Table Of Contents
- Title Page
- Copyright Page
- From the Editors
- About the editors
- About the book
- Citability of the eBook
- Copyright Note
- Polish Concepts in Translation Studies. Scholars – Theories – Paradigms
- The Translation of Untranslatable Words
- Translation as a Linguistic Problem
- Introduction to a Theory of Translation
- On Translations
- The Poetics of Artistic Translation
- Translation and Its Place in the National Literature and Culture
- Translatability and the Scripting of Other Peoples’ Souls: An ‘International Semantic Alphabet’ as a Tool of Cultural Translation
- Translation – Understanding – Interpretation
- Translations and Self-Commentaries
- The Poetic Model of the World and Problems of Artistic Translation (Based on the Polish translations of G. M. Hopkins)
- The Translator as the Second Author
- Calibanism: Philosophical Dilemmas of Translation
- Film Adaptation as Intersemiotic Translation
- The Theory and Praxis of Cognitive Linguistics: An Oleograph and a Symphony for Two Pianos
- Foreignness in Translation and Foreignness in Culture
- Trauma, Translation, and Transmission in a Postmemory Perspective: From Literature to Epigenetics
- You Say Nothing, I Will Interpret. Interpreting in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp
- The Conceptual Art of Translation
- List of Figures
The texts and artwork reproductions comprising this volume have been reprinted from the following sources:
Stanisław Barańczak, “Poetycki model świata a problemy przekładu artystycznego.” In: Wielojęzyczność literatury i problemy przekładu artystycznego, ed. E. Balcerzan, Wrocław: Ossolineum 1984, pp. 207–226. Used by permission of Anna Barańczak and the publisher.
Edward Balcerzan, “Poetyka przekładu artystycznego”. In his: Literatura z literatury (Strategie tłumaczy), Katowice: Śląsk 1998, pp. 17–31. Used by permission of the author and publisher.
Tomasz Bilczewski, “Trauma, translacja, transmisja w perspektywie postpamięci. Od literatury do epigenetyki.” In: Od pamięci biodziedzicznej do postpamięci, ed. T. Szostek, R. Nycz, R. Sendyka, Warszawa: IBL 2013, pp. 40–62. Used by permission of the author and publisher.
Tamara Brzostowska-Tereszkiewicz, “The Conceptual Art of Translation.” In: Modernist Translation. An Eastern European Perspective. Models, Semantics, Functions, Frankfurt/M.–Berlin–Bern–Bruxelles–New York–Oxford–Wien: Peter Lang: 2016. Used by permission of the author and publisher.
Roman Ingarden, “O tłumaczeniach.” In his: Z teorii języka i filozoficznych podstaw logiki, Warszawa: PWN 1972, pp. 132–157. Used by permission of Krzysztof Ingarden.
Zenon Klemensiewicz, “Przekład jako zagadnienie językoznawstwa.” In: O sztuce tłumaczenia, ed. M. Rusinek, Wrocław: Ossolineum 1955, pp. 87–97. Used by permission of Anna Turley and Jerzy Bajer.
Anna Legeżyńska, “Tłumacz jako ‘drugi autor’.” From her: Tłumacz i jego kompetencje autorskie. Na materiale powojennych tłumaczeń z A. Puszkina, W. Majakowskiego, I. Kryłowa i A. Błoka, Warszawa: PWN 1999, pp. 11–39. Used by permission of the author and publisher.
Roman Lewicki, “Obcość w przekładzie a obcość w kulturze.” In his: Przekład-Język-Kultura, Lublin: Wydawnictwo UMCS 2001, pp. 43–51. Used by permission of the author and publisher.←9 | 10→
Zbigniew Makarewicz, tekst . In: Poezja konkretna. Wybór tekstów polskich oraz dokumentacja z lat 1967–1977, ed. Stanisław Dróżdż, Wrocław: Socjalistyczny Związek Studentów Polskich 1978, p. 41.
Bronisław Malinowski, “Translation of Untranslatable Words”. In his: Coral Gardens and Their Magic. A Study of the Methods of Tilling the Soil and Agricultural Rites on the Trobriand Islands, vol. 2: The Language of Magic and Gardening, London: George Allen&Unwin 1935, pp. 11–22.
