WS 2013/14

Veranstaltungen WS 2013/14

General Topic:



All languages „ include an untranslatable world“, which is “nevertheless translatable to a certain degree“.
(Karl Jaspers, 41991:395 ).

This apparent (in) compatibility may lead us to think of the principle of ‘linguistic relativity’ in language philosophy, Humboldt’s thought that language is the expression of a nation’s spirit or the ensuing “Sapir–Whorf hypothesis”. It lies at the heart of our discussions in the PhD colloquia and events scheduled for this coming winter term 2013/2014. Karl Jaspers offers a global perspective to the philosophical debate by projecting the potential for ‚universal communication’ (‘grenzenlose Kommunikation als Weltphilosophie’) as a basis for peaceful understanding and communication beyond national borders.


In his essay on language (1947, 41991) Jaspers indicates a possible way out of the incompatibility dilemma by suggesting to place more emphasis on the ‘opinion of speakers or hearers’ when trying to understand and interpret texts instead of focussing on language, i.e. words, and the potential facts as they appear in language (ebda: 400). This thought reflects itself for instance in his central concepts of ‘ciphers’ (‘Chiffren’) and ‘transcendence’ (‘Transzendenz’) (Karl Jaspers 31977 Chiffren der Transzendenz).Universal communication is a philosophy of particular urgency for translators and interpreters. How can we establish ‘the opinions of speakers and hearers’, let alone responsibly relay them to others?  What is fact and what is assumption and how do the two interact in texts or discourses that we need to understand in order to ‘mediate’ them? Linguistically ‚acting for others’, i.e. mediated communication (Translation) thus forms an indispensable part of universal communication in its factual dimension.   .... more


Topics for discussion:

  • Japsers' notion of 'freedom' versus the translatological conflict between 'freedom'and 'loyalty'

  • Can 'transcendence' and 'Chiffren' be translated?

  • 'Communication' via 'mediated communication': the problem of trilaterality in translation, interpreting (discourse -, simultaneous/consecutive, written interpretation) and multidimensional translation


General Overview

PPT 16-10-13

PPT 13-11-13