M1: Unit 1: Q7.1 Answer

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One way of addressing the question might be through Roman Jakobson’s essay ‘On Linguistic Aspects of Translation’ (1959) in which he famously distinguished between three kinds of translation: intralingual (i.e. rephrasing within one and the same language), interlingual (the standard form, from one language to another) and intersemiotic (i.e. involving non-verbal sign systems). When we discuss translations and paraphrase them in the process, we are practising a form of intralingual translation.

Another response might start from the observation that when we talk about translations and their originals, we usually do so in either of the two languages involved. Whenever we are talking about the other language, we translate. As a result, our discussions about individual translations and their sources are peppered with translations.

The strongest case is probably that of researchers working on translation or translations in a culture not their own. The investigators have to translate constantly, both from language x (and, if they are comparing translations and originals, language y) into their own language, but in addition they ‘translate’ their findings into the disciplinary jargon of academic speech. Is this latter form of ‘translation’ also translation? Think about it.