Ethics and translation

Ben van Wyke

Table of contents

Dictionary entries tell us that the word “ethics” refers to systems of values that guide and help determine the “rightness and wrongness” of our actions. An ethics of translation, then, necessarily addresses what is considered the morally correct manner in which one should practice the task of rewriting a text in another language. Although every conception of translation implies a certain notion of the ethical duties of translators, for much of the history of translation discourse, the word “ethics” is absent because a certain ethical position for translators has generally been taken for granted. Since translation has been understood as a task in which one strives to reproduce the original as closely as possible, ethical behavior has been simply posited as fidelity towards the original and its author.

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References

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