Wednesday, 17 June 2015
Time as a Translation Issue
After Babel: Aspects of language and translation, 3rd Ed.,
George Steiner, OUP, 1998, page 137
Langauage and time are strongly linked, but they are not always the same. Steiner points out:
If evidence derived from ritual, myth and anthropological language-studies is to be trusted, different cultures operate with and within different conceptualisations or, at least, different images of time.
We've all laughed about a chap from some - it differs from each part of the country where the joke is being told - region of the UK, who when being told that a job is urgent replies that he'll get to it 'dreckly', implying some indefinite time in the vague future.
We know of constructs that are cyclical, spiralling, recursive and, in some instances of heiratic representation, almost static. Whether language 'causes' these different architectonics, or whether a given grammar merely reflects or codifies a time-scheme elaborated 'outside language', is difficult to say.
It does, on the other hand, make it difficult to translate across time systems!