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Article: Domenico Jervolino, Berman e il problema della traduzione

Berman e il problema della traduzione
Domenico Jervolino

Gli studi sulla traduzione hanno assunto negli ultimi decenni sempre più una rilevanza filosofica, nel quadro di un ampio dialogo interdisciplinare. Fra i protagonisti della riflessione contemporanea sulla traduzione merita di essere menzionato e indicato come un punto di riferimento il germanista francese Antoine Berman, prematuramente scomparso nel 1991, non ancora cinquantenne (era nato nel 1942).

Di lui si può ricordare la bellissima monografia L’épreuve de l’étranger. Culture et traduction dans l’Allemagne romantique, un lavoro dove emergono con chiarezza e vengono svolti con acume e profondità di pensiero gli interrogativi che la cultura tedesca si pone in quel momento cruciale della propria storia, a partire dal grande precedente storico che è la Bibbia luterana: che cosa è per noi la traduzione e il ben tradurre? in che misura il rapporto con l'estraneo è costitutivo della nostra identità nazionale? o esso rappresenta una minaccia? non dobbiamo piuttosto guardare a ciò che del nostro passato ci è diventato estraneo?

L'autore passa in rassegna il modo con cui affrontano questi interrogativi Herder e Goethe, i fratelli Schlegel, Humboldt, Schleiemacher e Novalis, osservando che essi delineano così una problematica che va ben oltre ogni metodologia e che sarà ripresa poi dai massimi esponenti della cultura tedesca fra Ottocento e Novecento, da Nietzsche fino a Heidegger, passando per pensatori così diversi come Lukács, Rosenzweig, Benjamin e altri ancora).


Article: Anthony Pym, On empiricism and bad philosophy in translation studies

On empiricism and bad philosophy in translation studies
Anthony Pym

Translation can be known through direct engagement with the practice or profession, through theoretical propositions, or through empirical applications of theoretical propositions. Here we make the argument that the repetition of theoretical propositions without empirical application leads to some unhelpful pieces of philosophy. This particularly concerns the following general postulates 1) “translation is difference”, tested on Walter Benjamin’s reference to the untranslatability of words for bread; 2) “translation is survival”, tested on Homi Bhabha’s use of Benjamin and Derrida (who do not survive the use); 3) “translators are authors”, tested on the “alien I”, pseudotranslations and process studies; and 4) “translation is cultural translation”, tested on the subject positions created by a piece of current Germanic theoretical discourse. On all four counts, the case is made that the practice of translation exceeds its theory, thus requiring an ongoing empirical attitude.


Article: Claudia W. Ruitemberg, Distance and Defamiliarisation: Translation as Philosophical Method

Distance and Defamiliarisation: Translation as Philosophical Method

Department of Educational Studies, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, 2125 Main Mall, Vancouver, B.C., V6T 1Z4, Canada.

In this article I posit translation as philosophical operation that disrupts commonsense meaning and understanding. By defamiliarising language, translation can arrest thinking about a text in a way that assumes the language is understood. In recent work I have grappled with the phrase 'ways of knowing', which, for linguistic and conceptual reasons, confuses discussions about epistemological diversity. I here expand this inquiry by considering languages in which more than one equivalent exists for the English verb 'to know'. French, for example, has both savoir and connaître, and German has wissen and kennen. This interlinguistic translation thus allows for a reconsideration of the inquiry into the phrase 'ways of knowing': do problems arise with 'ways of knowing-in-the sense-of connaître', or with 'ways of knowing-in-the-sense-of savoir', or both? Displacement is, more generally speaking, a method used by philosophers. Shifting the concept or phenomenon under consideration into a different context or discursive register allows one to defamiliarise it and see it in terms of something else. Through translation, whether interlinguistic or interdiscursive, philosophers ask what questions and understandings become possible when we see A in terms of B.


Article: Jonathan Rée, The Translation of Philosophy

Jonathan Rée

The Translation of Philosophy

New Literary History, Vol. 32, No. 2, Reexamining Critical Processing (Spring, 2001), pp. 223-257


Article: Lovisa Bergdahl, Lost in Translation: On the Untranslatable and its Ethical Implications for Religious Pluralism

Lost in Translation: On the Untranslatable and its Ethical Implications for Religious Pluralism
Lovisa Bergdahl

Journal of Philosophy of Education, Volume 43 Issue 1, Pages 31 - 44

In recent years, there have been reports about increased religious discrimination in schools. As a way of acknowledging the importance of religion and faith communities in the public sphere and to propose a solution to the exclusion of religious citizens, the political philosopher Jürgen Habermas suggests an act of translation for which both secular and religious citizens are mutually responsible. What gets lost in Habermas's translation, this paper argues, is the condition that makes translation both necessary and (im)possible. Drawing on Walter Benjamin's notion of the mysterious untranslatable and the task of the translator, the paper approaches translation as an ethical process involving risk, asymmetry and uncertainty. Not knowing where this risk will lead, the paper takes the ethical ambivalence at play in Jacques Derrida's notion of the untranslatable and explores this in relation to religious difference in education. It argues that the untranslatable needs to be acknowledged in terms of a respect for difference and a limit to narration, if students with religious convictions are not to be further violated in schools.


Review: François OST, Traduire. Défense et illustration du multilinguisme.

Le multilinguisme est un humanisme
par Leyla Dakhli

« La langue de l’Europe, a dit Umberto Eco, c’est la traduction ». Dans un essai aux résonances politiques, François Ost prend les armes pour la diversité des langues et leur irréductibilité. La traduction a lieu d’abord à l’intérieur d’une même langue, et doit s’affranchir du mythe de la langue unique.

Recensé : François OST, Traduire. Défense et illustration du multilinguisme, Fayard « Ouvertures », 2009. 421 p., 23 euros.

Le livre de François Ost, comme l’indique son titre, est une plaidoirie. Mais il ne s’agit pourtant pas d’un traité polémique contre le ‘tout anglais’ qui voudrait prendre la défense des langues minoritaires, comme on en a vu fleurir. C’est une réflexion approfondie sur la (les) langue (s) que notre monde devrait parler pour répondre à notre désir d’universel tout en se nourrissant de nos diversités. Ce paradigme de la traduction a une généalogie que François Ost retrace patiemment, presque pas à pas, de Babel à la question du Droit, des utopies langagières aux exemples d’États multilingues, de la réinvention de l’hébreu à la différence entre langues disparues et langues mortes.


