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Event or Incident- Evénement ou Incident

On the Role of Translation in the Dynamics of Cultural Exchange- Du rôle des traductions dans les processus d’échanges culturels


Ton Naaijkens

Translations are crucial to the flow of themes, images, forms and ideas across boundaries. They constitute a special case of cultural dynamics as, in a sense, they are existing texts revived in a new form. The introduction of textual works in a target culture involves a high degree of strategy and control. These moments of control, selection and influence deserve special attention in cultural, receptional, and translation-historical studies. The essays in this yearbook address aspects of the central topic: the impact of translations on cultural-historical developments in Europe. First and foremost is the question which works were selected and why, and next which were neglected and why. In a wider scope: what – in the long-term processes of cultural transfer – were the «peaks» or key moments, and of which nature was the discourse accompanying the presence of a foreign-language culture in translation? Why did it all happen like this, and what was the precise impact of the introduction of new works, new ideas, new culture through the medium of translation? These are the questions to which the authors of this work attempt to provide answers.

Les traductions ont une importance cruciale quant à la circulation des thèmes, des images, des formes et des idées au-delà des frontières. Elles représentent un cas particulier de dynamique culturelle, insufflant en un sens une nouvelle vie à des textes existant. L’introduction d’œuvres écrites dans une culture cible suppose un déploiement important de stratégies visant à contrôler ces processus, qui font l’objet d’une attention toute particulière dans les études d’histoire culturelle, de réception, et d’histoire de la traduction.
Les études contenues dans ce volume s’intéressent aux différents aspects du sujet principal : l’impact des traductions sur les développements historiques et culturels en Europe. Tout d’abord quelles sont les œuvres retenues, pourquoi celles-ci et non pas d’autres ? Plus généralement, les auteurs s’intéressent aux moments où l’influence a atteint un apogée dans les processus à longue échéance des transferts culturels et à la nature du discours accompagnant la présence sous forme de traduction d’une culture en langue étrangère. Pourquoi tout cela est-il arrivé de la sorte et quel est l’impact précis de l’introduction d’œuvres, d’idées, d’une culture nouvelles à travers le medium de la traduction ? Voilà dans tous les cas les questions clés auxquelles les auteurs de cet ouvrage entendent répondre.


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Sergey TYULENEV Modernization as Translation: Eighteenth-Century Russia 15


Modernization as Translation: Eighteenth-Century Russia Sergey TYULENEV The social component is an integral part of translation practice. There- fore there must be a connection between social processes and translation activity. Although one must be careful ascribing a direct relationship be- tween periods of intensification of social processes and translation, it seems likely that whenever we observe an animation in either of them, it is likely to imply the activation of the other. This correlation also holds true if we understand translation not only as a verbal interchange but consider it in a broader semiotic sense (LAMBERT, 2006: 142-144). In what follows, I will trace the relationship between numerous and radical social reforms, on the one hand, and translation, on the other, in eighteenth-century Rus- sia. The Russian Empire of the eighteenth century will be considered as a communication system (LUHMANN, 1995).1 As a system, Russia was characterized by a definite type of communication that made it different from other communication systems which formed other states, countries and nations of Eurasia of the eighteenth century. The other countries, states and nations will be viewed as the environment of the Russian Em- pire. Russia as a unity with a certain type of communication was an entity separated from its environment not only by geographic frontiers but also by a definite boundary that operationally isolated its communication from any other communication. By communication, I mean all economic, social and cultural phenomena and behavioural patterns in their intrasystemic circulation which distinguished Russia from...

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