LINGUIST List 8.789

Mon May 26 1997

Disc: review of Translating by factors

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  1. Larry Rosenwald, Sean Golden's review of _Translating by Factors_

Message 1: Sean Golden's review of _Translating by Factors_

Date: Sun, 25 May 1997 11:11:21 -0400
From: Larry Rosenwald <lrosenwaldWELLESLEY.EDU>
Subject: Sean Golden's review of _Translating by Factors_

I read Sean Golden's review of Gutknecht & Rolle's _Translating by 
Factors_ with great interest; when finished, though, I found myself 
wishing the review had been longer, and wanted to ask Mr. Golden 
whether he'd consider saying a little more. 
	Specifically: towards the end of the review, Mr. Golden writes, "I 
think that field of text linguistics in general should be fitted into 
a more panoramic view of the role of language as a social phenomenon. 
I do not think that questions involving semiotics and ideology, for 
instance, can be divorced from the linguistic analysis of a text. 
Rule-based text linguistics runs the danger of being too 
positivistic." This seems to me a very important issue; also, it's 
connected to something I've observed. I am myself a translator, and 
have written about literary and biblical translation, and know fairly 
well some of the texts that count as translation theory among literary 
translators: Walter Benjamin, "The Task of the Translator"; Martin 
Buber and Franz Rosenzweig, _Scripture and Translation_; Henri 
Meschonnic's work; Robert Bly, _Eight Stages of Translation_; Valery 
Larbaud, _Sous l'invocation de Saint Jerome_; Rosanna Warren ed., 
_The Art of the Translator_; Edwin Honig ed., _The Poet's Other 
Voice_. It's my impression that almost none of these texts counts as 
translation theory among linguists and non-literary translators. And 
the texts that count among these latter groups don't count for the 
literary translators I know and read. So clearly there exists, 
empirically, exactly the sort of "divorce" Mr. Golden warns us 
against.
	And that's why I'd like to hear him talk more about it (or would like 
to hear others talk about it, if these issues interest them). From 
his review, it wasn't quite possible for me to see clearly or in 
detail exactly what sort of "rule-based text linguistics" Mr. Golden 
was worrying about, or just how it risked "being too positivistic." 
Probably he was honorably keeping to a word-limit; but the issue he 
raises is important, and I'd love to see some further discussion of 
it.
	Best, Larry Rosenwald, Department of English, Wellesley College
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