For all that Cicero is often seen as the father of translation theory, his and other Roman comments on translation are often divorced from the complicated environments that produced them. The first book-length study in English of its kind, Roman Theories of Translation: Surpassing the Source explores translation as it occurred in Rome and presents a complete, culturally integrated discourse on its theories from 240 BCE to the 2nd Century CE. Author Siobhán McElduff analyzes Roman methods of translation, connects specific events and controversies in the Roman Empire to larger cultural discussions about translation, and delves into the histories of various Roman translators, examining how their circumstances influenced their experience of translation.
This book illustrates that as a translating culture, a culture reckoning with the consequences of building its own literature upon that of a conquered nation, and one with an enormous impact upon the West, Rome's translators and their theories of translation deserve to be treated and discussed as a complex and sophisticated phenomenon. Roman Theories of Translation enables Roman writers on translation to take their rightful place in the history of translation and translation theory.
"I don’t know how we’ve done without Siobhán McElduff’s wonderful book for so long. I wish she had published it fifteen or twenty years ago; my understanding of the historical roots of contemporary translation theory would have been significantly different today. Whoever still believes that classics scholarship is dry as dust will find that stereotype smashed by this congenial, eminently readable book."
- Douglas Robinson, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
"This is a lively, accessible book … McElduff attends meticulously to rhetorical nuance - close reading at its finest! Highly recommended."
- A.M. Busch, College at Brockport, SUNY, for CHOICE
"By examining translation across several centuries of Roman history, McElduff shows compellingly, how in translation, as in much else, understandings and sensibilities varied among individuals, but also evolved over the generations. McElduff’s work is important for the study of Western translation history in general."
- James Hadley, University of East Anglia, UK, for Perspectives: Studies in Translatology
"Students interested in translation will enthusiastically welcome the volume under review, which can be placed alongside other recent achievements in the field. This study certainly succeeds in making sense of Roman translation practices and providing both basic and advanced tools for Latinists interested in the topic."
- Chiara Battistella, Université de Genève, Switzerland, for Bryn Mawr Classical Review
Siobhán McElduff's fascinating study of how and why Romans translated may come as a shocking revelation to those of us used to contemporary views on translation, which emphasise an objective faithfulness to the source text.
- Seppo Heikkinen
Introduction 1. Language, Interpreters, and Official Translations in the Roman World 2. Livius Andronicus, Ennius, and the Beginnings of Epic Translation in Rome 3. Making a Show of the Greeks: Translation and Drama in the Third and Second Century Rome 4. Cicero’s Impossible Translation: On the Best Type of Orator and Beyond 5. Late Republican and Augustan Poets on Translation: Catullus, Horace, Lucretius, and Germanicus Caesar 6. The Post-Ciceronian Landscape of Roman Translation Theory Conclusion: A Roman Theory of Translation?