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2017 Vol. 8 №4

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Revisiting Schleiermacher’s On the Different Methods of Translating: On the Foundations of Translation Relativity Theory



Translation is a multidimensional phenomenon. All the theories stress the diversity of its types and strategies. Phenomena described as an unexplainable deviation within one theory can form the foundation for another. This may lead to the idea of replacing a theory of translation with its empiric version. However, a different approach is also possible. The outlines of the theory of translational and traductological relativity can be derived from the ideas first voiced by Schleiermacher in his lecture On the different methods of translation (1813), from Quineʼs theory of indeterminacy of translation, and from Benjaminʼs concept of untranslatability. From a multi-disciplinary perspective, this heterogeneity is viewed as a benefit. Instead of a universal typology, which inevitably breaks down into a plethora of loosely connected theories of literary, technical, simultaneous, and other types of translation, one can employ an approach where theories differ in axiomatics rather than descriptions. This will produce a family of linguistic, semiotic, and hermeneutic theories. These theories will a) be based on family resemblance, b) aim to describe adequately a certain type of translation, and c) complement each other. Instead of searching for principles universal to all types of translation, this approach strives to correlate different theories, to estimate the range of applications of these theories, and to analyse the mutual translatability/untranslatability of translation theories.


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