Translaboration as legitimation of philosophical translation

Lavinia Heller
Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz

Even highly regarded translators cannot escape the common suspicion that philosophical ideas are not communicable in foreign languages – a suspicion that plagues philosophical translation. Translators effectively counter this distrust of translation when they explicitly claim to have collaborated with the author. This paper focuses on the Italian translation of Sein und Zeit (Being and Time) (first published in 1927; Heidegger 1986a), titled Essere e tempo (Heidegger 2006, trans. Marini), whose translator, Alfredo Marini, took particularly interesting measures to legitimate his work. This case is especially intriguing because Pietro Chiodi’s earlier translation (Heidegger 1953, 1976, 2005) is still popular in Italy despite Chiodi’s own complaints that the German text is untranslatable. The widespread acceptance of the earlier Italian translation presents a considerable problem of legitimation for Marini, who counters Chiodi’s views by arguing for the translatability of the text and supports his argument through a rhetorically constructed scene of collaborative translation. I begin this paper by retracing Marini’s strategy for presenting Essere e tempo (Heidegger 2006, trans. Marini) as a ‘translaboration’ (a collaborative translation), before addressing concerns that collaborative translation could hinder the translator’s creativity. I show that Marini’s translation achieves its most creative, and at times eccentric, effects through his close collaboration with the (deceased) philosopher, Martin Heidegger.

Publication history
Table of contents

Like literature, philosophy traditionally belongs among those genres in which translators can both accrue great prestige and incur great suspicion. Several recent collaborative projects involving eminent philosophers (see, e.g., Papenfuss and Pöggeler 1992; Hirsch 1997; Cassin 2004) have focused on acknowledging the complexity of translating philosophical texts and the need to pay scholarly and historical attention to these translations. Further evidence of such acknowledgement can also be found in the growing number of translation-themed philosophy conferences and in the recent publication of a handbook on the relationship between philosophy and translation by Rawling and Wilson (2019). Yet what exactly is being honored when translations of philosophical texts are held in high regard? The discipline of philosophy recognizes translation for its dissemination function: translation facilitates participation in discourses across linguistic barriers and supports the circulation of knowledge developed in foreign contexts, thus promoting innovation within discursive traditions. However, suspicion seems to run deeper than appreciation in many philosophers’ judgments of the communicability of translation.

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Editions and translations of Sein und Zeit

Heidegger, Martin
1953Essere e tempo. Translated by Pietro Chiodi. Milano: Bocca.Google Scholar
1964L‘Être et le temps. Translated by Rudolf Boehm and Alphonse de Waelhens. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
1976Essere e tempo. Translated by Pietro Chiodi. Milano: Longanesi.Google Scholar
1985Être et temps. Translated by Emmanuel Martineau. Paris: Authentica.Google Scholar
1986aSein und Zeit. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer.Google Scholar
1986bÊtre et Temps. Translated by François Vezin. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
1996aBeing and Time. Translated by Joan Stambaugh. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
2001Being and Time. Translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
2002El Ser y el tiempo. Translated by José Gaos. Madrid/Barcelona: Fondo de Cultura Económica.Google Scholar
2005Essere e tempo. Translated by Pietro Chiodi. Revised by Franco Volpi. Milano: Longanesi.Google Scholar
2006Essere e tempo. Translated by Alfredo Marini. Milano: Mondadori.Google Scholar
2010Essere e tempo. Translated by Pietro Chiodi. Revised by Franco Volpi. Milano: Longanesi.Google Scholar

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