Re: If not "univocal," then what?

Robert W. Schaibley writes:

> Carl Conrad notes that a lingering problem that he perceives with DE is the
> assumption of a univocal relationship between original text and translation. 

Excuse me, but I think some clarification is required here; at least
Mr. Schaibley's statement does not understand the "univocity" issue
the same way I do.  

As I understand it, the concept of "univocity" or a "univocal" text
does not relate directly to the relationship between an original text
and its translation--it relates to the semantic content of the
original text.  If the text is univocal it has only one true meaning.
The task of translation, then, is to draw out that one true meaning
and express it in another language.  Many, including myself, reject
this understanding of texts and of translations on the grounds that
texts are *not* univocal, thus the task of the translater is more
complicated and difficult--perhaps not even possible in any final or
perfect sense.

The question some have raised about the idea of dynamic equivalence as
a model for translation is: does the concept of dynamic equivalence
assume univocity in the original text such that the one, true,
univocal meaning may be rendered in dynamically equivalent terms in
the target language.  My own take on this question is that some do and
some don't--depending upon their semantic and hermeneutical
presuppositions.  If one assumes that texts are inherently polysemous,
this assumption does not ipso facto dictate a specific translation
strategy--rather it forces us to examine *all* attempts at translation
in a more critical matter.

Paul J. Bodin                                  Internet: pjb3@columbia.edu
Union Theological Seminary                        smail: 435-52nd Street
+1 718-439-3549                                          Brooklyn, NY 11220