Publication details [#9947]

Liu, Xiangjun. 2005. The utopia of translation. Perspectives 13 (4) : 243–254.
Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language
Person as a subject


With his conception of a utopia of translation, Walter Benjamin makes a unique contribution to Translation Studies. His elaboration can be reduced to a translation dyad, that is, the fact that translation is positioned between thing language and human languages, as well as between human languages. The significance of Benjamin’s model of translation is, firstly, that he places translation immediately after the creation of Man, long before the construction of the tower of Babel, thus elevating the role of translation to a very high plane, and, secondly, that he emphasises the non-communicability of translation to readers. In this way, Benjamin assigns much room to the readers’ interpretation. Thirdly, by positing that translation is not supposed to carry across meaning, Benjamin, at a very early stage, orients the academic world to the remarkable potential of translation for différance in language, planting the seed for the deconstructionist trend of modern times. Fourthly, in Benjamin’s theoretical framework, translation has a similar position to that of manual reproduction of art, which eventually leads to “pure language”.
Source : Abstract in journal