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L'écart et l'entre-deux : traduire la culture

Abstract : Comparative linguistics seems to suggest that the gap between two languages can be filled by grammar. But mapping the structural gaps between languages hardly makes for the more fundamental gap that is created by the writing of a new text, a supposedly identical addendum to the first. Writing that new text entails questions about the nature of texts, their intentions, their interpretations. Translation must therefore develop a hermeneutical approach. This critical stance is about sorting out what belongs to the languages and what belongs to the text as a specific unit, as a cultural and authorial unit. Because of its cultural nature, translation questions the way one can carry meaning across languages. We examine several examples in various fields showing how translating into French words like spirituality (in the field of jazz), social consciousness or Allah reveals stakes that go beyond the lexical. We talk about “residual translation” for the way a translator can keep words from the first language so as to preserve-reveal-and-adapt their cultural import. Failure lurks in the “cultural catch-22” of translation (“amphibolie culturelle”) in cases where the cultural gap cannot be resolved because of its very essence— we show how failures in these instances still manage to set off something crucial about the unheimlichkeit of cultural discovery. Lastly we talk about the concept of “organe-obstacle”, a borrowing from Jankélévitch, that enables us to understand the workings of language as a grammatical-cultural structure and the impact on translation.
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Contributor : Centre Interlangues Til <>
Submitted on : Friday, February 19, 2016 - 2:59:45 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, April 3, 2019 - 11:06:16 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01276512, version 1



Jean Szlamowicz. L'écart et l'entre-deux : traduire la culture. Sillages Critiques, Presses de l'Université de Paris-Sorbonne, 2011, ⟨halshs-01276512⟩



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