La Traduction et la lettre ou l’Auberge du lointain
, Antoine Berman
Antoine Berman develops his theories on translation through two moments: he starts bycriticizing the traditional theories which see translating as regurgitating the meaning in a more“beautiful” way, then analyzes great “literal” translations to pinpoint the “work on the letter”they did, insisting upon the idea that “literal translation” is far from meaning “word for wordtranslation”.Berman then explains he replaces the brace theory/practice by this of experience/thinking:he defines translatology as the “thinking translation does on itself from its nature of experience”. As so, translation is linked to philosophy, to interpreting.For him, translatology is not meant to build a general theory of translating but to givethought to all the already existing “forms” of translations. He sets up the notion of “meaningexceedance” (“dépassement de sens”) as a reflection field for translatology: translation can aswell mean giving back a text from one tongue to another (“narrow translation”), as “different‘passings’ about writing, and even more secretly, about living and dying” (“generalizedtranslation”).Berman then reasserts the importance of seeing translation as “translation-of-the-letter”, asAlain says, even though literalism is usually condemned.
1. Domesticating translation and hypertextual translation.
Berman explains domesticating (ethnocentric) (bringing everything back to its ownculture and norms, and considering the Other as something to be adapted to increase thisculture’s wealth) and hypertextual (“any text born by (…) any kind of formal transformation”,says G.Genette) translation are considered as the standard and prescriptive forms of translation.In fact, domesticating translation began in Rome with Horace, Cicero and Saint-Jerôme,whose theorie
non verbum e verbo, sed sensum exprimere de sensu
” (translating meaning,not words), became the rule and were expanded by the translating momentum given both bypagan romanity aiming at building up its own culture and by christian evangelism. They drewthis view of things from the difference Plato made between the visible and the intelligible :
Paris, Seuil, 1999, 142 pages.