XII-1 - La traduction, art des passages (2007)

Revue des Facultés de Théologie et de Philosophie


Hervé Savon - Two translators of Ambrose in the XVIth century

Two questions are closely linked in this article: that of translation and that of reception. How have saint Ambrose's works been translated at classical times? What has come out of it as to the image of his character and as to the influence his work had? Not only the methods have we been led to examine. The finality and the definition of translation are also at stake. These questions inspired an inquiry about the eight writers who turned a number of Ambrose's works into French between 1600 and 1750. Two exemplary translations have been chosen out of this collection: that by Louis Giry (1639) and the other by Father Leurin (1646). As was usual in their time, they have a taste for amplification, and they have few scruples as to accuracy. Besides, everything opposes them: Giry has a tendency for ceremonial eloquence; Leurin acts as a spiritual propagandist and transforms Ambrose's texts into gentle talks, in François de Sales' style. As a rule, we have chosen a precise analysis of the relationship between the source- text and the target- text rather than a mere description.

Nicole Guenier - The Bible: why so many translations?

Few literary or religious texts have been as often translated as the Bible. Why? We are not considering here the thousands of translations in various languages, but only those that are constantly renewed in one language, within the limits of a few European languages. Three criteria enable us to explain this age-old diversity of translations from the XVIth century onward: the Christian confession (the Jewish translations remaining a minority), the social level of the readers and the relationship to contemporary culture, whether it be the humanist legacy and the heritage of Enlightenment, or, to-day, the conception of the Bible as a monument, linked to the religious heritage or not.

Pascal Marin - Contemporary philosophy and the reality of translation

A paradigm of translation ( P. Ricoeur) is at work in the field of contemporary philosophy. The existence of this notion in philosophy, which up to now meant an activity imposed to man since Babel, can be surprising. The appearance of such a notion could obey a threefold necessity, practical, ontological and archaeological.

  • Practical: it is urgent to-day to think over the conditions of the possibility of a genuine universalism in a pluralistic context, in Europe particularly. The confrontation of two ethics of translation, in Nietzsche's and in Ricoeur's works, lets us perceive the person in question for the philosopher, the subject himself  in the act of translating, who opens up to his own language as he passes from one language to another.
  • Ontological: in a world about to become transparent to us, the test of translating reveals to us, at the heart of the experience of language, the resistance of a there is, of a reality. Whether he faces the test of interlinguistic or intralinguistic translation (Jakobson), the subject finds himself propped by this reality.
  • Archaeological: finding out the reality of translation at the very heart of languages, contemporary philosophers act as archaeologists. They exhume a most ancient stratum of our Western tradition, at the point where it constitutes itself.

Volker Mecking - Traduttore, traditore : The act of translating presented by a practitioner

This paper intends to summarily draft the history of translation since the Sumerians, who invented the cuneiform writing, up to the XXth century, while at the same time insisting on etymological and lexicographical aspects of the word translating, of its derivatives and of its historical competitors. It will deal with basic questions such as the approach using the notions of source and target languages, but also the most usual stereotypes as regards translators across the centuries as well as the material conditions of to-day's translators, who are strongly influenced by information technology. On this account, we shall also call up the increasing specialization of translators and the development of his/her professional profile and the requirements concerning his/her initial training and the not inconsiderable importance of documentary research prior to the translation. A general survey articulating around the famous saying traduttore-traditore will allow us to deal with the birth and reorientation of the science of translation in the second half of the XXth century towards such notions as skopos. The interpretative pattern of the Parisian school will be shown in detail in order to demonstrate its many and chiefly pedagogical advantages from the point of view of the practitioner. The large bibliography with a list of the links that are considered useful, will allow the novices and the learners of the paths of translation and /or interpretation, to dig more deeply if necessary into such or such aspect dealt with in this article.