Publication details [#6682]

O'Keeffe, Dennis. 2001. Translating French philosophy into English: Benjamin Constant as a case-study. In Desblache, Lucile, ed. Aspects of specialised translation (Langues des Métiers - Métiers des Langues). Paris: Maison du Dictionnaire. pp. 167–170.
Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language
Person as a subject


What are the features of the intellectual world of France and Britain today that make mutual intelligibility less now than of old, and the translator's task therefore more difficult? First intelligibility is hampered by the abandonment of some ground rules and the adoption of others. The ground rule for Constant is the same as that for Burke. Given that many human problems are complex, we should nevertheless try to express them in language of the maximum simplicity. The ground rule in Marx as in Foucault or Talcot Parsons, by contrast, is that if it easy to read it is not very serious. So we are faced with a problem of scientism. This has been a major French problem and the adulating Americans and British have followed suit. The second influence has been the rise of a kind of privatization. Obscurantism has permitted a process of intellectual insider-trading to arise, where people are writing for a smallish clique of insiders, rather than to the world at large.
Source : Based on bitra