Vol. 40 No. 2 (2020): Philosophy of Translation. An Interdisciplinary Approach

Translation, Negation, Reflection: on the Negative-Contradictory Nature of Translation

Sašha Hrnjez
Università di Padova

Published 2020-12-19


  • Translation,
  • Negation,
  • Reflection,
  • Contradiction,
  • History

How to Cite

Translation, Negation, Reflection: on the Negative-Contradictory Nature of Translation. (2020). Teoria. Rivista Di Filosofia, 40(2), 163-185. https://doi.org/10.4454/teoria.v40i2.111


The article aims to examine the relationship between translation, negation, and reflection. Starting with some Saussure’s claims and Paolo Virno’s An Essay on Negation, the article shall bring to light how the negative-differential nature of language manifests itself in the relationship between different languages, i.e. in a translational relationship. By using the categories from Walter Benjamin’s The Task of the Translator, such as ‘the intended’ and ‘the mode of intention’, we will try to argue the main thesis: the negativity that manifests itself in the translation process has a reflexive, self-referential and transformative character. In the next step, we will analyze the dynamics of the negation of negation in translation as the relationship of identity and difference, which is actually structured as contradiction. In conclusion, it will be claimed that translation, far from being a secondary communicative phenomenon, constitutes rather, due to its negative and reflexive nature, the historical life of languages.