Article: Rachel Weissbrod, Philosophy of translation meets translation studies

Philosophy of translation meets translation studies
Three Hebrew translations of Kipling's “If” in light of Paul Ricœur's “Third Text” and Gideon Toury's “Adequate Translation”

Author: Weissbrod, Rachel
Source: Target, Volume 21, Number 1, 2009 , pp. 58-73(16)
Publisher: John Benjamins Publishing Company

Though there are no clear-cut boundaries between the philosophy of translation and translation studies, they are obviously not the same. They differ not only in how they address their subject matter but also in that they occupy different “niches” in the culture. In the terminology of Bourdieu, they partake in different, though possibly partly overlapping cultural fields. This article attempts to create a meeting place for two representatives of these disciplines: Paul Ricœur, a leading figure in French hermeneutics of the 20th century, and Gideon Toury, a prominent researcher in the field of translation studies. Ricœur's concept of the (non-existing) “third text” is compared with Toury's concept of “the adequate translation as a hypothetical construct”, which was proposed in the 1980s and negated in the 1990s; and Ricœur's view of translation as “equivalence without adequacy” is compared with Toury's stand on this issue. The possibility of working with both and reading each of them in light of the other is examined by applying their ideas to a test case — three Hebrew translations of Kipling's “If”. The underlying assumption is that establishing links between translation studies and the philosophy of translation can contribute to the understanding of the phenomenon, which is the subject matter of both.

Bien qu'il n'existe pas de frontières nettes entre la philosophie de la traduction et les études de traduction, les deux disciplines ne se recouvrent manifestement pas. Elles diffèrent non seulement par la façon d'aborder leur objet d'étude, mais également par le fait d'occuper des “niches” culturelles différentes. Selon la terminologie de Bourdieu, elles relèvent de champs culturels différents, qui se recoupent néanmoins en partie. Le présent article vise à créer un lieu de rencontre pour deux représentants de ces disciplines : Paul Ricœur, le pionnier de l'herméneutique française du XXe siècle, et Gideon Toury, chercheur éminent dans le domaine des études de traduction. Le concept du “tiers-texte” (inexistant) de Ricœur est comparé avec le concept de la “traduction adéquate en tant que construction hypothétique” de Toury, concept proposé dans les années 1980 et annulé dans les années 1990 ; ensuite, le point de vue de Ricœur sur la traduction comme “équivalence sans adéquation” sera confronté à celui de Toury. La possibilité de travailler avec les deux chercheurs et de lire l'un à la lumière de l'autre est vérifiée à partir d'un cas concret : trois traductions en hébreu de “If” de Kipling. L'hypothèse sous-jacente est que l'établissement de liens entre les études de traduction et la philosophie de la traduction peut contribuer à une meilleure compréhension de l'objet d'étude partagé par les deux chercheurs.


Book: Miles Groth, Translating Heidegger

Miles Groth, Translating Heidegger

Despite the great influence of Martin Heidegger on the development of 20th-century philosophy, a complete understanding of his thought is difficult to achieve if one relies solely on English translations of his works. Since Gilbert Ryle misjudged his work in a 1929 review of Sein und Zeit Heidegger’s philosophy has remained an enigma to many scholars who cannot read the original German texts. Miles Groth addresses this important issue in this illuminating work.

The main cause of misunderstanding Heidegger, says Groth, is that translators have not achieved clarity about such fundamental words as Sein, Seiende, Dasein, and Existenz, an understanding of which is crucial to gaining access to Heidegger’s way of thought. Adding to the complexity of this problem is Heidegger’s own seminal interest in the philosophical implications of translation. A basic theme of his philosophy is that key words from the ancient Greek tradition were mistranslated, first into Latin and then into modern European languages, with the result that the thought of the Pre-Socratics and the classic Greek philosophers has been obscured for two millennia. Heidegger argued that these early mistranslations of fundamental Greek words launched Western philosophy in a direction it need never have taken.

Groth examines both the history of the first English translations of Heidegger’s works and Heidegger’s philosophy of translation, revealing that there is a coherent philosophy of translation in Heidegger’s texts. The book not only articulates the elements of this theory of translation chronologically and thematically, but also shows it at work in Heidegger’s meticulous and radical translation of Parmenides, Fragment VI, in What Is Called Thinking? Translating Heidegger concludes with a complete research bibliography of English translations of Heidegger.

This unique study makes an original contribution to Heidegger scholarship as well as the philosophy of language.

Book Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 314

ISBN: 978-1-59102-100-1
Shipping Weight: 2lbs

Miles Groth (Staten Island, NY) is chair of the psychology department, associate professor of psychology, and director of the honors program at Wagner College. Dr. Groth is also an existential psychoanalyst and the author of Preparatory Thinking in Heidegger’s Teaching and The Voice That Thinks: Heidegger Studies.

More details here.

Article: Nathaniel Goldberg, Triangulation, Untranslatability, and Reconciliation.

Nathaniel Goldberg (2009). Triangulation, Untranslatability, and Reconciliation. Philosophia 37 (2).
Donald Davidson used triangulation to do everything from explicate psychological and semantic externalism, to attack relativism and skepticism, to propose conditions necessary for thought and talk. At one point Davidson tried to bring order to these remarks by identifying three kinds of triangulation, each operative in a different situation. Here I take seriously Davidson’s talk of triangular situations and extend it. I start by describing Davidson’s situations. Next I establish the surprising result that considerations from one situation entail the possibility that at any one time one language is partially untranslatable into another. Because the possibility is time-indexed, it need not conflict with Davidson’s own argument against the possibility of untranslatability. I derive the result, not to indict Davidson, but to propose a new kind of triangulation, the reconciliation of untranslatability, which I investigate. Insofar as triangulation is central to Davidson’s views, getting a handle on his various triangular situations is key to getting a handle on his contributions to philosophy. Insofar as those contributions have enriched our understanding of how language, thought, and reality interrelate, extending Davidson’s model promises to extend our understanding too.

Article: Jim Josefson and Jonathan Bach, A Critique of Rawls's Hermeneutics as Translation.

Jim Josefson & Jonathan Bach (1997). A Critique of Rawls's Hermeneutics as Translation. Philosophy and Social Criticism 23 (1).
Syracuse University, NY, USA This paper seeks to demonstrate that hermeneutics is a powerful conceptual tool for exploring the current trend towards theorizing justice as a conversation. Specifically we explore the work of John Rawls in order to describe the particular variety of hermeneu tics at work in both 'political liberalism' and 'justice as fairness' and to critique this hermeneutics from the perspective of the ontological hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer. Using the critique of Quinean pragmatism found in Joseph Rouse's epistemology, we draw a par allel between the 'hermeneutics as translation' in Quine and Rawls's public reason. This parallel, we argue, helps us better understand the features and the limitations of political liberalism, especially when Rawls's hermeneutics is contrasted with the possibility of a theory of justice inspired by Gadamer.

