Friday, January 28, 2011

Addendum on the purpose of translations

A quote from Michel Angot's Introduction to his translation of the Nyāyabhāṣya:
Quant à nous, notre but n'est pas de traduire, mais de comprendre et de faire comprendre des textes comme les Nyāya-Sūtra et Bhāṣya dans le contexte où ils furent composés.

(as for me, my purpose is not to translate, but to understand and make other people understand texts such as the Nyāyasūtra and the Bhāṣya, in the context in which they have been composed).

I would not subscribe to the ambition of understanding a text "in the context in which it has been composed", since I am more interested in the more realistic effort of understanding a text's fortune and tradition, but I deeply appreciate Angot's stress on understanding vs. translating. More on this subject here.


Jayarava said...

I think you missed a bit in translating the French...

VS said...

I wasnt aware that translations could have different facets to them. The concepts of 'context' and 'tradition' while translating indeed seem fascinating.

elisa freschi said...

@Jayarava, thanks. I am sorry for the typo.
@ VS, congratulations for having understood the main problematic point notwithstanding the lack of the word "context" in my previous translation. I think you are absolutely right. As with critical editions, the point is which text one is going to translate? If one translates the sheer author's text, than one is very likely to translate a text which cannot be understood by today's readers.

Anonymous said...

agree with the vision of Elisa... ... ... ... .., Taking into account the emphasis of Indian tradition in the consciousness, knowledge and understanding, and even, the “understanding of THE understanding”, I believe that without neglecting the essential methodological bases, the search for a way into the text, in terms of make it easier, is a most valid hermeneutic option, and it also converges with the purpose of Indian tradition as it is defined by itself, for example in the Upanisads.

elisa freschi said...

Dear Olivia, I had answered to you in a comment on the post "purpose of translations" ( Here is what I wrote there:
Thanks for the comment and welcome in the blog!
I must humbly admit that I can trace back the Upaniṣadic passage you refer to with:
"it also converges with the purpose of Indian tradition as it is defined by itself, for example in the Upanishads."
Could you spell it out?

Anonymous said...

Dear Elisa

Regarding the sharing of ideas implicit in blogging, .I ment 2 things:
1) if we take the concept of reality as consciousness, as Sankara teaches, for instance, in the Upadesasahasri........we can conclude that, under that view, any relative knowledge which leads to a higher understanding of reality is that sense the sharing of ideas which the blog implies ....
2) for "understanding the understanding", which is a middle point filological-hermeneutical translation, I mean Chând. Up Vii. 7 and 17, the teaching at Nâradâ; where the only item which is refered twice is vijñana..I always get caught by that text:one have to know vijñana, and then again, the 2nd vijñana.....This word, as you know, accepts different translations.........we keep in regards, O.

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