S-Space College of Humanities (인문대학) Institute of Humanities (인문학연구원) Journal of humanities (인문논총) Journal of Humanities vol.42 (1999) (인문논총)
Translation Theories of Literary Works
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 인문대학 인문학연구소
- 인문논총, Vol.42, pp. 137-155
- Translation has much more complicated problems in itself than in general
accepted. Translation is almost impossible and very difficult especially when it
comes to translation of literary works. In 1984, the researchers who were involved
for many years in the study of literary translation in Gottingen university,
Germany, declared with determination that linguistic theories of translation cannot
contribute to the translation of literary works basically. We can assume that
literary translation is something really subtle and specific. The reason why it is
difficult to translate literary works is because literary translation is not a
transposition of linguistic cords but is deeply related to cultural factors.
For two thousand years traditional(prescientific) translation theory was
concerned only with outstanding literary works. The most influential concept in
the history of translation is the dichotomy of word and sense, which traditional
translation theory never managed to overcome, and which still besets translation
theory today. It was Cicero in the first century BC who departed from the dogma
that translation necessarily consisted of word-for-word rendering and so
formulated the alternative: "Non ut interpres … sed ut orator". For the next two
thousand years translation theory was mainly limited to a heated discussion of
Well over a thousand years later, in 1530, M. Luther was to fight a similar
battle with the Church authorities of his time over the translation of the Bible
into Germany. He defended the same basic principles as St. Jerome's, but his
words were a good deal more aggressive.
The debate over the merits of the "faithful" and the "free" - the latter
culminating in the "belles infideles" - continued to rage in Europe, and it found
eloquent expression in Germany during the early years of the 19th century, when
translation blossomed again with the romantic movement.
After the announcement of Schleichermacher's well known treatise "Ueber die
verschiedenen Methoden des Übersetzens(1813)" the emphasis has shifted from the
category "not … but" to the more tolerant alternative "either … or". Schleichermacher
makes it clear in his treatise that favours the Method of Verfremdung, or
translation that is faithful to the original.
Apart from the polarized approach represented in the dichotomy, translation
theory also presented the means of differenciating and categorizing translation
types. This approach was the one adopted by Dryden (l680). Here he distinguishes
between metaphrase and imitation; between these two extremes is paraphrase.
The two dominated methods in translation studies recently are those focused on
primarily literary works, rejecting theoretical presuppositions, normative rules and
linguistic method and those focused on linguistic matters, claiming a scientific
approach and rejecting alogical solutions and subjective speculation. Naturally
literary translation dismissed any scientific linguistic analysis; linguists dismissed
non-scientific literary analysis.
The Prague Structuralists viewed texts as incorporated within semiotic networks
and languages as codes of complex language elements that are confined according
to certain rule. Levy also incorporated the interpretive aspect into his translation
theory, basing such deduction upon W. Quine's hypothesis that translation
meaning can be logically interpreted.