The Translator's Invisibility: A History of Translation
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Since publication over ten years ago, The Translator’s Invisibility has provoked debate and controversy within the field of translation and become a classic text. Providing a fascinating account of the history of translation from the seventeenth century to the present day, Venuti shows how fluency prevailed over other translation strategies to shape the canon of foreign literatures in English and investigates the cultural consequences of the receptor values which were simultaneously inscribed and masked in foreign texts during this period. The author locates alternative translation theories and practices in British, American and European cultures which aim to communicate linguistic and cultural differences instead of removing them.
In this second edition of his work, Venuti:
- clarifies and further develops key terms and arguments
- responds to critical commentary on his argument
- incorporates new case studies that include: an eighteenth century translation of a French novel by a working class woman; Richard Burton's controversial translation of the Arabian Nights; modernist poetry translation; translations of Dostoevsky by the bestselling translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky; and translated crime fiction
- updates data on the current state of translation, including publishing statistics and translators’ rates.
The Translator’s Invisibility will be essential reading for students of translation studies at all levels.
Lawrence Venuti is Professor of English at Temple University, Philadelphia. He is a translation theorist and historian as well as a translator and his recent publications include: The Scandals of Translation: Towards an Ethics of Difference and The Translation Studies Reader, both published by Routledge.
never be completely adequate to the foreign text, Schleiermacher allowed the translator to choose between a domesticating method, an ethnocentric reduction of the foreign text to target-language cultural values, bringing the author back home, and a foreignizing method, an ethnodeviant pressure on those values to register the linguistic and cultural difference of the foreign text, sending the reader abroad. Schleiermacher made clear that his choice was foreignizing translation, and this led the
of the Anglo-Saxon text. His departures from the Exeter Book assumed a cultural situation in which Anglo-Saxon was still very much studied by readers, who could therefore be expected to appreciate the work of historical reconstruction implicit in his version of the poem. The symptomatic reading is an historicist approach to the study of translations that aims to situate canons of accuracy in their specific cultural moments. Critical categories like “fluency” and “resistancy,” “domesticating” and
than can Windsor, nor doth Fames Immortall booke record more noble names. Not to look back so far, to whom this Ile Owes the first Glory of so brave a pile, Whether to Caesar, Albanact, or Brute, The Brittish Arthur, or the Danish Knute, (Though this of old no lesse contest did move, Than when for Homers birth seven Cities strove) […] But whosoere it was, Nature design’d First a brave place, and then as brave a minde. (Denham 1969:67) The mention of “contest” in the parenthetical remark seems at
cultural values. Rose’s fluent translation was praised for “rendering correctly the meaning of the original” because it assimilated the Italian text to English values, not only the valorization of “unconstrained” language, but also the interpretation of Ariosto’s poem that currently prevailed in the target culture. And, once again, the dominion of fluency entailed that canonical texts, the ancient and modern texts in which the sense of original authorship was felt to be most pronounced, would
patriarchy forces on women in Wollstonecraft’s critique is magnified into Bertha’s ludicrous, maddening obsession: “Her jealousy never slept,” Winzy relates, Her chief occupation was to discover that, in spite of outward appearances, I was myself growing old. […] She would discern wrinkles in my face and decrepitude in my walk, while I bounded along in youthful vigour, the youngest looking of twenty youths. I never dared address another woman: on one occasion, fancying that the belle of the