ABSTRACT

In my previous chapter, I questioned the assumption that translation (in the sense of an action or process) has always been understood exclusively as the work of the translator-that is, of a single translator working alone. In this chapter, I continue to explore medieval and Renaissance ways of practicing translation in order to challenge a related assumption: the idea that the translation text has always been conceptualized as a single, autonomous version. I have argued that, in the context of early modern Europe’s political centralization processes, and in the context of the ideologies of linguistic unification that accompanied these processes, Renaissance translators struggled to accommodate their definitions of translation to a monolingual text-model. In so doing, they met the extreme difficulty of thinking about a practice that involves two or more versions in different languages as if it involved only one. The OED’s definition of translation quoted above attests to the continued pervasiveness of this difficulty. The product of translation, we are told, is “a version [a single version] in a different language.”