A nonlinear approach to translation

Víctor M. Longa
University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain)

The main concern of this article is to approach translation from the view of nonlinear dynamics. Thus, it makes use of theories related to such a type of dynamics (chaos theory and complexity science). This concern develops on two levels: firstly, the article argues that the abandonment of the traditional conception of translation and the raising of the current one actually agree with the evolution perceived in a great number of domains, such an evolution pointing to the rejection of deterministic positions. Secondly, it also defends the view that the translation process is entirely typical of the processes of nonlinear dynamics. Accordingly, key notions from nonlinear dynamics (such as sensitivity to initial conditions, phase transition, attractor or edge of chaos) are shown to apply to the nature of translation.

Table of contents

‘Classical’ science, paradigmatically represented by Newton (the dominant paradigm for over three centuries), assumed a nature whose main feature was its predictable (i.e. deterministic) character: a clockwork world, to quote Stewart’s (1989) term. Its method crucially relied on mechanisms such as idealisation and reductionism. Thus, the overall complexity of nature was drastically reduced by appealing to an idealised simplification of non-systematic properties which made possible the treatment of many phenomena.

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