Call for papers: Translation of Philosophy / Philosophy of Translation

Call for papers: Panel at American Comparative Literature Conference (ALCA)
New Orleans. April 1-4 2010.
"Translation of Philosophy / Philosophy of Translation"
Seminar Organizer: Ben Van Wyke, Indiana U- Purdue U Indianapolis

For at least the past thirty years or so, questions of translation have been moving to the fore in philosophy. Far beyond traditional concerns that have focused merely on the accuracy of translated philosophical texts, translation is fast becoming one of the most fundamental tropes for the very workings of philosophy. According to Derrida, for example, whose work has played a profound role in making this connection explicit, “the origin of philosophy is translation or the thesis of translatability” (Ear of the Other 120). Not only has philosophy and comparative literature been paying increasing attention to translation, but certain areas of translation studies have also been inspired by philosophy, especially by many tenets of post-Nietzschean notions of language and their implications for this practice. However, philosophic ponderings on the trope of translation often ignore certain realities related to the actual practice. At the same time, although contemporary philosophy is gaining ground in translation studies, much of the discourse on translation still revolves around traditional ideas of transference and equivalence.

This panel welcomes papers that explore aspects of the intersection between translation (and translation studies) and philosophy, especially how these two areas can foster a productive exchange. What can philosophy learn from translation studies? How can philosophy be used to help us view and/or practice translation? If translation is at the origin of philosophy, can there be a philosophy of translation?

To submit an abstract follow this link: [www.acla.org]. There is a link at the bottom of the page that takes you to the submission form.

For questions, please contact Ben Van Wyke at bvanwyke@iupui.edu.

Article: Andrew Haas, Gewalt and Metalēpsis: On Heidegger and the Greeks.

Andrew Haas
Gewalt and Metalēpsis: On Heidegger and the Greeks


Cet article cherche à interroger Heidegger en tant que traducteur. Nous montrons d’abord que le refus de traduire hypokeimenon par subiectum rend possible une onto-héno-chrono-phénoménologie de la choséité de la chose comme constance. Ensuite, nous démontrons que la tentative visant à penser la transformation de l’alētheia ne peut éviter la traduction et toutes ses violences. Enfin, nous faisons retour aux Grecs en vue de penser la traduction comme metalēpsis, de réinterpréter la traduction platonicienne des Idées comme choses, de repenser le noūs aristotélicien comme auto-traducteur, et de suggérer que l’origine de la pensée réside peut-être aussi dans la traduction.


This article seeks to interrogate Heidegger as translator. First we show that the refusal to translate hypokeimenon as subiectum, opens up the possibility of an onto-heno-chrono-phenomenology of the thingliness of the thing as constancy. Second we demonstrate that the attempt to think a transformation of alētheia cannot avoid translation and all its violences. Finally we return to the Greeks in order to think translation as metalēpsis, to reinterpret the Platonic translation of ideas as things, to rethink the Aristotelian noūs as self-translating, and to suggest that the origin of thinking may lie in translation as well.


Article: Nick Bostrom, Understanding Quine's thesis of indeterminacy

Nick Bostrom

Understanding Quine's thesis of indeterminacy

The state of the art as regards the thesis of indeterminacy of translation is as follows. Very much has been said about it, most of which is based on misunderstandings. No satisfactory formulation of the thesis has been presented. No good argument has been given in favour of the thesis. No good argument has been advanced against it.

In this paper, I attempt to clear up some of the misunderstandings, to provide a satisfactory formulation of the thesis in non-naturalistic terms, to demonstrate how a naturalistic substitute can be derived from this formulation, to refute the best know arguments for and against the thesis, and to show how it relates to the thesis of indeterminacy of reference, the theses of semantic and epistemic holism and to the thesis of underdetermination of theory by data. Finally I argue that there is an interesting sense in which the indeterminacy is a matter of degree, and express my opinion that this degree is probably not very high.


Article: Henry Jackman, Indeterminacy and Assertion

Henry Jackman, Indeterminacy and Assertion

Presented at the 2000 Meeting of the Society for Exact Philosophy, March 2000

This paper will appeal a recent argument for the indeterminacy of translation to show not that meaning is indeterminate, but rather that assertion cannot be explained in terms of an independent grasp of the concept of truth. In particular, it will argue that if we try to explain assertion in terms of truth rather than vice versa, we ultimately will not be able to make sense of the difference between assertion and denial. This problem with such 'semantic' accounts of assertion then illustrates why we need not worry about the purported argument for indeterminacy.

New journal: Trahir

New Journal: Trahir

We are setting up a new Journal named Trahir (to betray) and the first issue will have the topic of the translation and Gilles Deleuze. We are looking mainly for people who already translated Deleuze, but we are also looking for translation studies scholars who would like to discover a new thinker in an original way: by translating/transposing/transcripting him.

Here is the Call for papers for Trahir: [www.revuetrahir.net]

The deadline is the 31st of December 2009, and the first issue of Trahir will be published during the year 2010.

Don't hesitate to disseminate this call for papers to your collegues.

René Lemieux
Sémiologie | Université du Québec à Montréal

Journal: The Translator, Special Issue Chinese Discourse on Translation

Volume 15, Number 2, 2009: Special Issue. Chinese Discourses on Translation

Positions and Perspectives

ISBN: 978-1-905763-14-6

Chinese discourse on translation has always been a site for negotiating cultural politics, and for heated debates about the perennial problem of China’s relation with the world. Traditional Chinese discourse on translation has been criticized for being impressionistic, unscientific, anecdotal and unsystematic, and more or less consigned to oblivion, while contemporary Chinese discourse on translation became almost synonymous with Chinese translations, explications and/or application of imported translation theories. In the mid 1980s, however, there was a wave of critical self-reflection on this state of affairs. Alarmed by the loss of ability to tap into the power of discourse and to exercise the right of discourse, and by the muting of the Chinese voice to mere echoes of the voice of the West, there has been, in the field of translation studies as in other fields, a series of movements to rediscover the roots of Chinese culture, to reconstruct a Chinese tradition, to regain a Chinese voice, and to re-establish a Chinese system of learning. A similar process of critical self-reflection has also unfolded in the Anglo-American world. The impact of postcolonial thinking has produced some sharp critiques of Eurocentrism in different academic disciplines, including translation studies, and there have been attempts at borrowing and learning from other discourses on translation in order to produce new models or conduct new theoretical explorations.

