In an essay appropriately entitled ‘Understanding as Translation’, Steiner considers the omnipresence of translation in the human use of language. He notices how reading Shakespeare is tantamount to translating him: the historical development of language demands a decipherment between two psychocultural contexts. Likewise, ‘The world of an Austen novel is radically linguistic: all reality is “encoded” in a distinctive idiom’1 that the reader must translate (from ciphertext to cleartext by means of some encicode) in order to understand. But translation — the assumption of an alien vision, the inhalation of an alien voice — is not peculiar to literary experience; indeed, it is co-extensive with the whole human experience of language and essential to it. One who uses language effectively is a translator, an interpreter or, to use Steiner’s polyvalent word, an interprète.
KeywordsPosit Ghost Metaphor Aphasia
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