Ewa Partum, Active Poetry. Installation. Warsaw, 1971; poem by ewa. fragment W POSZUKIWANIU STRACONEGO CZASU Marcela Prousta, 1971; Text installation with music stands, National Museum, Warsaw 2001. In: Ewa Partum 1965–2001, ed. Angelika Stepken, Karlsruhe: Badischer Kunstverein, 2001, pp. 34, 37, 95; her photograph of ‘Installation Metapoetry “À la recherche du temps perdu” according to Marcel Proust.’ 18 Biennale of Sydney, Australia 2012. Used by permission of the author.
Stefania Skwarczyńska, “Przekład i jego miejsce w literaturze i kulturze narodowej.” In: O współczesnej kulturze literackiej, vol.1, ed. S. Żółkiewski, M. Hopfinger, Wrocław: Ossolineum 1973, pp. 287–330. Used by permission of Anna Olszewska.
Tadeusz Sławek, “Kalibanizm. Filozoficzne dylematy tłumaczenia.” In: Przekład artystyczny, vol. 1. Problemy teorii i krytyki, ed. P. Fast, Katowice: Śląsk 1991, pp. 7–17. Used by permission of the author and publisher.
Jerzy Święch, “Przekłady i autokomentarze.” In: Wielojęzyczność literatury i problemy przekładu literackiego, ed. E. Balcerzan. Wrocław: Ossolineum 1984, pp. 45–66. Used by permission of the author and publisher.
Elżbieta Tabakowska, “The Theory and Praxis of Cognitive Linguistics: an Oleograph and a Symphony for Two Pianos.” In: Między oryginałem a przekładem I, ed. J. Konieczna-Twardzikowa, U. Kropiwiec, Kraków: Universitas 1995, pp. 31–42. Used by permission of the author and publisher.
Małgorzata Tryuk, “‘You say nothing. I will interpret.’ Interpretation in Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp.” In: Translation and Opposition, ed. D. Asimakoulas and M. Rogers. Bristol-Buffalo-Toronto: Multilingual Matters 2011, pp. 223–243. Used by permission of the author and publisher.
Anna Wierzbicka, “Translatability and the scripting of other peoples’ souls,” The Australian Journal of Anthropology (2013) 24, pp. 1–21. Used by permission of the author and publisher.←10 | 11→
Olgierd Wojtasiewicz, “Wstęp do teorii tłumaczenia.” In his: Wstęp do teorii tłumaczenia, wyd. 3, Warszawa: TEPIS 1996, pp. 10–22. Used by permission of Translegis Publishing House.
Seweryna Wysłouch, “Adaptacja filmowa jako przekład intersemiotyczny.” In her: Literatura a sztuki wizualne, Warszawa: PWN 1994, pp. 157–176 and 202–206. Used by permission of the author.
Piotr de Bończa Bukowski and Magda Heydel
1 Early Translation Studies in Poland
In 1918, as Poland regained independence after the period of partitions which lasted for more than a century, one of the country’s leading writers, Stefan Żeromski, put forward a project for the Polish Academy of Literature. He argued that after the 123 years during which Polish identity was sustained to a large extent thanks to literature and art, the society and the state must recognize the need for an institutional patronage over authors and their work. Żeromski looked with irony at the claims, put forth by some writers, that the nation, with its material needs fulfilled, is prone to forget about the two torchlights of its development – literature and art – and for that reason is on the verge of turning into a herd of “clean, healthy, well-fed and happy livestock.”1 He saw compelling reasons for establishing a national institution for the development and promotion of literature. One of them was the need to broaden the scope of literary culture over “wide areas of the intelligentsia and the people.”2 What Żeromski meant is simply that in order for the society to develop, citizens have to read and – he made this very clear – not just the good old books that saw Poland through the difficult political period, but also modern literature: the current international literary production. If we want to educate new generations of readers, he argued, it is necessary to produce very good, reliable and high-quality translations form many languages. He presented an overview of literature translated into Polish from major European languages, concluding that there was an urgent need for competent renditions of both the classics and the new writing.3
It is both surprising and rewarding to find such a strong voice for the promotion of translation in a funding document for a cultural institution in 1918. The fact that so early on in the history of modern Poland an eminent writer links the patriotic responsibility for literature with the broad-mindedness derived from the knowledge of international writing is a convenient starting point for ←13 | 14→the presentation of the history of translation studies in independent Poland. The Polish Academy of Literature and the Polish PEN (established in 1925, also thanks to Stefan Żeromski) were very active in animating the production of literary translations, as well as translator training and theoretical reflection on translation as a cultural, social and linguistic phenomenon. A number of valuable studies, both descriptive analyses of the work of eminent translators and theoretical dissertations, were published in the interwar period.
