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Wilson, E., Jr. (1989). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVII, 1983: A Singular Language. Pierre Cotet and Alain Rauzy. Pp. 1281-1295.. Psychoanal Q., 58:327.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVII, 1983: A Singular Language. Pierre Cotet and Alain Rauzy. Pp. 1281-1295.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:327

Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVII, 1983: A Singular Language. Pierre Cotet and Alain Rauzy. Pp. 1281-1295.

Emmett Wilson, Jr.

The authors believe that French readers should have their own version of a Standard Edition, and should not have to refer to Strachey's work, as happens so often when dissatisfaction arises with those translations available in French. But standards for translation must be established. The earlier translations of Freud had a certain charm and appeal, and are now criticized perhaps too severely. Still, they tended to solve problems in the text by facile mistranslation. A translation should embody three standards: exactitude, completeness, and readability. The authors discuss these three goals. (1) Exactitude: a translation should avoid contrary or ambiguous meanings. (Strachey's work is completely satisfying on this question.) Exactness involves fidelity to the nuances, the impositions of "the resonance of each resonance" that Rilke discussed as an ideal. (2) Completeness: a translation should not "improve" on Freud's writing by, for example, chopping up his complex sentences. The tendency of translators to try to make things clearer disfigures and makes the work banal. Freud's long sentences should be respected; every dass should be translated. Can one imagine the prose of Proust without its complex sentences? (3) Readability: the final version should be good French and should not appear to be a rendering into French of German idiom. This may be the most difficult aspect, for some have claimed that exactitude and readability are mutually exclusive characteristics in a translation. But it is the goal to make the translation both "beautiful and faithful." The authors review at length various theories of translation which have been helpful in their work on the French Standard Edition, and the specific difficulties involved in the translation of the Freud texts—lexical, stylistic, syntactic, and cultural.

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Article Citation

Wilson, E., Jr. (1989). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVII, 1983. Psychoanal. Q., 58:327

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