Publication details [#5760]

Léger, Benoît. 1996. Soumission et assujettissement: la fidélité chez les traducteurs et théoriciens de la traduction française dans la première moitié du XVIIIè siècle ["Soumission" and "assujettissement": fidelity for translators and theoreticians of French translations in the first half of the eighteenth century]. In Gouanvic, Jean-Marc, ed. Parcours de la traduction [Pathways of translation]. Special issue of Traduction Terminologie Rédaction (TTR) 9 (2): 75–102.
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This article analyzes the concept of fidelity in translation in France during the first half of the eighteenth century. On the basis of definitions provided by dictionaries from the late seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth century, the article attempts to define the scope of fidelity at that time: fidelity to the source text, or to the target culture? The dictionaries first explain the concept in terms of exactness, faith or submission. The quarrel between Houdar de La Motte and Anne Dacier regarding faithfulness in the translation of the Ancients is later reflected in the translation of English literature. With Silhouette, the translator's submission becomes that of a copyist. Desfontaines associates the idea of fidelity with that of "exactness," but only as an ideal which for him is strictly subjected to the contingencies of translation and of the French language. Thus, fidelity becomes synonymous with unacceptable literal translation; Desfontaines, like other translators, chooses to be faithful to French taste. The requirements of fidelity itself change according to the nature of the text to be translated: the Bible demands a literal version, the Ancients must be imitated and the translator should do justice to these authors by "improving" their work. Finally, contemporary authors whose "glory" is not recognized, will only be given a free adaptation.
Source : Abstract in journal