One of them was an essay by Wacław Borowy,4 a literary critic and professor of English, which was devoted to the work of Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński, the most important Polish translator of French literature (Balzac, Stendhal and Proust, as well as Moliere, Montaigne, Diderot, Rabelais, Jarry, and many others). Inspired by the aesthetics of Benedetto Croce and his claim that the same content cannot be expressed in two different forms, and hence adequate translation is impossible, Borowy formulates his own definition of translation. For him, a translation is a creative work, a new expression, to use Croce’s term, remaining “close to its model.”5 Borowy’s focal point is style as a technique of “re-expression” of the original in the target language. This area of research will become central for Polish TS in the 1960s.
Also the first attempts at defining the academic identity of the study of translation are linked to literary translation and comparative literatures. In the introduction to her 1927 book on another eminent translator from French, Zenon Miriam-Przesmycki, Maria Szurek-Wisti claims that translation theory and criticism define their own methodology as “sections of literature studies”. She refers to Italian and German thinkers to stress that translation research is an interdisciplinary field linked to philology, comparative literature, history and philosophy of culture and language, as well as psychology and aesthetics.6
Still, in the 1930s the research area was by no means well defined, also in the context of wider disputes within the realm of literary studies in Poland. On the one hand, Roman Ingarden was working on his phenomenological theory of literature, with its ahistorical perspective and non-linguistic poetics; on the other hand, there was Structuralism, inspired by Russian Formalists (the OPOJAZ) and the Prague Circle, postulating a close link between literary and linguistic studies. Franciszek Siedlecki, a vocal proponent of Structural thought, focused on the mediating function of language and factors of social communication.7 His ←14 | 15→work on translation8 makes this latter aspect salient: Siedlecki studies the historical, linguistic, cultural and ideological factors influencing the translator’s work. This polarization will later become more visible, and the divide between phenomenological and hermeneutic research on the one hand and that of Structural and linguistic approach on the other will grow, also strengthened on the ideological plane: the Structural paradigm was regarded left-wing and progressive, naturally inspired by work done in the Soviet Union, while Ingarden, with his inspirations in the German philosophical tradition and disregard for Marxism, situated himself at the opposite pole.
Soviet (and Russian) inspirations for research in translation came to Poland much earlier than the political doctrine, implemented only after World War 2. Back in the 1930s, Korney Chukovsky’s Art of Translation (1930) was read in Poland, e.g. by Julian Tuwim, a poet and translator (of Pushkin, among others), one of the towering figures in 20th-century Polish literature, author of brilliant self-analytical essays on poetic translation.9 Chukovsky claimed that the translator must aim to recreate the dynamics of the poetic style and avoid the poverty and unnaturalness of translationese. These thoughts found a vibrant resonance in the Polish literary milieu, since many of its central figures (e.g. Maria Dąbrowska, Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, Tadeusz Peiper, Bolesław Leśmian, Leoplod Staff) translated literature (mostly from French, Russian, German and English), commented on their own translation practice, and wrote translation criticism; they were also influential in later Polish research on the poetics of literary translation.
Philosophy of language and theory of meaning provided another context for the development of translation scholarship in the 1930s. Kazimierz Ajdukiewicz worked on logical semantics and wrote on translation in the context of equivalence of utterances in different codes.10 This direction will be taken in decades to come by Olgierd Wojtasiewicz or Anna Wierzbicka, working in the paradigm of structural linguistics. On the other hand, the work of the anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski, situated within the area of pragmatic semantics, opened a path for the contextual theory of meaning, later developed by his disciple, J.R. Firth. It led to a holistic, functional theory of language, stressing its social role and close connection to culture11. This tendency in looking at language and ←15 | 16→translation will become central to the cultural turn in Translation Studies in late 20th century.
