticization.
  • The destruction of expressions and idioms
  • The effacement of the superimposition of languages.

The other side of the coin is the ‘positive analytic’ which is what is required to render the foreign in the TL. This is some kind of literal translation. Berman focuses on the translation of creative fiction. “The principal problem of translating the novel”, says Berman “is to respect its polylogic and avoid an arbitrary homogenization.” Berman is here referring to the way translation needs to reduce the variation and linguistic creativity of the novel.

Kant “What is Enlightenment” Juxta comparison

Original German:

“Aufklärung ist der Ausgang des Menschen aus seiner selbstverschuldeten Unmündigkeit. Unmündigkeit ist das Unvermögen, sich seines Verstandes ohne Leitung eines anderen zu bedienen. Selbstverschuldet ist diese Unmündigkeit, wenn die Ursache derselben nicht am Mangel des Verstandes, sondern der Entschließung und des Mutes liegt, sich seiner ohne Leitung eines andern zu bedienen. Sapere aude! Habe Mut, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen! ist also der Wahlspruch der Aufklärung.”


Example of translations in Juxta

For next week, read Roman Jakobson, “On Linguistic Aspects of Translation” Venuti, pp. 126-131


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.