Who Needs Translations: the Difficulties of Assimilating a Foreign-Language Tradition (On the Example of the Ukrainian Translation of Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason)

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.31874/2309-1606-2020-26-2-10

Keywords:

translation, terminology, interpretation, argumentation, Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason, philosophical education

Abstract

This article offers a critical review of the Ukrainian translation of Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason. Translations of classical works should serve a twofold function. They do not only facilitate the adoption of the terminology within the academic community but should first and foremost allow those unacquainted with the language of the original to engage with a foreign philosophical tradition meaningfully. The translation of a philosophical text has to preserve terminological rigidity and strictly follow the letter of the original while simultaneously being a product of interpretation and, to a certain extent, a paraphrase, the result of cooperation between the author and the translator. Decent knowledge of the original language does not suffice to successfully deal with the outdated vocabulary and the peculiarities of authorial language use, as many of the crucial translation decisions cannot be justified without understanding the inner logic of the argument. However, my detailed analysis of terminological patterns and Ukrainian renderings of complex and ambiguous syntactic constructions proves that none of these tasks were achieved here. Unfortunately, despite the efforts, the quality of this translation does not correspond to the standards of consistency and does not reflect the letter and spirit of Kant’s original due to numerous mistakes, misreadings, and distortions. Neither the impressive list of translator’s notes nor the occasional practice of giving German equivalents in the brackets is of any help to the reader in understanding Kane’s practical philosophy unless they already possess sufficient knowledge of the German language. This translation, therefore, cannot be used as teaching material at universities and stands in the way of a wider reception of Kant’s philosophy and productive public discussions.

Author Biography

Victor Chorny, National University "Kyiv-Mohyla Academy"

undergraduate student

References

Ivashchenko, I., & Terletsky, V. (2020). The Significance of Translation for Philosophical Education (On the Example of the Ukrainian Translation of Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason). Philosophy of Education 26(1), 211-229. [In Ukrainian].

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Kant, I. (2004). Critique of Practical reason. (T. K. Abbott, Trans.). New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

Kant, I. (2015). Critique of Practical reason. (M. Gregor, Trans.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kant, I. (2017). Die Metaphysik der Sitten. (W. Weischedel, Ed.). Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Kant, I. (1998). Kritik der reinen Vernunft. Hamburg: Meiner.

Kant I. (1983). Kritik der praktischen Vernunft. Leipzig: Verlag Philipp Reclam.

Кант, І. (2018). Prolegomena to Every Future Metaphysics That Will Be Able to Present Itself as a Science. (Ed. and translated by V. Terletsky). Kharkiv: Folio. [In Ukrainian].

Kant, I. (2001). Prolegomena zu einer jeden künftigen Metaphysik, die als Wissenschaft wird auftreten können. Hamburg: Meiner.

Terletsky, V. (2006). Kant in Ukrainian: Problems and Dilemmas: Reflections on the Book: Immanuel Kant. Critique of practical reason. Ukrainian Humanitarian Review 12, 135-153. [In Ukrainian].

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Published

2021-06-25

How to Cite

Chorny, V. (2021). Who Needs Translations: the Difficulties of Assimilating a Foreign-Language Tradition (On the Example of the Ukrainian Translation of Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason). Filosofiya Osvity. Philosophy of Education, 26(2), 130–154. https://doi.org/10.31874/2309-1606-2020-26-2-10

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