The problem of translation is placed at the very center of Malinowski’s reflection on language. His method of “participatory observation,” whereby the anthropologist is for a long time deeply immersed in the community he or she studies, has an obvious connection to the experience of language. It is precisely language that gives the researcher access to the meanings of ritual, magic and everyday life. “The questions of language – Malinowski writes – are indeed the most important and central subject of all humanistic studies.”12 In his study of the problem of meaning in primitive languages, Malinowski juxtaposes his own experience gained during the fieldwork in the Trobriand Islands with the theory of linguistic meaning developed by C.K. Ogden and I.A. Richards. Using numerous examples, he presents the fundamentals of the concept of word as action, immediately linked to the situational and cultural context.13 He rejects the concept of meaning as a value enclosed in an utterance, claiming that a word’s meaning is an outcome of an interplay of non-linguistic factors. Language is not just “an instrument of thought and of the communication of thought.”14 To regard it as such is “to take a one-sided view of one of its most derivate and specialized functions.”15 The proper function of language is action. Malinowski argues that “language in its primitive function and original form has an essentially pragmatic character; that it is a mode of behavior, an indispensable element of concrete human action.”16 He also rejects the idea that language is a simple reflection of the extra-linguistic reality, as the relationship between them is always mediated by culture. In his later work, Malinowki makes the discovery of the close connection between language and culture his starting point for further argument.
In the passage from his Coral Gardens and Their Magic included in our anthology,17 linguistic meaning is addressed as a question of translation practice. ←16 | 17→According to the author, the anthropological material he collected is fundamentally untranslatable, and thus the cultural reality he strives to study turns out to be unapproachable. The difficulty can be overcome by explaining the conditions of the translation process. If meaning is action in context, one cannot define translation in terms of a juxtaposition of linguistic systems. Procedures of reconstructing in your own language the meanings taken from the language of the other using philological analysis are false because they ignore the cultural and situational dimensions. The operation of translating is not an interlingual one, controllable if one establishes a set of semantic-linguistic units and rules of their mutual correspondence. It is rather a complex process of understanding the Other. Malinowski does not define any kind of formal procedure for translation – in the light of his principles this is neither possible nor useful. His concepts in translation are far ahead of their time, and can be regarded as harbingers of the Cultural Turn in Translation Studies, where translation is construed as intercultural hermeneutics, a practice where the unit of translation is neither word, nor utterance, nor text, but the entire culture.
The 1930s were an intensive time in the development of literary and translation thinking in Poland. The Second World War put a halt to much of the academic and literary activities in this field, not least because publishing in Polish was banned by the Nazi authorities. Nevertheless, the achievements of the 1930s were not wasted; research continued, and right after the war, already in 1948, two important works in the field of translation studies were published: Seweryn Pollak’s “Some Problems of the Theory of Poetic Translation”18 and Stefan Szuman’s On the Art and Essence of Lyrical Poetry.19
Pollak’s is a theoretical study based on the author’s own translation experience in 1946–47 and on his reading of Soviet theorists, mainly Chukovsky, Fedorov and Smirnoff. It is from Smirnoff that Pollak inherited both the historical model of the development of translatorial thought and the concept of adequate translation,20 which is central to his own ideas. Chukovsky made him aware of the “social attitude of the translator” and his ideological entanglements: he actually mentions a possible sociology of translation, outlined before by Franciszek Siedlecki.21 Pollak juxtaposes the Soviet translation school with the hermeneutic ←17 | 18→positions rooted in 19th-century German philosophy, concentrated not on the linguistic structures as such but the “spirit of the original.” Deeming the latter approach “reactionary,” idealistic and even dangerous, Pollak decidedly chooses the “progressive” path. Translation, he writes, is a recreation of the original in a different linguistic material. Since a work of literature is a set of coordinated and interlinked elements, their exact recreation is usually impossible. The translator has to decide on the hierarchy of those elements and choose the most important ones, leaving what is less central behind and thus discovering the invariant. Pollak’s essay is an early example of an important current in Polish Translation Studies: inspiration with Soviet concepts, discussion around invariants, problems of style, ideology in translation, and the criteria of good translation. Pollak uses the word “equivalent” – probably for the first time in the Polish tradition.
