Course No.

FLCL 350 / LIT


Translation Criticism & Theory


Susan Bernofsky


Tu 4:00 pm - 6:20 pm OLIN 308

What is translation theory and what do we need it for? The history of ideas about translation goes back almost as far as the history of translation itself and overlaps with fields as diverse as theology, language philosophy and late-twentieth-century cultural theory. Translation critics from Roman antiquity to the present have looked for answers to questions that have remained remarkably constant over time: What does it mean to transport a text not only from one language to another but also into a new cultural context? How much of a sense of the text's foreignness should one attempt to preserve? What does it mean for translations to "read like a translation," and why have a number of 19th and 20th century theorists argued-against the conventional widsom of editors, publishers and writers everywhere-that they sometimes ought to? This course is designed to introduce students, particularly those who are active as translators themselves, to the major works of translation theory-always with an eye to what relevance these ideas have to our own work as translators and readers of translations-as well as to help students hone their skills as readers and appraisers of translations. We will be reading, comparing and reading critiques of translations from various languages, and students will be asked to write critiques of their own. Not a workshop! Prerequisite: ability to read a foreign language at the intermediate level (please specify language[s] when registering).