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Mahony, P. (1980). Toward the Understanding of Translation in Psychoanlysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 28:461-475.

(1980). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 28:461-475

Toward the Understanding of Translation in Psychoanlysis

Patrick Mahony, Ph.D.


Freud should be ranked among the world's major theoreticians of translation, for he ascribes to the concept a scope and depth that appeared nowhere before in history. His understanding of translation is truly a semiotic contribution which permits us to appreciate a new unity in the interaction of intrasystemic, intersystemic, and interpsychic phenomena. Through the use of the

German bersetzung in its literal meanings of translation and transposition, Freud included the following as translations: hysterical, obsessional, and phobic symptomatology; dreams; screen memories; parapraxes; the choice of suicidal means; the choice of fetish; the analyst's interpretations; and also the transposition of material from the unconscious to the conscious. Nevertheless, the question remains for us as to what kind of difference might be legitimately posited between translation and transformation.

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