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1. Translational Hermeneutics: Year > 2015
Mao Chen Hermeneutics and Life Writing: Ha Jin as a “Migrant” Translator
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The hermeneutics of translation is particularly important to Ha Jin’s work, which includes the novel instead A Free Life, a collection of essays instead The Writer as Migrant, and the book of short stories instead A Good Fall. The concept of translation adopted throughout is based on how “life writing”enables the author to employ his or her own experiences in composing a literary text, which is constituted in a manner that cannot be reduced to subjective concerns. Ha Jin is shown to present various personal experiences in a mediated form in his novels and prose essays. In contrast to a conception of “life writing” that draws strongly on the genre of memoir, this paper maintains that Ha Jin transforms or “translates” personal experience into a fictional content that goes beyond the writer’s life-history. The hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer and the phenomenological criticism of Wolfgang Iser are employed in this paper to demonstrate how Ha Jin’s contribution to literature cannot be assimilated to a subjective account of writing.In the conclusion of the paper, I emphasize how Ha Jin’s commitment to literary form is inseparable from his attempt to translate lived experience into fiction and criticism.
2. Translational Hermeneutics: Year > 2015
Marcel Inhoff Th e Hermeneutics of Culture in D. Walcott’s “The Prodigal”
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In postmodern poetry, religious motifs have always played an intriguing role. The practice of religious hermeneutics, of translation, and of the development of new literary and cultural forms of expression have proved to be so interdependent as to be inseparable. Writers from former colonies have a radically unique relationship to this knotted complex of religion, nation and culture. In this paper I will examine this phenomenon by analyzing a text by Caribbean Nobel laureate Derek Walcott that grapples with the issues of hermeneutics, translation and hybrid identity. Th e Prodigal: A Poem is constructed around the tension between being a part of the ‘Western world’, with its canonical cultural and political history, and being a native of Saint Lucia. It takes up James Cliff ord’s notion of cultural travel by showing how European identity is predicated on the travel of ideas within the small geographic space that is Western Europe. Drawing on centuries of European literature, Walcott reverses the canonized metaphors of travel that characterize literature about his own home: in his text, Saint Lucia is the unmarked, fixed place, and Europe becomes the exotic village of anthropological studies. In doing so, Walcott makes deft use of the biblical figure of the Prodigal Son, well aware of how dependent European literatureis on biblical traditions. In fact, as I will suggest in my paper, it is not the bible as a fixed, canonical text that we find underlying European myths. It is rather a long process of translation and interpretation and re-translation in which Christian images, metaphors and stories are passed on. This constant act of hermeneutic attention to that specific text and its critics has become such an integral part of European literature and culture that it allows Walcott to easily use it to discuss the contradictory identity of a black writer, writing in English, “a hieratic language he will never inherit”. In his travels through Europe, Walcott interweaves language and world, working out a sense of self, an identity paradoxically both predicated on European culture and independent of it.
3. Translational Hermeneutics: Year > 2015
William D. Melaney Shelley, Hermeneutics and Poetics: Metaphor as Translation
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Percy Bysshe Shelley’s work in the f eld of poetics is a memorable rejoinder to Enlightenment historicism, just as it provides a theoretical basis for reading his own poetry in terms of a hermeneutical approach to knowledge. However, while rich in suggestions concerning how Shelley’s work might be read, the critical tradition in general has tended to neglect hermeneutics in favor of either formal or text-specific approaches. What this paper seeks to explore instead is the hermeneutical signifi cance of Shelley’s conception of poetics. The hermeneutical approach will be used to explain how Shelley conceives of language as a process whereby meaning itself is derived from the metaphorical nature of verbal experience. Accordingly, this paper makes three related claims: first, Shelley’s reflections on the origins of language, as most strongly presented in Defense of Poetry, assigns metaphor a role that is inseparable from the problem of translation, broadly conceived; second, Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound demonstrates on a figurative level how thehuman imagination forms the bridge (or translates) between diverse mental faculties; finally, the ‘theory of metaphor’ that Shelley elaborates evokes a view of language that can be examined through a reader-response approach to the hermeneutical tradition. Th is final claim will allow us to demonstrate how a phenomenology of reading employs an intertextual approach to literature that is responsive to temporal claims.
4. Translational Hermeneutics: Year > 2015
Frank Garrett Negative Hermeneutics and Translation: The Unworkable Poetry of Wisława Szymborska
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Situated at the fissure between translation and hermeneutics, my essay looks at two poems by Polish Nobel laureate Wisława Szymborska in an attempt to explicate my notion of negative hermeneutics, which stems from Maurice Blanchot’s philosophy. Blanchot understands that the material of language exposes us to a two-fold dimension. On the one hand, the text bears witness to certain historical and biographical information; on the other hand, the grammatological nature of the text exposes readers and translators alike to the rupture of radical diff erence and distance, thus revealing nothing about its author or its contexts. To what extent does a work have anything relevant to say about its author? To what extent does a work authentically speak of the historical circumstances in which it came about? Can a work from the past speak to us today? Can it ever be more than a mere artifact or historical curiosity to us?
