Authored by: Rosemary Arrojo

The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Philosophy

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138933552
eBook ISBN: 9781315678481
Adobe ISBN:


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Even though Nietzsche has left us only a couple of fragments on translation, the impact of his thought on the development of some of the most important and productive trends that have emerged within the discipline of translation studies in the last few decades has been enormous, but, unfortunately, hardly acknowledged. Even a cursory look at the main notions that have shaped such trends – the recognition of the translator’s inescapable visibility and agency, the transformational character of translation, the role of translation in processes of colonisation and evangelisation, the relationship between translation and gender issues, just to name a few – will show that they are deeply indebted to key concepts borrowed from Nietzsche’s philosophy, particularly as it has been rediscovered by twentieth-century thinkers such as Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Roland Barthes, Maurice Blanchot, and Michel Foucault. In fact, if we consider, for example, that mainstream conceptions of the ‘original’ and its idealised relationship with translation are still very much reminiscent of Plato’s theory of Forms and its devaluation of representations, it becomes evident how fundamental Nietzsche’s conceptions of language, interpretation, and the will to power have been for the ways in which we now think of the task of translators and the ethics that should guide their work. After briefly covering Nietzsche’s comments on the topic and after introducing the main theoretical questions that are relevant for an evaluation of his role in the development of contemporary translation studies, particularly as one of the key figures often associated with the emergence of poststructuralism, deconstruction, and postmodern thought in general, I will concentrate on the few texts on translation theory that explicitly address Nietzsche’s thought.

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