Szuman’s analyses, on the other hand, seek inspiration in works from the 1930s: Roman Ingarden’s theory of literary aesthetics presented in The Literary Work of Art (1931) and developed further in The Cognition of the Literary Work of Art (1937).22 According to Ingarden, a work of art is a multi-strata creation, characterized by formal unity which stems from an inner relation linking the layers of word sounds, units of sense, schematized aspects and represented objects. The structure of literary work is ordered and it differs from that of a scientific work because it includes “quasi-statements” (which give the represented objects only some aspects of reality). The literary work is schematic (it includes places of indeterminacy) and intentional, demanding concretization in the act of reception. Finally, it also includes artistic and aesthetic qualities, whose plurality creates the effect of polyphony. Szuman takes up several important elements of Ingarden’s theory; by comparing poetic translations with the originals, he studies the ways of artistic reconstruction of their aesthetic effects.
In the post-war period, Ingarden himself also returned in his work to the problems of translation. His paper “On Translations” resulted from his theoretical work, but also from the experience of translating and editing classic works of philosophy.23 In the passages from this analysis included in the present anthology, Ingarden concentrates on the specificity of translating a literary work as opposed to a scientific text. Further in his essay, he discussed the problems ←18 | 19→of translating philosophical discourse. Starting with his idea of the multi-strata and multiphase structure of literary work, he shows how translation consists in a process of replacement on the level of sounds, but also introduces changes into all the remaining layers. Depending on the scope and type of these changes, the work of literary art either retains or loses its individual identity. The difference between a faithful translation of a literary work and a faithful translation of a scientific text stems from the fact that in the latter case the translator focuses on using new sound material to represent in a clear manner the text’s conceptual content. The literary translator, on the other hand, strives not to disturb the polyphonic harmony of the aesthetic qualities in the strata of the literary work. Ingarden’s essay became an important voice in the exchange within the field of translation theory, but also an invitation for Polish philosophers to join in the debate, accepted i.a. by Jerzy Kmita and Halina Rosner.
2 The Foundations: PEN Club Translation Seminar; Works of Zenon Klemensiewicz and Olgierd Wojtasiewicz
The PEN Club Translation Seminar, a continuation of the pre-war efforts to recognize the importance of translators in literature, was inaugurated in 1950 with a lecture by the highly respected writer Jan Parandowski, and resulted in the publication of the 1955 volume On the Art of Translating.24 A decisive point in the development of translation thought in Poland, the book brought together contributions from writers, academics and critics. The most valuable ones were Ingarden’s text discussed above and “Translation as a Linguistic Problem” by the linguist Zenon Klemensiewicz. Presented in 1953 and first published in an academic journal in 1954,25 the essay is a pioneering work linking translation, so far conceptualized basically within the area of literary studies and criticism, with the domain of linguistics. Written and published independently from Jakobson, Nida or Vinay and Darbelnet’s work, Klemensiewicz’s essay is an attempt at creating a set of precise tools for describing the phenomenon of interlingual correspondence.
Klemensiewicz sees translation as a relation between two linguistic and stylistic systems which may be very far apart; the distance complicates the process and gives rise to various difficulties. Another set of problems stems from the fact that the language of the original is internally variegated. The author gives much attention to literary (“artistic”) language as the most demanding kind. Since the ←19 | 20→ideal of “fidelity” is grounded in a myth and cannot be sustained, Klemensiewicz (probably inspired by Alexandr Smirnoff26) introduces the concept of “adequate” translation. Adequacy, according to him, is a functional equivalence (he coins a Polish noun which stands for the same concept) which requires the substitution of the linguistic elements of the original with “those elements and structures of the target language which are, as far as possible, substitutes and equivalents with the same functional capacity, suitability, and efficacy, and in this, precisely, resides their adequacy, commensurability, equality of value.”27
Klemensiewicz stresses the fact that translation is a creative act and consists in the translator’s own and original realization of someone else’s thought. This requires affinity, a kind of kinship between the author and the translator. Seen from today’s perspective, Klemensiewicz’s ideas strike as shrewd and modern: he tackles on linguistic functionalism but also on hermeneutics; he underscores the creative element in translation, soon to be developed by Jiří Levý.
