Translation, iconicity, and dialogism

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Translation across languages is a specific case of translation across sign systems, internally and externally to the same historical-natural language. But translation across languages is possible on the basis of <i>language</i> understood as a <i>modeling device</i>, an a priori and condition for <i>verbal language</i> which came into being for the sake of <i>communication</i> thanks to the predominance of iconicity in the relation among signs. If we understand by a literary translation that is should be faithful to the original in terms of <i>creativity</i> and <i>interpretation</i> and not just be an imitation or repetition, the translatant text &#8212; the text that is the target of the translation &#8212; must establish a relation of <i>alterity</i> with the source text. The greater the distancing in terms of <i>dialogic alterity</i> between two texts, the greater is the possibility of creating an artistic reinterpretation through another sign interpretant in the potentially infinite semiotic chain of deferrals from one sign to the next. If we approach translation from Charles S. Peirce&#8217;s general theory of signs, in particular his triad of icon, index and symbol, the relation between the source and the target text must be dominated by iconicity if a translation is to be successful in terms of creativity and interpretation. A translation must be at once similar and dissimilar, the &#8220;same other&#8221; (see Petrilli 2001). This is the paradox of translation. Therefore a text is at once translatable and untranslatable. This is the paradox of language.


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