Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Translation, philosophy: philosophically interesting in the transmission of a text into another language is its indeterminateness - the fundamental impossibility of choosing between available competing versions, if the source language is too little known. See also Gavagai, idiolect, uncertainty of translation, indeterminacy, translation manual, ostension, pointing.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Hans-Georg Gadamer on Translation - Dictionary of Arguments

I 387
Translation/Gadamer: The translator must (...) transfer the meaning to be understood into the context in which the partner of the conversation lives. The meaning should [thereby] remain
I 388
but since it is to be understood in a new linguistic world, it must be expressed in a new way in it. Every translation is therefore already an interpretation, one could even say that it is always the completion of the interpretation that the translator has given to the given word. Such an artistic event is certainly not the normal case for a conversation. Translation is also not the normal case of our behaviour towards a foreign language. Rather, being dependent on the translation is like the partners' self-disempowerment. Where translation is required, the distance between the spirit of the original wording of what is said and the spirit of its reproduction must be accepted.
I 389
No matter how faithful we try to be, we are faced with bad decisions.
If we want to emphasize a feature of the original that is important to us in our translation, we can only do so by letting other features in the original recede or suppress them completely. But this is exactly the kind of behaviour we know as interpretation. Translation, like any interpretation, is an over-illumination. Anyone who translates has to accept such over-illumination.
I 406
It seems impossible that other words in foreign languages could call the same things just as appropriately. The right word always seems to be only one's own and always only one, no matter how certain the thing meant is one. Even the agony of translation is based on the fact that the original words seem to be inseparable from the intended content, so that in order to make a text understandable, one often has to rewrite it in a broad interpretation instead of translating it.
The more sensitively our historical consciousness reacts, the more it seems to feel the untranslatability of the foreign. But this turns the intimate unity of word and thing into a hermeneutic scandal. How is it possible to understand a foreign tradition at all when we are so to speak spellbound by the language we speak?
GadamerVs: It is necessary to see through this train of thought as an illusion. In truth, the sensitivity of our historical consciousness expresses the opposite. The effort of understanding and interpretation always remains meaningful. In it the superior generality with which reason rises above the barriers of any given linguistic constitution is demonstrated. Hermeneutic experience is the corrective through which thinking reason escapes the spell of the linguistic, and it is itself linguistically constituted.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Gadamer I
Hans-Georg Gadamer
Wahrheit und Methode. Grundzüge einer philosophischen Hermeneutik 7. durchgesehene Auflage Tübingen 1960/2010

Gadamer II
H. G. Gadamer
The Relevance of the Beautiful, London 1986
German Edition:
Die Aktualität des Schönen: Kunst als Spiel, Symbol und Fest Stuttgart 1977

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