Je ne sais plus ce que je lis: la traduction, le texte, la relation (et la promesse d’un autre printemps)

Arno Renken


The term “translation” has three meanings: the practice of the translator (translating), the textual outcome of this practice, and the relationship it creates between texts and languages. In this article, I would like to draw attention to this third aspect, translation as a relation. To do so, I will first propose a historical overview of the first two meanings (practice and text), as well as of the normative or descriptive aims associated to them. Secondly, I identify three motives for thinking about translation that are primarily concerned with its relational dimension: the lack of a language to speak about the relationship between languages, i.e. about what’s incomparable and what gets subtracted. I conclude this article with the hypothesis that translation as a relation constitutes a refuge event for the plurality of languages.


Translation; Relation; Plurality of languages

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