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Translation in an International Perspective

Cultural Interaction and Disciplinary Transformation

Edited By Antoine Cazé and Rainer Lanselle

Translation scholars have for a long time been arguing in favor of a shift in paradigms to redefine the relationship between translation and the spreading of knowledge. Although a substantial share of worldwide knowledge is conveyed thanks to translation, the effects of this state of affairs upon the ways in which knowledge is actually built are all too rarely taken into account. This is particularly the case in the humanities.
The papers presented in this volume fall into three thematic categories – cultural transfer, terminology and literature. The authors are all scholars in the humanities, and some of them are also translators. They analyze the effects of translation in diverse domains such as the intercultural exchanges among Far Eastern countries, and between Asia and the West; the constitution of terminologies; clinical practices in psychoanalysis; and the impact on the definition of literary genres.
Each contribution shows how the act of translation is an integral part of the humanities, producing effects which may often be unforeseen and surprising but are always occasions for innovation.
This volume contains contributions in English and French.
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Machine Translation: Theoretical and Practical Shifts Within American and Russian Linguistics


In our paper, we intend to look at translation within the framework of the history of linguistic theories, a framework which brings to the fore the empirical and historical nature of knowledge. Our aim is to deal with translation as a historically situated activity of which the mechanization of translation constitutes a good example.

Machine Translation began in the USA in 1949. It was devised as a war technology, originating in war sciences (Dahan et al. 2004) which were characterized by the intertwining of engineering with fundamental research prevailing during the 2nd World War. Cybernetics and Information Theory emerged then as new sciences, typically illustrating the new connection. They were devised at MIT (Massachussetts Institute of Technology), which was the very place of the new scientifico-technological configuration, where Machine Translation was intended to provide mass translations for the strategic purposes of the Cold war. However, most strikingly, linguistics did not belong to war sciences. Consequently, Machine Translation experiments, although dealing with translation from one language into another, were not designed by linguists and did not involve professional translators. The question is to know how Machine Translation became a concern for linguists, and how this external domain, conceived outside linguistics but dealing with languages and language models, was then integrated by linguists. This paper presents evidence that Machine Translation initiated the “automatic turn of language”, at the crossroads of logico-mathematical formal languages, algorithmics and syntax, and actually contributed to the shifting of paradigms within language sciences in...

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