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Translation: in place of theory

Event details

Every translation-event offers a great number of positions from which it can be viewed, and a theoretical perspective developed out of any one of these may well not prove useful to some or all of the others. Out of a working life that has involved me with a possibly larger number than usual of such positions, I have tried to develop ways of thinking and talking about translation which might lend themselves to purposive dialogue amongst them. If these purported insights are to be useful. though, they have to be consistent, and I address here an apparent contradiction between pieces that I wrote some fifteen years apart: the claim that source texts function as anticipatory images (by definition, in non-standard language) of their eventual target texts; and the view that target-texts present themselves to readers as images of their source-texts, to be read in relation to them as we would read other kinds of metaphor? Is my commitment to both these views merely a conceptual muddle, or is it possible, for “A to be an image of B, which is itself an image of A”? I will argue that it is, and will try to suggest how this works in the case of translation, illustrating the case from a range of comparative examples.

An audio recording of this lecture is now available.


Queens Building MR2