Translation With No Common Measure

Renken, Arno (2021). Translation With No Common Measure Specimen. The Babel Review of Translations

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I am used to writing texts, but nothing prepared me for writing an original. In 2012, François Félix was putting together a publication for the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences of China on “the field of aesthetics in Switzerland today and contemporary Swiss research into aesthetics.” He invited me to write an article on the aesthetics of translation, an article publish in Chinese in a volume titled 瑞士当代美学和诗学研究. The first publication of this text was therefore its translation; it was only later that it appeared in its original French (François Félix [éd.], Xi Dong – Voies esthétiques, L’Âge d’homme, Lausanne, 2015). It was this non-coincidence between the language of my writing and the language of the publication that, for me, initiated the singular experience of writing an original: not one of the words I was writing would be read by the person I was addressing; by the same token, the text that they would be reading would for me remain unreadable. Writing words to be translated that would not be read, making sense of translated signs that one did not write. This strangeness is nothing more than the ordinary event that translation makes happen. I think of it as its most beautiful miracle: that by releasing something between languages, taking something away from both you and me, in a place between there and here, there can be an encounter. Now, thanks to Kate Briggs, the text has found a new writing and a new language; it has been returned to its initial mystery. Once again, its words have been detached from their inscription; they are floating now, incomparably. Listen there, look: other fish are keeping silent, other worms are making their homes in other apples, other voyagers are registering the depths of other nights and, between us, are singing again.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


Bern Academy of the Arts
Bern Academy of the Arts > Institute Practices and Theories in the Arts
Bern Academy of the Arts > Institute Practices and Theories in the Arts > Art as Research: artistic creation and epistemologies


Renken, Arno and
Briggs, Kate


B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
P Language and Literature > PC Romance languages
P Language and Literature > PD Germanic languages
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
P Language and Literature > PQ Romance literatures
P Language and Literature > PS American literature




Arno Renken

Date Deposited:

31 Jan 2022 14:23

Last Modified:

11 Mar 2024 15:03




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