Document Type : Original Article
Foreign Studies College, Hunan Normal University, Changsha, China
According to traditional Western views on translation, conveying the meaning is the first aim. In Benjamin’s eyes, this is an acceptance of the “non-identity of languages”, harming linguistic development. With his understanding, Benjamin challenged ideas viewing language as a tool. For this challenge, he has been regarded by many scholars as a forerunner, rebelling against Western logocentrism. He also contributed to the development of translation studies, e.g., with his concept of a “pure language”. Another dominant figure of deconstructivism is Derrida, who also challenged logocentrism. He has created many concepts like “la difference”, dissemination, trance etc., which serve not only linguistics and philosophy, but also translation studies. In the history of Western translation, Benjamin has often been classified as a member of deconstructivism, even being compared with Derrida in regard to their deconstructive architectural concept of “absence” (MacArthur 1993). However, Benjamin’s understanding of translation differs from Derrida’s. This paper compares their comprehension of translation mainly regarding the aspects of “pure language” and “la différence”, metaphrase and relevant translations, “afterlife” and “rebirth” of the original. Their attitudes towards the five dimensions original work, author, translator, translation work and translation criterion respectively are explored. It is concluded that Benjamin does not belong to deconstructivism.