Philosophy and Practice in Translational Hermeneutics

2018

Philosophy and Practice in Translational Hermeneutics

Brian O’Keeffe
Pages 15-45

Reading, Writing, and Translation in Gadamer’s Hermeneutic Philosophy

Gadamer’s hermeneutic philosophy has become increasingly important to scholars working in the field of translation studies, and in that regard, one of the key texts is his “Lesen ist wie Übersetzen”. In the present article, I offer a close commentary of that essay, but I also suggest that it is better understood if read alongside two other essays, namely “Stimme und Sprache” and “Hören-Sehen-Lesen”. What emerges, when these three essays are put into dialogue (and into dialogue with his major work Wahrheit und Methode), are the lineaments of an interpretive philosophy that centres upon reading, writing, and translation. Yet these activities are also placed under the aegis of hearing. In analysing why it is necessary to hear words, we find ourselves contending with some of the central, and indeed long-standing questions of Western philosophy, and it is ultimately against that background, I argue, that “Lesen ist wie Übersetzen”, “Stimme und Sprache”, and “Hören-Sehen- Lesen” gain their truest significance.