Silvia Panizza

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The work of Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951) is best known for offering an account of language which pointed the philosophy of language away from a view of words conceived as referring to abstract and universal ideas, towards a conception of language and meaning as grounded within specific practices. His work constitutes a significant part of the ‘linguistic turn’ of the twentieth century, which saw an increasing preoccupation with language in various disciplines, including philosophy. It is not surprising, therefore, that Wittgenstein has a lot to offer to translation theory and to translators. However, perhaps because Wittgenstein himself did not write explicitly about translation issues, his work is still not widely used in translation, although some recent studies, on which I will draw in this chapter, are starting to fill the gap and to show fruitful possibilities for thinking about translation (Glock 2008;
Gorlée 2012; Kusch 2012; Oliveira 2012; Tymoczko 2014; Wilson 2016).
This chapter begins by outlining Wittgenstein’s thought on language and his methods, after clarifying two common points of contention among Wittgenstein scholars – that is, the difference and continuity between the ‘early’ and ‘later’ Wittgenstein, and the debate on whether Wittgenstein can be said to offer a ‘theory’ of language. Wittgenstein’s thought will then be presented by focusing on some key ideas that are particularly helpful for translation, specifically the notions of ‘language-games’, ‘forms of life’, ‘aspect-seeing’ and ‘surveyable representation’. The emphasis is not on how Wittgenstein has been translated but on how his ideas can help in the theory and practice of translation by offering a distinctive view of language.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Translation and Philosophy
EditorsPiers Rawling, Philip Wilson
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781138933552
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sep 2018

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