Chinese Discourses on Translation sets out to address these issues from the perspectives of Chinese and non-Chinese scholars of translation, and to bring contemporary Chinese discourses on translation to the attention of a wider readership.

More here.

Conference: Research Models in Translation Studies

Event: Research Models In Translation Studies II
Date and Venue: 29 April - 1 May 2011
Short Description: The first Research Models in Translation Studies conference was held ten years ago. It provided a forum for divergent approaches, theories, objectives, terminologies and procedures; it engaged with a range of old and new manifestations of translation and interpreting and took account of the impact of globalization, Interdisciplinarity and geopolitical developments on research in the field. Research Models in Translation Studies II seeks to take stock of developments on these and other fronts ten years on.

The enlargement of the remit of translation and interpreting studies has continued apace, as has the diversification of research models and methods. New media, including news media, the use of modern technologies in sign language interpreting and complex forms of audiovisual and multimodal translation have proved both challenging and enriching. The accelerated pace of migration, globalization and violent conflict have called for cross-disciplinary and self-reflexive
modes of research. Technology informs not just the practice but also research into translation and interpreting. Research training remains a pressing issue.

Like its predecessor, Research Models in Translation Studies II will provide a forum for engaging with questions of current import. What are the key challenges for research in translation and interpreting today? What concrete forms do cross-disciplinarily and self-reflexiveness take in research? As the scope of the discipline
widens, what happens to existing research models and what alternatives present themselves: Should researchers seek common ground, be it theoretical, methodological or ideological, or celebrate ever-increasing diversity? What paradigms have proved or promise to be most productive today?
Theme(s): self-reflexiveness and the researcher's subjectivity; research culture, research ethics, research practice; the globalization of translation and interpreting studies: research and theory beyond the traditional centers of academic work; the challenges of researching translation and interpreting in new settings: new
media, journalism, fansubbing, remote interpreting, the asylum system, war contexts, etc.; Interdisciplinarity, multidisciplinary and interaction with neighboring disciplines.
Contact Details: mona.baker at manchester.ac.uk
Invited Speakers: Robert Barsky, Dirk Delabastita, Sandra Halverson, Hephzibah Israel, Vicente Rafael
Registration: http://www.llc.manchester.ac.uk/ctis/activities/conferences/researchmodels2/

New book: The Metalanguage of Translation

The Metalanguage of Translation

Edited by Yves Gambier and Luc van Doorslaer
University of Turku / Lessius University College, Antwerp and CETRA, University of Leuven
Benjamins Current Topics 20
2009. vi, 192 pp.
Hardbound – In stock978 90 272 2250 3 / EUR 85.00 / USD 128.00

“Let the meta-discussion begin,” James Holmes urged in 1972. Coming almost forty years later – years filled with fascinating and often unexpected developments in the interdiscipline of Translation Studies – this volume offers the reader a multiplicity of meta-perspectives, while also moving the discussion forward. Indeed, the (re)production and (re)use of metalinguistic metaphors frame and partly determine our views on research, so such a discussion is vital ­as it is in any scholarly discipline. Among other questions, the eleven contributors draw the reader’s attention to the often puzzling variations of usage and conceptualization in both the theory and the practice of translation.
First published as a special issue of Target 19:2 (2007), the volume runs the gamut of metalinguistic topics, ranging from terminology, localization and epistemological questions, through the Chinese perspective, to the conceptual mapping of the online Translation Studies Bibliography.

Table of contents

How about meta? An introduction
Yves Gambier and Luc van Doorslaer

Defining patterns in Translation Studies: Revisiting two classics of German Translationswissenschaft
Gernot Hebenstreit

Risking conceptual maps: Mapping as a keywords-related tool underlying the online Translation Studies Bibliography
Luc van Doorslaer

Polysemy and synonymy: Their management in Translation Studies dictionaries and in translator training. A case study
Leona Van Vaerenbergh

The terminology of translation: Epistemological, conceptual and intercultural problems and their social consequences
Josep Marco

Natural and directional equivalence in theories of translation
Anthony Pym

A literary work – Translation and original: A conceptual analysis within the philosophy of art and Translation Studies
Leena Laiho

"What's in a name?": On metalinguistic confusion in Translation Studies
Mary Snell-Hornby

In defence of fuzziness
Nike K. Pokorn

The metalanguage of localization: Theory and practice
Iwona Mazur

The metalanguage of translation: A Chinese perspective
Jun Tang

Translation terminology and its offshoots
Yves Gambier


Podcast: Bink Hallum and Uwe Vagelpohl discuss the formation of the Islamic civilisation through translation

Bink Hallum and Uwe Vagelpohl discuss the formation of the Islamic civilisation through translation

Alchemy and alcohol are only two of the many Arabic words which came all the way to Albion. The word ‘alchemy’ had to travel a long distance: original a Greek term used in Hellenised Egypt, it passed into Arabic, Latin, French, and finally English. Translation made this transfer of ideas possible.
During the heyday of the Islamic empire in the eighth to tenth centuries, a massive translation movement from Greek into Arabic took place. Without it, our modern world would hardly be the same. No algebra and algorithms, for instance; no chemistry and no medicine as we know it. Islam itself would be unrecognisable, because Muslim theologians and lawyers used the tools of Greek logic and argumentation to develop their own disciplines.
Graeco-Arabic studies, a rapidly growing field within Classics, investigates this translation movement. Why were nearly all available Greek texts translated into Arabic? How did these translations lay the foundation for much of Muslim civilisation? And who were the people who produced them?

Download (MP3 format, 21:44, 31 MB)

Article: Naoko Saito: Ourselves in translation, Stanley Cavell and Philosophy as Autobiography

