1st Edition

The Conference of the Tongues

By Theo Hermans Copyright 2007
    192 Pages
    by Routledge

    192 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Conference of the Tongues offers a series of startling reflections on fundamental questions of translation. It throws new light on familiar problems and opens up some radically different avenues of thought. It engages with value conflicts in translation and the social accountability of translators, and turns the old issue of equivalence inside out. Drawing on a wealth of contemporary and historical examples, the book teases out the translator's subject-position in translations, makes notions of intertextuality and irony serviceable for translation studies, tries to think translation without transformation, and uses a controversial sociological model to cast a cold eye on the entire world of translating.


    This is a highly interdisciplinary study that remains aware of the importance of theoretical paradigms as it brings concepts from international law, social systems theory and even theology to bear on translation. Self-reference is a recurrent theme. The book invites us to read translations for what they can tell us about translating and about translators' own perceptions of their role. The argument throughout is for more self-reflexive translation studies.



    1. The End

    Words from above

    Vienna's treaties

    Versions of authority

    Authentication in a minor key


    2. Before the End

    Hostile dynasties




    3. Irony's Echo

    Translation, quotation, demonstration

    Reported speech

    Echoic translation


    4. Real Presence

    Uccello's predella





    5. Connecting Systems







    6. The Thickness of Translation Studies

    Domestic representations

    The thick of it



    Theo Hermans is Professor of Dutch and Comparative Literature and Director of the Centre for Intercultural Studies at University College London. A founding member of the Translation Research Summer School and the International Association for Translation and Intercultural Studies, he also edits the series Translation Theories Explored for St Jerome Publishing. He is the author of several books, including Translation in Systems and The Structure of Modernist Poetry, and editor of Translating Others, Crosscultural Transgressions and The Manipulation of Literature.