1st Edition

Translation Theory in the Age of Louis XIV The 1683 De Optimo Genere Interpretandi (on the Best Kind of Translating) of Pierre Daniel Huet (1630-1721)

Copyright 2002

    Preeminent in a relatively rare category of separate early modern treatises on translation, the 1683 De optimo genere interpretandi by the polymath cleric Pierre-Daniel Huet (1630-1721) offers a concise introduction to its nature, history, theory, process and practice.


    Written in the form of a Ciceronian dialogue, On the best kind of translating not only represents Huet's acute and witty defence of the often disparaged literal or word for word model, but also provides illuminating glimpses into the critical and interpretive methods of his age. A guiding premise of this first modern edition and annotated translation of Huet's entire treatise is that, now as then, translation theory and practice are complementaries. Consistent also with this premise is the conscious attempt by DeLater to apply Huet's literal translation model at every stage in the process of producing this annotated translation of his treatise. Among the topics treated in Huet's work are: (1) a definition of translation and its relationship to interpretation; (2) adaptation of translation aims and methods to the subject matter of the original; (3) the translating and glossing of idioms, proverbs, metaphors, puns and ambiguities; (4) translators' priorities, from sense and words to the elusive quality that makes a translation seem an original work; and (5) translation as an independent theoretical discipline. In addition to providing an introduction to Huet's life and works as well as explanatory glosses for his copious sources and various topics in the DOGI, the present work also supplies links between Huet's work and that of current theorists and critics in the field of translation studies.

    Chapter 1: Huet's De optimo genere interpretandi (1661; 1680; 1683): several views of its importance and neglect as a source for translation history


    Chapter 2: Huet's life, career and works


    Chapter 3: De optimo genere interpretandi (1661; 1680; 1683) : its genesis and publication history


    Chapter 4: DOGI : its ancient and medieval sources
    Chapter 5: DOGI: two early modern sources for the work: Leonardo Bruni's De interpretatione recta (c. 1426) Girolamo Catena's Discorso Sopra la traducttione (1581)


    Chapter 6: DOGI: its structure and setting


    Chapter 7: Implicit aims and purposes of the DOGI


    Chapter 8: Two instances in the reception history of the DOGI: France and England


    Chapter 9: Prefatory remarks on the present translation, text, and their critical apparatus


    First Book of: On the best kind of translating



    Reference Works and Abbreviations


    James Albert DeLater received a PhD from the University of Washington (1997), where he studied English, comparative literature and translation. He has worked as a technical and medical translator, and taught at Portland State University, Oregon, and Saint Paul's College, Virginia. He currently teaches at Hillsdale College, Michigan.