Wednesday, 10 June 2015
After Babel: Aspects of language and translation, 3rd Ed.,
George Steiner, OUP, 1998, page 48
Steiner asks when translation occurs? Is this only in deliberate action wgen books, arricles or other documents are translated? No, he says:
A human being performs an act of translation, in the full sense of the word, when receiving a speech-message from any other human being.
And that's without considering the physical medium by which the message travels: hand, mouth, radio, VOIP, parchement, ostracon, satellite, heiroglyph, eye, ear, nerve. Steiner adds:
Tme, distance, disparities in outlook or assumed reference, make this act more or less difficult. Where the difficulty is great enough, the process passes from reflex to conscious technique.
Most of us don't realise that we are doing it all the time, every day. It just happens. But then it doesn't work and we blame: youth culture, feminists, the goverment - whoever is changing the speech rules by which we were playing.