Ourselves in translation: Stanley Cavell and Philosophy as Autobiography

by Naoko Saito

“Narrative” has become fashionable in educational research and practice. The vogue is obviously related to an “inward turn” – a reflective mode of thinking and talking about one’s own self (Smeyers, Smith and Standish 2007). As a concomitant phenomenon,
the writing of autobiography in various forms has become part of educational practice, often with the expectation that this will have therapeutic effects. In this general trend, there is a prevailing assumption that there must be an identifiable self, a “real me,” a self that is to be revealed in the process of writing an autobiography. Such a mode of narrating one’s self, on the one hand, tends to be assimilated, ironically, to a unification of desire constructed within a global market, and ironically to end up with a loss of one’s self. On the other hand, the performativity of disclosing one’s self in the name of narrative often creates a form of violence to the ear of the other: language is trapped in the narrow and fixed framework of the narrator and is imposed on the listener. There is, however, an undeniable need, a therapeutic desire for finding one’s self. Is there not an alternative way of responding to this need, a way that avoids these negative aspects of the current preoccupation with narrative? This is a question to which this paper tries to respond.
As a promising potential answer, I shall discuss an alternative approach to narrating and writing about one’s self – Stanley Cavell’s idea of philosophy as autobiography. This is an idea in which the acknowledgement of the partiality of the self is an essential condition for achieving the universal. In the apparently paradoxical combination of the “philosophical” (which is traditionally connected with a search or the objective and the universal) and the “autobiographical” (which is conventionally associated with the subjective and the personal), Cavell shows us a way of focusing on the self and yet always transcending the self. The task requires, however, the reconstruction of the notions of philosophy and autobiography, while at the same time destabilizing our conceptions of self and language. Cavell seeks to achieve this through the idea of finding one’s voice in an autobiographical exercise. This necessitates both inheritance from the past and innovation for the future, and both initiation into the language community and deviation from it. What this amounts to is a process of the self and language in translation, which, I shall argue, can exercise a most therapeutic effect on the self, destabilizing the myth of selfidentity.


Article: Carmen Guarddon Anelo, Philosophy, Anthropology, and Linguistics in Translation

Philosophy, Anthropology, and Linguistics in Translation

by Carmen Guarddon Anelo

1. Relativism and Universal Rationalism

When a translator is faced with a text, he should take into account that the product of his translation is directed at people that come from a background which is different from that of the original target audience. When we talk of a different background, we refer to people with a different history, participating in different social practices and speaking a different language.In philosophy, we face two perspectives from which to consider a translation. The first is that of relativism. Relativism is a philosophical perspective that considers our cognitive exercise of understanding as filtered by a culturally defined conceptual way of thinking. Therefore, common biological or genetic factors, like race, are insignificant in the formation of knowledge schemes and concepts in comparison with those factors that provide the surroundings where the individual developed. In short, one can say that a human being is born without these knowledge schemes and that it is culture that creates them and molds his development.

Article: Sathya Rao, Les altérités en conflit: l’éthique bermanienne de la traduction à l’épreuve de l’Étranger lévinassien

The purpose of the present article is to compare Antoine Berman’s theory of translation with Emmanuel Levinas’ ethical philosophy. Contrary to what has often been claimed, these works differ in many aspects that will be systematically addressed. The author will then undertake to derive a theory of translation from Levinas’ philosophy of language.

L’objet de cet article est de comparer les théories de la traduction d’Antoine Berman et d’Emmanuel Levinas. Contrairement à ce que l’on pourrait croire, ces théories diffèrent sur un certain nombre de points que nous examinerons. Après avoir comparé ces deux théories, nous dériverons une théorie de la traduction de la philosophie du langage de Lévinas


Article: Jay Garfield, Translation as Transmission and Transformation

Jay Garfield, Translation as Transmission and Transformation.
This is not a general essay on the craft and institution of translation, though some of the claims and arguments I proffer here might generalize. I am concerned in particular with the activity of the translation of Asian Buddhist texts into English in the context of the current extensive transmission of Buddhism to the West, in the context of the absorption of cultural influences of the West by Asian Buddhist cultures, and in the context of the increased interaction between Buddhist practitioner communities and academics in Buddhist Studies. These three phenomena and their synergy are very much a phenomenon of the late Twentieth and early Twenty−first Centuries, so I am talking about a particular scholarly activity engaging with a particular literature and extended community at a very particular time.

Article: Roger Wertheimer, The paradox of translation

Roger Wertheimer (2008). The Paradox of Translation. In B. . Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk & M. Thelen (eds.), Translation and Meaning. Hogeschool Zuyd.

A refutation of Alonzo Church's Translation Test as based on a misconception of the grammar of (so-called) quotations, and of translation and logical form.


Review: John Sallis, On translation

Reviewed by Dinda Goglée.

Review: Paul Ricoeur, On translation

Reviewed by Siall Waterbright

When a phrase is incompletely or incorrectly heard in the game of Chinese Whispers—or Telephone, as it is also known—the hearer does not construe it as something close to the original except in one or two letters or phonemes; the hearer translates the message into the closest array of sounds that makes sense as a sentence. I am more likely to understand “the dog wagged its tail” as “the dotted rag will tear” than “the dock wake ditched ale”, in spite of the fact that the second set of sounds is closer to the original than the first. This habit, of measuring what is perceived against the familiar, expected, or acceptable, renders the difference between what is said and what is heard greater than it would otherwise be.

But this convention is necessary in order for meaning to exist, and communication to occur. Meaning is at once within the hearer and within the language and the society of its speakers; meaning exists in the individual only as it has been received. To understand, according to George Steiner, is to translate. The hermeneutic operation of translation, between languages and between speakers, self and other, is the subject of Paul Ricoeur’s philosophical enquiries into translation, and is used to chart his progress from the definition of translation as the approximation of an ideal language, through a conflict between faithfulness and betrayal, to translation as hospitality, based on the Freudian notions of the work of remembering and the work of mourning.


Podcast: Gavagai!

This week, we continue our look at translation by examining the extreme case of radical translation. How do you translate from a language which has no connection with yours and of which you do not speak a single word, and what does all this have to do with the mysterious word 'gavagai'?
We also continue our look at the challenges of translating philosophy this week focusing on translating French, German and English.

Dr Jean-Philippe Deranty
Acting head, Department of Philosophy
Macquarie University

Dr David Braddon-Mitchell
Senior lecturer, Philosophy
University of Sydney

Alan Saunders


Podcast: Philosophy in another language

The Philosopher's Zone

Philosophy aspires to universal truths but it has to do so in a particular language. How does the language in which philosophy is expressed affect what can and cannot be said, and how does translation affect our understanding of it? This week, we ask a Chinese philosopher how different Confucius is in English and we consider attempts to make Plato sound as though he came from Oxford.

