Prologue to a Hermeneutic Approach to Translation
The purpose of this essay is to explore the place Hans-Georg Gadamer makes for the activity of translation within his philosophy of interpretation. In general terms, the interest of Gadamer’s approach lies in the effort to inscribe translation within what is described as the ‘hermeneutic circle’. This essay accordingly offers a brief, but detailed account of the Gadamerian arc of interpretation, but suggests that the critical issues – along the lines suggested by Werner Hamacher in his book Premises – concern the way in which the circle begins to turn, and furthermore, how one actually enters the hermeneutic circle. If these are matters basic to the Gadamerian way with textual interpretation tout court, the principal claim of this essay is that it is the translator
who experiences the most serious diffi culties in beginning, and indeed, in entering the ambit of hermeneutics. In detailing these particular difficulties, one reaches a limit-case of the hermeneutical interpreter – the translator as one to whom Gadamer grants a privileged place in his philosophy, but also as one who reveals to hermeneutics the nature of the problems that beset hermeneutic philosophy from the outset.