[book review] Beata Piecychna reviews “Translational Hermeneutics. The First Symposium”, edited by Radegundis Stolze, John Stanley, and Larisa Cercel, in: Studia Translatologica 10

In recent years the hermeneutical approach to translation has received an in- creased amount of scholarly attention (see, e.g., Cercel 2009; Stolze 2011; Cercel 2013; Robinson 2013; Stanley et al. 2018), although it must be clearly stated that, formally speaking, research within this field, despite being deeply rooted in philosophical tradition, is still in its infancy. The discussion of the significance and role of the field called translational hermeneutics within translation studies is becoming increasingly methodologically oriented, with the major concerns of the most recent publications within this field including: 1) establishing certain criteria and categories which could serve as methodological departure points in analyzing not only translation products, but also the translator’s behaviour during the translation process, and 2) delimiting both boundaries and common points between translational hermeneutics per se and other translational research trends, and between translational hermeneutics and different domains, for example cognitive science (see, e.g., Piecychna 2019, forthcoming). Such aims were also outlined in the reviewed monograph entitled Translational Hermeneutics: The First Symposium, edited by Radegundis Stolze, John Stanley and Larisa Cer- cel (2015). The volume contains a collection of seventeen articles discussing a multitude of aspects concerning the use of the hermeneutic legacy within the field of broadly understood translation. All the papers published in the volume are an outcome of presentations delivered during the first symposium on Hermeneutics and Translation Studies, organized on the 26th and 27th of May 2011 at the University of Applied Sciences in Cologne1. As the editors of the volume write about the articles: “They represent the diversity of the papers delivered, not a school of thought. There was no effort made to homogenize terminology or content. To the contrary, this collection has more the character of a portfolio which should confront the reader with the diverse perspectives drawn by the promise of fusing hermeneutics with translation. Hopefully, in the years to come the continued efforts to develop a field that we are now tentatively calling »Translational Hermeneutics« will yield some level of consensus on both fundamental precepts as well as unresolved, controversial questions” (p. 7). And indeed, it could be stated without too gross a generalization that despite the earlier publications pertaining to the hermeneutical approach to translation, it is the reviewed monograph which reflects the editors’ conscious and deliberate attempts to both renew and enliven an interest in the relationship between hermeneutics and translation, and establish translational hermeneutics as a fully-fledged research branch within translation studies by bringing new ideas that seem to stand in stark contrast to the established and widely accepted objectivist paradigm in science. It is worth accentuating that contributors of the volume originate not only from different countries, but also from different continents. As the editors claim: “The fact that we had speakers come not only from Europe, the United States and Canada, but also from Egypt, Iran, Hong Kong and China suggested that the interest in linking hermeneutics with translation studies is one spanning many cultures” (ibid.). Although Germany has long been considered the centre and place of origin of hermeneutics, it seems plausible to claim that translational hermeneutics has already gone beyond this area and has become a truly global and interdisciplinary enterprise. Thematically, the papers could be divided into the following areas: the main assumptions of translational hermeneutics as a potential research paradigm within translation studies, the status of hermeneutics in the field of translation studies, the legacy of philosophical hermeneutics and phenomenology in translational hermeneutics, translational hermeneutics and praxis, and hermeneutic interpretations of literary translations and cultural artifacts, or, more broadly, culture. […] [click here]