Volume 12, Issue 2, Spring 2008
Philosophy in Translation
The Claim and Use of Language in Translation
Heidegger (and) Übersetzen
Starting from the premise that what calls for and happens in the work and thinking of translation is inseparable from the experience of reading Heidegger’s
philosophy, this article suggests that translation in Heidegger’s work is a philosophical problem fundamentally implicated in the thinking of Being. The article first examines Heidegger’s distinction between Übersetzen—a form of translation that seeks correspondences between words of different languages, and Übersetzen—a translation within one’s own language that seeks to respond to the “claim” of language itself. The second part of the article links translation with Heidegger’s later reflections on language in Unterwegs zur Sprache, arguing that what is at stake in the work of translation is a thinking of our relation to language. Focusing on the notion of “usage/Brauch,” it concludes with the suggestion that insofar as thinking translation according to (and with) Heidegger requires a “response” to the claim of language, it also calls for a more sustained engagement with the question of how the human is claimed and used by language.