Asociación Argentina de Traductores

AATT - Asociación Argentina de Traductores Técnico-Científicos

Artículos y Publicaciones

The Misery and Splendor of Translation

A Review of Ortega y Gasset's 'The Misery and Splendor of Translation'

By Freshmen of Traductorado Técnico-Científico


Ortega y Gasset gives us a general idea about what translation involves and the attitude with which a translator has to face translation problems.

In his opinion, translating is a utopian task because everything Man does is Utopian.

Although Man is principally involved in trying to know, he never fully succeeds in knowing anything. In the case of translating, he finds it impossible to transmit exactly the same idea in an original text to a target language. This is due to the fact that languages have different connotations. Yet, there are two kinds of writings: those which can easily be translated and those which cannot.

It is easier to translate a scientific writing because the author himself has began by translating from the authentic tongue in which he lives into a pseudo language formed by technical terms. He translates himself from a language into a terminology.

A language is a system of verbal signs through which individuals may understand each other without a previous accord, while a terminology is only intelligible if the one who is writing or speaking and the one who is reading or listening have previously and individually come to an agreement as to the meaning of the sign.

A translation is not the original text, it is a path towards the original. It is an element that brings us to the original without trying to repeat or replace it.

If we want to achieve our goal in translation, we must take a positive attitude to face the translation problems.