- After Babel
name = After Babel
image_caption = First edition book cover
language = English
Oxford University Press
pub_date = January 1975
media_type = print (
pages = 520pp (first edition)
isbn = ISBN 0-192-12196-0
"After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation" is a 1975
linguisticsbook written by literary critic George Steiner. It was first published by Oxford University Pressin the United Kingdomand deals with the "Babel problem" of multiple languages.cite web |url=http://www.englishare.net/literature/POL-INTRO-Lesson-1.htm |title=Powers of Literature - Lesson 1: Genesis |work=Englishare |accessdate=2008-04-15]
"After Babel" is a comprehensive study of the subject of language and translation. cite web |url=http://www.contemporarywriters.com/authors/?p=auth234 |title=George Steiner |work=Contemporary Writers in the UK |first=Daniel |last=Hahn |accessdate=2008-04-15 ] It is both a controversial and seminal workcite web |url=http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/translation/book/language.html |title=Aspects of Language and Translation |work=Kwintessential: Cross Cultural Solutions |accessdate=2008-04-15] that covers a great deal of new ground and has remained the most thorough book on this topic since its publication. Director Peter Bush of the British Centre for Literary Translation at the
University of East Angliadescribed the book as a "pioneering work which revealed all communication as a form of translation, and how central translation is to relations between cultures." [cite web |url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4153494,00.html |title=George and his dragons |work= The Guardian, March 17, 2001|first=Maya |last=Jaggi |accessdate=2008-04-15] Daniel Hahn at ContemporaryWriters.com wrote that "It is extraordinary in making a real contribution to translation studies, while remaining fairly self-contained and accessible to people who have never before given the matter a second thought."
1992a second edition was published by Oxford University Press with major revisions by Steiner, including a new preface, and new and expanded notes and references. A third edition, with minor revisions by Steiner, was published by Oxford University Press in 1998.
"After Babel" was adapted for television in
1977as "The Tongues of Men" and was the inspiration behind the creation in 1983of the English avant-garderock group News from Babel.
Table of contents
: "Acknowledgements": "Preface"
#"Understanding as Translation"
#"Language and Gnosis"
#"Word Against Object"
#"The Claims of Theory"
#"The Hermeneutic Motion"
#"Topologies of Culture": "Afterword": "Select Bibliography": "Index of Proper Names and Titles"
In "After Babel" Steiner states "To understand is to decipher. To hear significance is to translate." He challenges conventional theories of translation by maintaining that all human communication within and between languages is translation. He argues that deception was the reason for the development of different languages: it was humanity's deep desire for privacy and territory that saw the creation of thousands of languages, each designed to maintain secrecy and cultural isolation. Real translation between languages is impossible because the original meaning is always lost: the translated text is tainted by the translator's own cultural beliefs, knowledge and attitudes.cite web |url=http://towerofbabel.com/features/subjectivity/ |title=On the Subjectivity of the Translator |work=towerofbabel.com |first=Li |last=Youzi |accessdate=2008-04-15]
Steiner states that the reason for the lack of new developments in translation theory is that translation is a hermeneutical task, "not a science, but an exact art." He then presents a new translation model that combines philosophical hermeneutics with existing translation studies to form a "systematic hermeneutic translation theory". The new model comprises four "movements": trust, aggression, incorporation, and retribution. "Trust" and "retribution" honour the
source textand its author’s intentions, while "aggression" and "incorporation" benefits the translator. [cite web |url=http://www.shvoong.com/humanities/linguistics/1657365-babel-aspects-language-translation/ |title=After Babel, Aspects of Language and Translation Book Summary |work=Shvoong |first=Alexandre |last=Meirelles |accessdate=2008-04-15]
*cite book | last = Steiner | first = George | authorlink = George Steiner | title = After Babel | year = 1975 | publisher =
Oxford University Press| location = Oxford, England| isbn = 0-192-12196-0
*cite news | first = D.S | last = Carne-Ross | title = Cracking the Code: Book review of "After Babel" by George Steiner | work =
The New York Review of Books| location = New York City| date = 1975-10-30
*cite journal | last = Ullendorff | first = Edward | authorlink = Edward Ullendorff | title = George Steiner's "After Babel" | journal = Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies | volume = 39 | issue = 2 | pages = 403-420 | publisher =
Cambridge University Press| year = 1976
* [http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/s/george-steiner/after-babel.htm "After Babel" editions] . "Fantastic Fiction".
* [http://www.rear-window.org.uk/beautiful_translations/index.html Beautiful Translations] . A symposium on translation held on
1 May 1995in London- George Steiner was a keynote speaker and "After Babel" featured prominently at the conference.
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