5. Translational Hermeneutics: Year > 2015
George Heffernan Translating Augustine and Interpreting the Academicians: An Application of Übersetzungshermeneutik to the Questionable Relation between an Inaccurate Translation and an Inadequate Interpretation
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According to the most recent and most read English edition/translation of the work, namely, that of Peter King, Augustine’s Contra Academicos/Against the Academicians (386/387) is “a manifesto written by a former skeptic presenting himself for the f rst time as a platonist and a Christian”. On this interpretation, Augustine for a time “despaired of finding the truth and went through a period of being a skeptic”. During this time, he also “defended the view of the Academicians”, “did so publicly”, and “did so” by “peddling” it with the use of their skeptical notions of the “plausible” (probabile) and the “truthlike” (veri simile). Thus Augustine was “more than sympathetic” to the Academicians and it is wrong for scholars “to minimize his attachment” to them. The argument of this paper, on the other hand, is that the notion that Augustine once defended Academic skepticism is not a demonstrable fact but an untenable interpretation. The reason is that it can be proven, for example, that King’s interpretation is inadequate because it rests on an inaccurate translation. In addition, it is shown that there is no evidence that would convince a judicious scholar beyond a reasonable doubt that Augustine ever assented to Academic skepticism. Finally, it is suggested that the attempt to argue that Augustine was once an Academic skeptic obfuscates the legitimate issue of whether he may have been a skeptic in a different, philosophically more significant, sense. The result is ahermeneutical case study of the questionable relation between an inaccurate translation and an inadequate interpretation.
6. Translational Hermeneutics: Year > 2015
Adriana Şerban Writing, Directing and Translating Poetic Film
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In this paper I examine the possibility of a holistic approach to audiovisual translation which puts the emphasis on people, context(s) and interpretation(s). I consider the relation between image, sound, and the spoken and/or written word in the audiovisual medium, and then explore some of the issues involved in creating poetic films, in particular the choice of language or silence. Th e translator’s mediating voice is not always easy to observe in subtitles. For they are governed by a complex set of constraints and conventions, to such an extent that it may appear there are no significant choices to be made, choices which, if noticed, might reflect competing interpretations. I endeavour to trace the translators’ voice in a small collectionof poetic films translated into English and French, and explain that it manifests through more or less felicitous subtitling choices, and sometimes through failure.
7. Translational Hermeneutics: Year > 2015
John Wrae Stanley Translational Hermeneutics and Inverted Worlds: Some Reflections on Paradigms
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Translational Hermeneutics – a discipline aspiring to approach human communication from a hermeneutical vantage point – is in its infancy. The presentations delivered at the first Hermeneutics and Translation Studies Symposium – most of which shared an interest in merging hermeneutics withtranslation studies – were marked by a strong diversity. The widely differing perspectives and approaches embodied by the presentations make it difficult to delineate what Translational Hermeneutics actually is. The purpose of this essay is to prodand stimulate the debate. The essay begins with an analysis of the Kadean perspective on translation studies, for it offers a sharp contrast to any hermeneutical approach. Then the essay proposes a hermeneutical lineage, one emphasizing the phenomenological roots of the tradition running from Husserl, through Heidegger and up to Gadamer. The purpose of the historical overview is to define some aspects of the hermeneuticaltradition that Translational Hermeneutics rests upon. In so doing, some essential cornerstones will be laid for Translational Hermeneutics. In particular, the link to Husserl’s phenomenology not only sets high standards regarding scientific rigor, it also distances the Translational Hermeneutics from the approach taken in the natural sciences. The link to phenomenology requires that we not only re-examine the notion of objectivity but also enrich and develop the concept of “subjectivity.” The interdependence between the “subject” and “object” in experience robs the objects of their predominant role as a source for truth claims and stability in communication. The loss of this foundation for research and stability in communication leaves a vacuum that has to be filled within the paradigm of Translational Hermeneutics.
8. Translational Hermeneutics: Year > 2015
Marianne Lederer Modern Hermeneutics: a New Approach to the Translation of Culture
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Various translation theories adopt some of the stances of hermeneutics without espousing all of them, as does the Interpretive Theory of Translation (ITT). The first part of this paper argues that, contrary to the view held by a number of translational hermeneutists, language and culture are far from being inseparable. It also tries to put into perspective the question of the translator’s subjectivity. It then deals with the comprehension of culture in intralingual communication and compares it to translators’ comprehension and readers’ comprehension of translated texts. The last part of the paper asks whether it is possible for translators to transmit a source culture as a whole and how a translator can make readers of translations understand the relevant parts of culture included in the text.
9. Translational Hermeneutics: Year > 2015
Douglas Robinson Fourteen Principles of Translational Hermeneutics
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Th is paper organizes the hermeneutical study of translation into fourteen principles, the fi rst six borrowed from a paper (in this volume) by Larisa Cercel, John Stanley, and Radegundis Stolze entitled “Hermeneutics as a Research Paradigm”: subjectivity (1), historicity (2), phenomenology (3), process (4), holism (5), and reflection (6). The next seven are a compilation of the author’s own research agenda “beyond” or “outside” classicalhermeneutics, but arguably congruent with and supportive of a hermeneutical project: social constructivism (7), iterability (8), multiple subjectivities (9), dialogism (10), the double-bind (11), performativity (12), and rhetoric (13). Th e last (14) is somatics: It’s not enough to study how we interpret; we have toexplore how we work in groups (almost always unconsciously) to regulate interpretation. Without social regulation, imperfect and incomplete as it is, incapable as it is of imposing robotic conformity on human communication, interpretation remains a subjective will o’ the wisp, an evanescent connectivity that is easily dismissed as sheer solipsistic fantasy.
10. Translational Hermeneutics: Year > 2015
Seyed Mohammad Alavi Quran Translation: A Hermeneutical Case Study
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Th is paper investigates the role of translators’ experience and understanding of Islam in the translation of the Quran. After juxtaposing and analyzing four translations of the verse 4:34, which deals with the issue of women’s rights and obligations, it shows how conservative, moderate, modernist and pro-feminist readings produce completely different images of women and their relationship to men in family and society from a Quranic viewpoint. It also provides a hermeneutical analysis of the assumptions each translator brings into play when trying to reconcile the question of modern women’s rights with the scripture. In doing so, this paper demonstrates how translators as real agents of translation immerse themselves from a particular viewpoint, or horizon, into the living context of the original text.