Essay on the Principles of Translation

Essay on the Principles of Translation

by Alexander Fraser Tytler

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Overview

Essay on the Principles of Translation is an important treatise in the history of translation theory. It has been argued in a 1975 book by Gan Kechao that Yan Fu's famous translator's dictum of fidelity, clarity and elegance came from Tytler. Tytler said that translation should fully represent the ideas, style of the original, and should possess the ease of original composition. The book provides the general rules of a good translation.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940015064902
Publisher: Balefire Publishing
Publication date: 09/07/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
File size: 12 MB
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About the Author

Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee (15 October 1747 - 5 January 1813) was a Scottish lawyer, writer, and professor. Tytler was also a historian, and for some years was Professor of Universal History, and Greek and Roman Antiquities, in the University of Edinburgh. Tytler's other titles included Senator of the College of Justice, and George Commissioner of Justiciary in Scotland. Tytler was a friend of Robert Burns, and prevailed upon him to remove lines from his poem "Tam o' Shanter" which were insulting to the legal and clerical professions. His son was Patrick Fraser Tytler, traveller and historian.

Tytler wrote a treatise that is important in the history of translation theory, the Essay on the Principles of Translation (London, 1790). It has been argued in a 1975 book by Gan Kechao that Yan Fu's famous translator's dictum of fidelity, clarity and elegance came from Tytler. Tytler said that translation should fully represent the (1) ideas and (2) style of the original and should (3) possess the ease of original composition.

In his Lectures, Tytler displayed a cynical view of democracy in general and representative democracies such as republics in particular. He believed that "a pure democracy is a chimera," and that "All government is essentially of the nature of a monarchy." In discussing the Athenian democracy, after noting that a great number of the population were actually enslaved, he went on to say, "Nor were the superior classes in the actual enjoyment of a rational liberty and independence. They were perpetually divided into factions, which servilely ranked themselves under the banners of the contending demagogues; and these maintained their influence over their partisans by the most shameful corruption and bribery, of which the means were supplied alone by the plunder of the public money."

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