Soon after, in 1957, the first strictly theoretical work on translation was published in Poland: Introduction to Translation Theory by Olgierd Wojtasiewicz,28 a sinologist and linguist from the University of Warsaw. His book, whose first chapter is included in the present anthology, was a result of many years of research aiming at greater precision in the theoretical description of the problem of translation. Wojtasiewicz, whose work is situated in the context of the Leipzig school, developing in Eastern Germany since late 1950s, puts considerable stress on the “operation of translation.” The use of the term “equivalent” in Wojtasiewicz’s argument implies that the goal of the operation of translation is to come up with a text evoking in the recipient the same kind of reaction (the same set of associations) as the source text did in the case of the original recipients. This ensures successful communication. Parts of Wojtasiewicz’s book are devoted to the question of untranslatability. He differentiates between two types of untranslatability: structural, where the structures of the languages involved differ; and conceptual, where it is impossible to evoke the same reaction. The latter type, Wojtasiewicz writes, stems from lack of equivalents or proper names in the target language and has to do with cultural aspects of translation.
Wojtasiewicz claims that the final conclusions he drew from his analyses came as a surprise: contrary to his expectations, the difficulty in translation results to a lesser extent from differences in linguistic structures than from gaps between ←20 | 21→cultural traditions. The author sees this conclusion as optimistic: while linguistic structures are unlikely to converge, cultures might. These optimistic claims may sound more than a little naïve today, in the era of intercultural studies; the same is true for Wojtasiewicz’s ambitions to formulate a strict scientific model for the understanding of translation. Nevertheless, his work reflects a very important stage in the development of both linguistic and cultural paths in Polish translation studies. His precise argumentation and the disciplined and linguistically grounded functional thinking link his book to Eugene Nida’s work, while the role he assigns to culture and the optimistic stance towards the problem of untranslatability bring to mind Roman Jakobson’s position. Wojtasiewicz’s book gave very solid foundations to Polish translation theory and, in spite of criticism, it remains an important point of reference.
3 The Dominant and the Style: Structural Paradigm of the 1960
The work of Klemensiewicz and Wojtasiewicz already included some traits of Structuralist thought, but it was since the 1960s that Structuralism became the main driving force in Polish Translation Studies. In 1958 Roman Jakobson visited Poland for the first time and taught a series of seminars which gave a strong Structuralist impulse to Polish humanities. In linguistics it came also from the Copenhagen School (Louis Hjelmslev) and the deductive methodology which inspired Andrzej Bogusławski and Anna Wierzbicka to research universal semantic primes. Another new research area, relevant also to translation studies, concerned semantic fields (Danuta Buttler29). Up until 1968, Structuralism developed in Poland dynamically and the concept of translation played an important role in the new discourse, which in its turn stimulated research in translation.
The most important center of translation studies in Poland in that period was Poznań, with scholars such as Jerzy Ziomek, who combined methods inspired by Structural linguistics with his competence as a historian and theoretician of literature. In 1965 he published a monograph on two Polish poets-translators: a 16th century classic, Jan Kochanowski and a 20th century one, Leopold Staff: Staff and Kochanowski. An Attempt at Using Information Theory in Translation Research.30 In this pioneering study of the history of literature by means of linguistic methods, Ziomek introduces the concepts of the semantic field and the ←21 | 22→dominant, which will be later taken over and redefined by his disciples, notably Edward Balcerzan and Stanisław Barańczak. Clearly fascinated by translational linguistics and perspectives of machine translation, Ziomek principally sought to describe the style of translation in terms of mathematical stylisticstatistics and information theory. At the same time, he tried to introduce elements of stylometry, hoping that statistical methods may become a reliable way of verifying claims voiced on the basis of literary analysis.
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- 2019 (August)
- Language Literature Slavonic languages and literatures Structuralism Comparative literature
- Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2019. 412 pp., 12 fig. col., 2 tables.