Dr Karyn Lai
Senior Lecturer
School of History and Philosophy
University of NSW

Associate Professor Rick Benitez
Department of Philosophy
University of Sydney
Australasian Society for Ancient Philosophy

Alan Saunders


Reviews: Domenico Jervolino, Per una filosofia della traduzione

Reviewed in FILOSOFIA E TEOLOGIA by M. Cinquetti (n. 22/2008)

Reviewed in BRESCIAOGGI by F.M. (August 26th 2008)

Reviewed in IL SOLE 24 ORE by C. Carena (June 22nd 2008)

Book: Domenico Jervolino, Per una filosofia della traduzione

AUTHOR: Domenico Jervolino

TITLE: Per una filosofia della traduzione

DESCRIPTION: Se il linguaggio ci caratterizza come umani, esso si concretizza solo nella particolarità di una lingua storicamente determinata. Nelle lingue e nel loro reciproco riconoscersi e tradursi vive quell’umanità una e plurale che ci appartiene da sempre, ma che il nostro mondo globalizzato rende oggi straordinariamente evidente, densa di rischi e di pericoli, ma anche ricca di straordinarie opportunità. Traduciamo, nel senso ampio del termine, non solo nello scambio fra le lingue, ma tutte le volte che parliamo e incontriamo l’altro in noi e fuori di noi.
Questo libro mira a elaborare una filosofia della traduzione, che solo da poco tempo è diventata tema di riflessione filosofica, ponendosi alla scuola della fenomenologia ermeneutica di Ricoeur.

Domenico Jervolino teaches Language Ermeneutics and Philosophy at the University of Naples Federico II. He is author of a great philosophical production, including books translated in French and in American. For Morcelliana he published Introduzione a Ricoeur (2003) and edited the edition of various texts on Ricoeur as La traduzione. Una sfida etica (2001, 20073); Paul Ricoeur. Il giudizio medico (2006); Etica e morale (2007).

SERIES: The Red Pelican nr. 65
YEAR: 2008
PAGES: 272
ISBN CODE: 978-88-372-2239-0
> € 16,50

Review: John Sallis, On translation

John Sallis. On translation. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana
University Press, 2002. xiv + 127 pp. ISBN 1–800–842–6796. $19.95.
[Studies in continental thought.]
Reviewed by Dinda L. Gorlée (The Hague)
“Translation goes astray” aptly characterizes — in the first sentence of this
book — how the author, philosopher John Sallis, views the purpose of a literary
translation (Preface: pp. xi–xii). This pejorative aphorism about the absence
of “sameness of meaning” (p. xi, Sallis’s emphasis) in literary translation is, to
a translator, a familiar phenomenon. The rule of translation between text and
meaning, as it happens to crystallize itself, is never finished and never perfect.
On translation offers philosophically enlightening dialogues about translation
as an act and as a product of this act. The title is reminiscent of Brower’s classical
volume On translation (1959), as well as Bellow’s article “On translation”
(1924), included in his 1931 book of the same title. These sources are unmentioned
by Sallis, although he follows the works by Jakobson and probably others,
published in Brower 1959.

More here.

Review: Paul Ricoeur, On translation

Paul Ricoeur, On Translation, trans. Eileen Brennan, Routledge, 2006, 66pp., $17.95 (pbk), ISBN 9780415357784.

Reviewed by David Pellauer, DePaul University


This small book brings together three late essays by Paul Ricoeur along with a brief introduction by Richard Kearney. Translation as an issue was hinted at for a long time in Ricoeur's work on hermeneutics since it so obviously overlaps with questions about the nature of interpretation. These essays represent the first time, however, that he directly addressed this topic. The essays were prepared for different occasions, so there is some overlap among them. Still, one can discern a cumulative effect from their chronological appearance. Let me say immediately that, like all of Ricoeur's work, they are insightful and worth reading as they stand. However, they are important beyond this in that they also point to new questions Ricoeur was addressing in the latter years of his life. These questions are important for anyone seeking to extend Ricoeur's hermeneutical reflections. They also point to questions for philosophy in general insofar as it takes seriously the work done over the past few decades on hermeneutics in relation to language and the impact this must have on philosophy.

More here.

Book: John Sallis, On translation

John Sallis. On translation.

A creative philosophical reflection on the nature and process of translation.

"Sallis, author of this brief but rich monograph, is general editor of the Studies in Continental Thought series in which this volume appears. Although he accords Continental thinkers, such as Heidegger, Kant, Nietzsche, and Schlegel, ample room, he pays enough attention to the works of Shakespeare (especially A Midsummer Night's Dream), the ancient Greeks, and others to make this exciting, if exacting, reading for specialists and for those whose interests cross disciplines. The major chapters of this book, Scenes of Translation at Large and Translation and the Force of Words, are framed by two shorter, but no less provocative chapters—The Dream of Nontranslation and Varieties of Untranslatability. Taken as a whole, these chapters, which developed out of academic lectures at institutions located from Connecticut to Bangkok, may be accessible to advanced undergraduates, but they will appeal most to those who are more advanced in their research and scholarship. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above." —L. J. Greenspoon, Creighton University , 2003jun CHOICE
“Everyone complains about what is lost in translations. This is the first account I have seen of the potentially positive impact of translation, that it represents . . . a genuinely new contribution.” —Drew A. Hyland

In his original philosophical exploration of translation, John Sallis shows that translating is much more than a matter of transposing one language into another. At the very heart of language, translation is operative throughout human thought and experience. Sallis approaches translation from four directions: from the dream of nontranslation, or universal translatability; through a scene of translation staged by Shakespeare, in which the entire range of senses of translation is played out; through the question of the force of words; and from the representation of untranslatability in painting and music. Drawing on Jakobson, Gadamer, Benjamin, and Derrida, Sallis shows how the classical concept of translation has undergone mutation and deconstruction.

John Sallis is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Philosophy at Pennsylvania State University. His books include Force of Imagination: The Sense of the Elemental; Chorology: On Beginning in Plato’s Timaeus; and Shades—Of Painting at the Limit (all Indiana University Press).

View Table of Contents

Series: Studies in Continental Thought
Distribution: worldwide
Publication date: 9/20/2002
Format: paper 144 pages, 2 b&w photos, 1 index, 5.5 x 8.5
ISBN-13: 978-0-253-21553-6
ISBN: 0-253-21553-6

Article: Derek Boothman, Critique and Semantic Modification in Gramsci's Approach to Paradigmatic Translation

Boothman, Derek.
Critique and Semantic Modification in Gramsci's Approach to Paradigmatic Translation
Italian Culture - Volume 24-25, 2006-2007, pp. 113-140
Michigan State University Press

A skilled translator should be able not only to translate literally, but also to translate the conceptual terms of a specific national culture into the terms of another national culture, that is, such a translator should have a critical knowledge of two civilizations and be able to acquaint one with the other by using the historically determined language of the civilization to which s/he supplies the informative material. Antonio Gramsci, Letters from Prison Introduction: Translating between Paradigmatic Discourses This paper continues a line of argument, begun fairly recently (Boothman 2002, 2004a, 2004b), that tries to look at certain specific cases of intralinguistic translation in the human sciences. As such it pays particular attention to the remarks on translatability contained in the work of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci and, more important, his application of these to the discourse of various key sources he draws on. Here we shall make no more than passing reference to the ways in which his concepts may be translated into other national cultures; rather, we shall explore the ways in which he modifies concepts from other ideological discourses...


