Lost in translation. Linguistica e politica della traduzione

  • Marina Montanelli


The paper puts forward a hypothesis: far from being a secondary aspect of complex linguistic phenomena, translation is the original movement of language. If it is true that humans are “linguistic animals”, language is in itself an activity of translation. Translation is in fact an intra-linguistic process before being inter-linguistic, that takes place, every time speech is uttered, within one same language. The paper firstly analyses the early writings of Walter Benjamin on language. We will then look at the reflections on translation of R. Jakobson, E. Benveniste, attempting an original comparison with the works of Benjamin. The aim of this connection is to highlight how translation must be collocated at the deepest level of linguistic theory. It must be collocated at the point of fracture between the semiotic and the semantic, and shows, in a paradigmatic way, the particularity of human language: the fact that language is at the same time natural and historic. Translation is thus considered in conjunction with the theory of infancy: if man is chronically an infant, since language is not already available to man, on the contrary man must always re-enter language, then translation is this same possibility to enter language. Finally the paper deals with the political quality of translation: to translate, in the sense Benjamin intends it, is to eliminate what cannot be said, proceeding in language as if excavating, to read what has yet to be written and to re-write history.
How to Cite
Montanelli, M. (2013) “Lost in translation. Linguistica e politica della traduzione”, Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio, 7(2). Available at: http://www.rifl.unical.it/index.php/rifl/article/view/152 (Accessed: 28September2023).