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Rozmarin, E. (2017). The Task of the Translator. Psychoanal. Dial., 27(4):406-413.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 27(4):406-413

The Task of the Translator

Eyal Rozmarin, Ph.D.

This discussion reflects closely on Dominique Scarfone’s call to consider psychoanalysis as a practice founded on ethics, and to rely on this premise in charting a fundamental common ground such that has eluded psychoanalysis for most of its history. Out of the three points Scarfone centers on, I dedicate most attention to the third—psychoanalysis as modeled on the notion of translation—because I find his suggestion inspiring, and promising toward the goals he sets for his paper. Building on the basis Scarfone offers in this context with the help of ideas developed by Walter Benjamin and Emmanuel Levinas, I suggest that the vision that can pull us together as psychoanalysts indeed relies on an ethics of attending to the other’s speech, its meaning as well as its fundamental yet complicated striving for comunicability. More specifically, we need to recognize that words can hide our need to say them. That what we say obscures our vulnerability and shame. That when we try to recall, the language we speak is distorted by the personal and historical forces collaborating to make us forget ourselves. I argue that the task of the psychoanalytic translator is therefore to uncover and resignify the scattered, coded fragments; to help us restore our ability to tell our stories; and to recognize that more than everything, we want to tell them.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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