Cognition and Comprehension in Translational Hermeneutics
Ein hermeneutischer Ansatz zur Versöhnung antagonistischer Übersetzungsorientierungen
The topic of this contribution is the relationship between hermeneutics and translation practice. In the first theoretical part, some relevant central concepts dealing with the ontological valence of language and the ontological foundation in humans are introduced and discussed; in this part the concern is with the possibility and the meaning of translation between languages and cultures. Considerations by some important scholars and philosophers, linguists, and semioticians such as Augustine of Hippo, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Fritz Paepcke, and Umberto Eco are included in this section. The starting point is the antagonistic thinking which characterizes two main perspectives in translation studies; this antagonism has always characterized the history of translation and is now deeply anchored in European Translation Studies. Even if some theoretical answers to the ancient antagonism have been presented in the last years (e.g. Mary Snell-Hornby, Christiane Nord, Sergio Bolanos Cuellar), this contribution aims to criticize the theoretical exclusion of perspectives by proposing a comprehensive approach that takes into account both opposing but complementary viewpoints. As a key to good translation two main concepts are thus proposed: the idea of negotiation introduced by the Italian semiotician Umberto Eco and the concept of compromise as explained by the German initiator of philosophical hermeneutics Hans-Georg Gadamer. The theoretical reflections on language and human communication are then illustrated with reference to the practice of translation. The point is to show how the interweaving of theory and practice is particularly adequate for the task of translation, especially when the hermeneutic approach is employed in order to find the right translation solution. This work shows both the challenges translators face in their encounter with the foreign text and the practical and theoretical refinements that a hermeneutic reading of the translating process can bring, especially when it invites translators to take into account the thinking, the feeling and the action of the subjects involved in the translation process. This illustration is done with the help of text examples and by discussing the steps of a personal translating process as applied to some literary poems translated from German into Italian.