Article: Richard Kearney, Paul Ricoeur and the Hermeneutics of Translation

Paul Ricoeur and the Hermeneutics of Translation
Author: Kearney, Richard

Source: Research in Phenomenology, Volume 37, Number 2, 2007 , pp. 147-159(13)

Publisher: BRILL


Article: Hans-Johann Glock, Relativism, commensurability and traslatability

Author: Glock, Hans-Johann1
Source: Ratio, Volume 20, Number 4, December 2007 , pp. 377-402(26)
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing

Key: - Free Content - New Content - Subscribed Content - Free Trial Content

This paper discusses conceptual relativism. The main focus is on the contrasting ideas of Wittgenstein and Davidson, with Quine, Kuhn, Feyerabend and Hacker in supporting roles. I distinguish conceptual from alethic and ontological relativism, defend a distinction between conceptual scheme and empirical content, and reject the Davidsonian argument against the possibility of alternative conceptual schemes: there can be conceptual diversity without failure of translation, and failure of translation is not necessarily incompatible with recognizing a practice as linguistic. Conceptual relativism may be untenable, but not for the hermeneutic reasons espoused by Davidson.

Document Type: Research article
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9329.2007.00374.x
Affiliations: 1: Philosophisches SeminarUniversität ZürichZürichbergstrasse 43CH-8044 Zürich, Email: glock@philos.uzh.ch


Article: Thomas Kuhn, Commensurability, comparability, communicability.

Thomas Kuhn, Commensurability, comparability, communicability.

The author's concept of incommensurability is explicated by elaborating the claim that some terms essential to the formulation of older theories defy translation into the language of more recent ones. Defense of this claim rests on the distinction between interpreting a theory in a later language and translating the theory into it. The former is both possible and essential, the latter neither. The interpretation/translation distinction is then applied to Kitcher's critique of incommensurability and Quine's conception of a translation manual, both of which take reference-preservation as the sole semantic criterion of translational adequacy. The paper concludes by enquiring about the additional criteria a successful translation must satisfy.


Article: Marianne Moyaert, The (Un-)translatability of Religions?

The (Un-)translatability of Religions?
Ricoeur's Linguistic Hospitality as Model for Inter-religious Dialogue

Author: Moyaert, Marianne
Source: Exchange, Volume 37, Number 3, 2008 , pp. 337-364(28)
Publisher: BRILL


The contemporary theology of inter-religious dialogue is marked by a debate between pluralism on the one hand and post-liberal particularism on the other. According to the first, religious identity implies an openness for religious otherness. Post-liberal particularists, in contrast, draw attention to the value of identity. What matters in the context of plurality is to show more commitment and to stress the particularity of the irreducible difference between the religious languages. From this perspective post-liberal particularism claims an untranslatability of religions. This claim appears to construct a serious barrier within the dialogue between religions. Recently, this discussion between pluralists and post-liberalists has reached an impasse. In this article I set out to give this impasse a new turn. With this view in mind, I am inspired by Ricœur's latest publication On Translation (2006), which is dedicated to the enigma of linguistic diversity and the question of the (un-)translatability of languages. Beyond the mesmerizing discussion concerning the theoretical possibility or impossibility of translation, Ricœur states that the appropriate attitude of a translator is one of linguistic hospitality. Ricœur suggests that this linguistic hospitality can model for inter-religious dialogue. However, he does not elaborate on this thought and challenges others to think through his suggestion. In this article I gladly accept this challenge, hoping that this will throw new light on the current discussion between pluralists and post-liberal particularists. In line with Ricœur's position, I argue that religious languages are not untranslatable and that inter-religious dialogue is possible, provided that the ethical posture of hermeneutical hospitality for the religious other is adopted.

Document Type: Research article

DOI: 10.1163/157254308X312018

Affiliations: 1: National Fund for Scientific Research, Belgium;, Email: Marianne.Moyaert@theo.kuleuven.ac.be


New book: Davide Saraniti, Messianismo e traduzione. Benjamin e Derrida

AUTORE: Davide Saraniti
ANNO: 2009
FORMATO: mm 120 x 190
LEGATURE: brossura
PREZZO: 23,00 euro
DESCRIZIONE: Messianismo e traduzione prende in esame il tema della traduzione, esaminandolo attraverso l’opera di Walter Benjamin e Jacques Derrida. Attraverso questi autori emerge la questione della traduzione come evento che assume la forma di un debito e di un’ingiunzione che l’uomo è chiamato a tentare di saldare e rispettare. A ben vedere, quel che si ritrova nel cuore della traduzione risulta essere la problematicità del rapporto con l’altro: tradurre è infatti il tentativo di portare l’estraneo, la lingua straniera, presso di noi con violenza, ma, al contempo, anche l’impossibilità di riuscirvi integralmente, dal momento che una traduzione perfetta non sembra esistere. L’atto traduttivo, insomma, appare sempre incapace di restituire a pieno l’altro, ne perde una parte sostanziale e quindi non può mai dirsi compiuto.

New book: Übersetzung und Hermeneutik / Traduction et herméneutique

Larisa Cercel (Hg./éd.)

Übersetzung und Hermeneutik / Traduction et herméneutique

Availability: Paperback & Electronic (pdf)
Publication date: 1 July 2009
Size: 6.50 x 9.45 in
Pages: 352
Language: German, French
ISBN: 978-973-1997-06-3 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-973-1997-07-0 (ebook)
Book: 28 EUR (shipping not included)
eBook: 9 EUR

[INTRODUCTION - FREE DOWNLOAD] Der vorliegende Band bietet einen Überblick über die neueren Entwicklungen des hermeneutischen Übersetzungsansatzes, der Forschungsergebnisse aus der Linguistik und den Kognitionswissenschaften in seinen Diskurs integriert. Besprochen werden hier Grundprobleme der Translation wie die Rolle des Übersetzers im Übersetzungsprozess und sein Umgang mit den Texten im Blick auf Verstehen, Interpretation, Kreativität der Formulierung u.a. Wege zur Anwendung des hermeneutischen Konzepts in der Übersetzungsdidaktik werden aufgezeigt und die Tragfähigkeit des zugrundeliegenden philosophischen Diskurses (F. Schleiermacher, E. Husserl, M. Heidegger, H.-G. Gadamer, J. Patočka, P. Ricœur) für die Translations-theorie wird überprüft.

