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In Germany there was never a predominant illuminist vision or theory, except for Kant.

Germany’s studies on translation have been influenced by the historic, social and economic context of Germany at the end of the 19th century. So what was Germany like from the 18th to the mid 19th century? It was fragmented into many little states and principalities -> an enormous cultural and intellectual renewal: the variety of languages was to be preserved and promoted, as languages enriched the culture. JOHANN GOTTFRIED HERDER (1744-1803) philosopher, theologian, poet
Treatise on the Origin of Language (1772) Ideas for the Philosophy of History of Humanity (1784–91)


the language is not unique nor divine (vision in contrast with the Enlightment) German language should build up through translation and reflection translation seen as mediation between different languages and centuries translation is never finished, complete, perfect. The language receives and absorbs new things constantly, it always improves thanks to the comparison (never-ending process). translation is like a monument: constant reference to the original text, the translation cannot substitute the original. Translation is a way to enrich and improve the language, not imitation.

FRIEDRICH SCHLEGEL (1772-1829) philosopher, translator, critic, very modern intellectual he considers the philology as an historical science, and translation must be part of the philology (to translate a text it’s necessary to know very well the historical context in which the original text was created, the one in which one lives and the current language as well). The translation is always incomplete, imperfect. It must continuously refer to the original text (in this sense it’s analogous to the literary criticism)


NOVALIS (FRIEDRICK VON HARDENBERG) (1772-1801) author and philosopher Translation is either grammatical (ordinary, common translation), transforming (the translator must be “the poet of the poet”, he can render the idea as he like but must be respectful of the sense and spirit of the original text) or mythical (part of the mystical thought, it’s a reflection upon the translation of the sacred texts, which is the language of God)

[ GOETHE (1749-1832) writer and polymath West-Eastern Divan (1814-1819) Translation is the union of far and near, of stranger and his own. Three methods of translation: o The first of the three methods makes the foreign land familiar according to our own way of thinking (the text is brought towards the reader) o In the second, one attempts to place oneself in the circumstances of the foreign land, but really is only concerned with appropriating the foreignness and portraying it according to our own way of thinking (it’s the reader to be brought towards the text) o In the third - the highest - the translation attempts to be identical to the original. ]

diplomat. linguist The language is ENERGEIA. All intellectual movements and innovations about translation in Germany end in 1871 (when Germany becomes a national state and it comes back the idea of the language superior to the others…).WILHEM VON HUMBOLDT (1767-1835) philosopher. . not ERGON A good translation is the one in which transpires the “stranger” element It doesn’t exist a word which is exactly equal to one in another language.