Antoine Berman – Translation and Trials of the Foreign

Berman Bio * anything in orange are my own comments

  • “Trials of the Foreign” originates out of German Romanticism – i.e. Schleiermacher
  • Different methods of translation criticism like the plethora of different translation theories

The Trials of the Foreign

Page  19

  • Heidegger – “Trial of the foreign” to explain H√∂lderlin’s last work
  • It is the essence of every translation — showing the foreign (access to the, original, Word)
    1. 1st sense: establishes a relationship between the Self-Same and the Foreign (in utter foreignness)
    2. 2nd sense: trial for the Foreign, it is uprooted from SL to TL
  • rationality = domestication
  • violence = foreign

Why is the foreignization strategy seen as violent, while the domestication strategy seems rational?

  • the intensifications, or strangeness in the TL —-bringing out anything that seems foreign in the SL & TL —-
    • How do you intensify the language – with diction, syntax?
    • Does the author need to be acquainted with what seems culturally foreign in one language to decide the foreignness of the TL?
  • Foucault says two translations exist
    1. one with meaning, aesthetic value
    2. one that shoots the SL into the TL
  • “literary” vs. “non-literary translation”
    • literary = broad sense, works
    • non-literary = technical, scientific, instrumental

The analytic of translation

  • negative analytic‘ — is concerned with ethnocentric, annexationist translations and hypertextual translations (pastiche–like parody but celebrates rather than mocks, imitation, adaptation, free writing), where the play of deforming forces is freely exercised.
  • Cartesian (senses) vs. psychoanalytic (conscious effort)
  • Purpose of the analytic
    • used to find the forces that cause the translation to deviate from its essential aim!
      • those you get the deforming tendencies!
  • positive analytic‘ — a proposal for the type of translation required to render the foreign in the TT. Or “literal translation” – transforming the SL by ‘letters’
  • ‘translatology’ — psychoanalysis-filled, translating what you want to based on repression and acknowledgement
  • control of writing based on linguistic mass
  • avoiding homogenization // keeping polysemy

12 Deforming Tendencies

  1. Rationalization
  • modification of syntactic structures including punctuation and sentence structure and order

2. Clarification

  • includes explicitation which ‘aims to render “clear” what does not wish to be clear in the original”

3. Expansion

  • reducing clarity of author’s voice with “overtranslation” = unshaping rhythm

4. Ennoblement

  • this refers to the tendency on the part of certain translators to ‘improve’ on the original by rewriting it in a more elegant style

5. Qualitative impoverishment

  • the replacement of words and expressions with TT equivalents ‘that lack their sonorous richness or, correspondingly, their signifying or “iconic” features’
  • quality of words, what it sounds and looks like from ST to TT
  • You’re taking away/flattening these descriptors, etc.
    • “What makes a word speak to us?”

6. Quantitative impoverishment

  • loss of lexical variation in translation
  • Reduce uniqueness of words
  • loss of vocab density

7. The destruction of rhythms

  • can be destroyed by deformation of word order and punctuation

8. The destruction of underlying networks of signification

  • needs to be aware of network of words throughout texts
  • associative network/logic

9. The destruction of linguistic patternings

  • incoherence in TT, standardizing the TT

10. The destruction of vernacular networks or their exoticization

  • relates to local speech and language patterns which play an important role in establishing the setting of a novel

11. The destruction of expressions and idioms

  • replacement of idiom or proverb by TL ‘equivalent’

12. The effacement of the superimposition of languages

  • the way translation tends to erase traces of different forms of language that co-exist in the ST


Foreignization — translator deliberately keeping SL’s words into TT

Trial of Foreign — SL onto TL structure and format

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About Tyler Candelora

Tyler Candelora is a first-year student at Bucknell University. He is from Coal Township, PA. He speaks English but is currently learning Spanish, French, and Arabic. Tyler is a comparative humanities and language major.

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