Searching for a (new) basis for a theory of translation

The question of how much human behaviour and the structure of language(s) influence each other is essential to our understanding of translation and to the development of possible translation strategies. In the first part of these lectures, we will examine how the structure of language and human behaviour are interlinked by looking at two examples, German and a South-American Maya dialect, with particular focus on the very different understanding of legal opinions in the two cultures. The second part of these lectures will build on this foundation and attempt to find (partly new) definitions for common cultural and linguistic concepts (such as culture, sign, concept, meme, translation, etc.). Our theoretical approach will be based on key terms such as perspective, transience and process (which is dynamic and not static), which are relative factors and form the framework for each (translatorial) action. Rather than a deterministic approach, each statement or action will be treated as an assumption which leads us to issues such as free will and (ethical) responsibility. Ethics and responsibility will be discussed in relation to translatorial action.

Link to lecture notes