Cet ouvrage offre une perspective d’ensemble sur les développements récents de l’approche herméneutique en traduction qui intègre dans sa conception théorique les résultats de la recherche actuelle en linguistique et en sciences cognitives. On y débat des problèmes fondamentaux tels que le rôle du traducteur dans le processus de la traduction et son approche textuelle sous l’angle de la compréhension et de l’interprétation du texte, de la créativité en traduction etc. On y suggère des voies d’accès à l’application de la théorie herméneutique dans la didactique de la traduction et l’on discute la viabilité du discours philosophique sous-jacent (F. Schleiermacher, E. Husserl, M. Heidegger, H.-G. Gadamer, J. Patočka, P. Ricœur) pour la traductologie.


Larisa Cercel (Freiburg i. Br.): Auf den Spuren einer verschütteten Evidenz: Übersetzung und Hermeneutik (Einleitung)
Radegundis Stolze (Darmstadt): Hermeneutik und Übersetzungswissenschaft – eine praxisrelevante Verknüpfung
Lorenza Rega (Triest): Übersetzungspraxis und Hermeneutik im Spannungsverhältnis zwischen Vergangenheit und Gegenwart
John W. Stanley (Köln): Die Relevanz der phänomenologischen Hermeneutik für die Übersetzungswissenschaft
Jane Elisabeth Wilhelm (Genève): Pour une herméneutique du traduire
Arno Renken (Lausanne): Oui – et non. Traduction, herméneutique et écriture du doute
Inês Oseki-Dépré (Aix-en-Provence): Traduction et herméneutique
Domenico Jervolino (Naples): À la recherche d’une philosophie de la traduction, en lisant Patočka
Heinz-Otto Münch (Heidelberg) & Ingrid Steinbach (Worms): Verstehen und Geltung. Gadamers Hermeneutik im kritischen Licht der Übersetzungswissenschaft
Bernd Ulrich Biere (Koblenz): Die Rolle des Übersetzers: Bote, Ausleger, Verständlichmacher?
Ioana Bălăcescu (Craiova) & Bernd Stefanink (Bielefeld): Les bases scientifiques de l’approche herméneutique et d’un enseignement de la créativité en traduction
Marianne Lederer (Paris): Le sens sens dessus dessous: herméneutique et traduction
Alexis Nouss (Cardiff): La relation transhistorique
Alberto Gil (Saarbrücken): Hermeneutik der Angemessenheit. Translatorische Dimensionen des Rhetorikbegriffs decorum
Larisa Cercel (Freiburg i. Br.): Übersetzen als hermeneutischer Prozess. Fritz Paepcke und die Grundlagen der Übersetzungswissenschaft

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Book: Paul Ricoeur, On translation

On Translation
By Paul Ricoeur

Series: Thinking in Action

List Price: £55.00
Add to Cart

ISBN: 978-0-415-35777-7
Binding: Hardback (also available in Paperback)
Published by: Routledge
Publication Date: 23/10/2006
Pages: 72

About the Book
Paul Ricoeur was one of the most important philosophers of the twentieth century. In this short and accessible book, he turns to a topic at the heart of much of his work: What is translation and why is it so important?

Reminding us that The Bible, the Koran, the Torah and the works of the great philosophers are often only ever read in translation, Ricoeur reminds us that translation not only spreads knowledge but can change its very meaning. In spite of these risk, he argues that in a climate of ethnic and religious conflict, the art and ethics of translation are invaluable.

Drawing on interesting examples such as the translation of early Greek philosophy during the Renaissance, the poetry of Paul Celan and the work of Hannah Arendt, he reflects not only on the challenges of translating one language into another but how one community speaks to another. Throughout, Ricoeur shows how to move through life is to navigate a world that requires translation itself.

Paul Ricoeur died in 2005. He was one of the great contemporary French philosophers and a leading figure in hermeneutics, psychoanalytic thought, literary theory and religion. His many books include Freud and Philosophy

Article: Domenico Jervolino, Towards a Philosophy of Translation Inspired by a Phenomenological Hermeneutics

The Future of Phenomenology. Towards a Philosophy of Translation Inspired by a Phenomenological Hermeneutics

by Domenico Jervolino (Translated by Angelo Bottone)

Within the methodological perspective where I place myself, there is no gift of the phenomenon except in the gift of language, nor any gift of language outside the plurality of, or better said, the diversity of languages. The diversity of languages constitutes the presuppositions of the work of translation. Language, languages, translation therefore enter into the very heart of the constitution of sense.
The word “gift” – in its most general meaning, taken from ordinary language – is suitable to be used in at least three meanings in our discourse: the first with respect to phenomena or, if you prefer, to life; secondly with respect to language, where phenomena manifest themselves as capable of being said; and thirdly with respect to the plurality of languages, where language itself becomes real.
Language is a gift because we find ourselves alive, open to the appearance of the world. It is a gift because phenomena appear capable of being said, in that they are already said and can be expressed in a different way. It is a gift because they appear in their capacity to be said in many languages we can understand; they show themselves in their possibility, even in their effectiveness, which we can only very partially achieve, starting from our own language, which was given to us for free.
I believe we can talk of a ‘gift’ in all three of these cases, just as we can say that life is a gift. This note can be further specified and deepened – it implies in all forms, even in the most ordinary use of the term, the notions of gratuity, of passivity, of receptivity.
If the giving of phenomena can never disregard language, this does not mean one should close oneself to the characteristics and peculiarity of every language; it means realising that language expresses and that all languages, even if different, have the power to translate one into the other. This is therefore not a pure phenomenology but a hermeneutical phenomenology, a linguistic phenomenology that interprets the gift and the giving. These three forms of giving – life, language and languages – refer one to the other and sustain themselves reciprocally.
It is important to stress that the third form presupposes and clarifies the former two: the gift of life (which is the essential openness to the world as phenomena, as it appears) and the gift of language as a logos, thanks to which we are living beings with the capacity of speech. In the gift of the mother tongue these two aspects (to have a world and to have the ability of describing it) converge, but our being within a world which is common to all speaking beings is also implicit, thanks to the fact that every different ‘tongue’ belongs to the universe of language and thanks to the translatability, in principle, of all languages.
Here are topics regarding the linguistic and anthropological problem of translation within the context of an open philosophical debate: language as an inescapable characteristic of the finite and bodily condition of man, the constitution of sense in the phenomenon-language relationship, the tension between universality and finitude that comes out of this constitutive duality of what is human, and, finally, translation as a moment in which it is possible to dissipate that tension and as a paradigm of the different forms of interaction and communication among people.

More here.