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.

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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.

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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).

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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:


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:


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