Philosophy and Practice in Translational Hermeneutics

2018

Philosophy and Practice in Translational Hermeneutics

Mohammad Alavi
Pages 143-176

Social Dimensions of Hermeneutical Translation

This paper uses Luhmann’s theory of (social) systems to distinguish between psychic and communicative understandings. The former occurs at the psychic level and the latter at the social level. It argues that while hermeneutical translation adequately describes how, during the translation process, the translating subject comes to a particular understanding of the text, it does not sufficiently explain the communicative understanding involved when she selects linguistic equivalences for the translation product. In detailing the two levels of understanding, this paper seeks to dispel the illusion of incompatibility between hermeneutics and systems theory. It also suggests that hermeneutics and social systems theory can complement each other to explain the psychological and social dimensions of the translator’s task.