Contemporary Translation: A Re-Authorship

Student Author(s)

Brandon Verna

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Anne Larsen

Document Type


Event Date



To begin to discuss translation in the modern era, one must first grasp the idea of what a text is. All literary works were put into the public eye to be seen and reacted upon. They exist for the responses and interpretations elicited from themselves. When an individual sets out to translate a text, he must start with this fact in mind, and because of it the art of translation becomes very complex. To translate a text word-for-word not only won’t be understandable in the culture to which the translation is being done, but does injustice to the original work. Every language and culture places differing connotations upon each word, and often these connotations do not cross cultural borders. In addition, every text has primary ideas being presented alongside secondary ideas. This complex integration of ideas must be deconstructed, analyzed as to identify the most important primary ideas, secondary ideas, and connotations, followed by the translator’s decision of which ideas are absolutely necessary to keep, and which can be changed to better fit the culture and language. This study goes deeper into the art of translation with the explanation of Mentalese, the Sapir-Worf hypotheses, and the complication of what is intended verses what is said or written. The next steps are both controversial, and unseen. As a translator finishes re-writing the text by what he decides to be the most important ideas and senses, he achieves the status of re-authoring the text without intending to. Finally, a translator must disappear. He must produce the illusion of the presence of the primary author so the text may be taken as original, authentic, and reputable.

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