Essay by Yodgorova Billurabonu Shuhrat

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Yodgorova Billurabonu Shuhrat
The essence and development of translation between the 19th and the 20th centuries.

    Communication is the basis for human societies. Contact between communities is the basis for translation. Whether by conflict or cooperation, translation has been involved in the evolution of societies and it has evolved with them. Translation has an effect on the relationships between peoples, between people and power and between power and people. Translation has been instrumental in the formation of writing and literary culture in every European language (‘European’ here refers to more than the geographical area of Europe, as defined today). Indeed, the history of international contact and cultural development, within and beyond Europe, can be traced by noting the routes of translation. 

Translation is still of the utmost importance in the affairs of a world that has gone through the rapid technological development called modernization, which furthermore has enhanced international relations to the point where people feel they can legitimately talk of ‘globalization’. While this development is far from having reached all parts of the world in equal measure, it is true that science, media, entertainment, commerce, and the many forms of international relations embrace the globe so extensively now, that translation becomes an almost overwhelming issue, indeed a ‘problem’ (the notion of the ‘problem of translation’ has a long and colourful history). Many see a possible solution in the adoption of a single global language, and it seems that English is well on its way to taking on this international role, as Latin did in the very different circumstances of the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance.

The history of translation theory can in fact be imagined as a set of changing relationships between the relative autonomy of the translated text, or the translator’s actions, and two other concepts: equivalence and function. Equivalence has been understood as “accuracy,” “adequacy,” “correctness,” “correspondence,” “fidelity,” or “identity”; it is a variable notion how the translation is connected to the foreign text. Function has been understood as the potentiality of the translated text to release diverse effects, beginning with the communication of information and the production of a response comparable to the one produced by the foreign text in its own culture. Yet the effects of translation are also social, and they have been harnessed to cultural, economic, and political agendas: evangelical programs, commercial ventures, and colonial projects, as well as the development of languages, national literatures, and avant-garde literary movements. Function is a variable notion of how the translated text is connected to the receiving language and culture. In some periods, such as the 1960s and 1970s, the autonomy of translation is limited by the dominance of thinking about equivalence, and functionalism becomes a solution to a theoretical impasse; in other periods, such as the 1980s and 1990s, autonomy is limited by the dominance of functionalisms, and equivalence is rethought to embrace what were previously treated as shifts or deviations from the foreign text.

      The increasingly interdisciplinary nature of translation studies has multiplied theories of translation. A shared interest in a topic, however, is no guarantee that what is acceptable as a theory in one field or approach will satisfy the conceptual requirements of a theory in others. In the West, from antiquity to the late nineteenth century, theoretical statements about translation fell into traditionally defined areas of thinking about language and culture: literary theory and criticism, rhetoric, grammar, philosophy. And the most frequently cited theorists comprised a fairly limited group. One such catalogue might include: Cicero, Horace, Quintilian, Augustine, Jerome, Dryden, Goethe, Schleiermacher, Arnold, Nietzsche. Twentieth-century translation theory reveals a much expanded range of fields and approaches reflecting the differentiation of modern culture: not only varieties of linguistics, literary criticism, philosophical speculation, and cultural theory, but experimental studies and anthropological fieldwork, as well as translator training and translation practice. 

Any account of theoretical concepts and trends must acknowledge the disciplinary sites in which they emerged in order to understand and evaluate them. At the same time, it is possible to locate recurrent themes and celebrated topoi, if not broad areas of agreement. The Latin poet Horace asserted in his Ars Poetica (c. 10 BC) that the poet who resorts to translation should avoid a certain operation—namely, word-for-word rendering—in order to write distinctive poetry. Here the function of translating is to construct poetic authorship. In a lecture entitled “On the Different Methods of Translating” (1813). Moreover, Louis Kelly has argued that a “complete” theory of translation “has three components: specification of function and goal; description and analysis of operations; and critical comment on relationships between goal and operations” (Kelly 1979:1). Kelly is careful to observe that throughout history theorists have tended to emphasize one of these components at the expense of others. The component that receives the greatest emphasis, I would add, often devolves into a recommendation or prescription for good translating.

    It would be interesting to note that translation theory during this period are rooted in German literary and philosophical traditions, in Romanticism, hermeneutics, and existential phenomenology. They assume that language is not so much communicative as constitutive in its representation of thought and reality, and so translation is seen as an interpretation which necessarily reconstitutes and transforms the foreign text. Nineteenth-century theorists and practitioners like Friedrich Schleiermacher and Wilhelm von Humboldt treated translation as a creative force in which specific translation strategies might serve a variety of cultural and social functions, building languages, literatures, and nations. At the start of the twentieth century, these ideas are rethought from the vantage point of modernist movements which prize experiments with literary form as a way of revitalizing culture. Translation is a focus of theoretical speculation and formal innovation.

In conclusion of this scientific research, the main essence of translation process helped to develop that sphere faster and more efficiently during XIX and XXʼs centuries, which nowadays with the contribution of that works, the field of translation is much more improved.

Author: Yodgorova Billurabonu Shuhrat qizi 
Student of BukhSU Foreign languages Faculty.

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