Friday, 31 January 2014

Translationstudiesforfree: Ten historical texts about translation

More free goodies for translation studies researchers. This time, it's interesting texts from the history of translation theory. Some of these are downloadable as pdf files, others readable online. (I haven't quite worked out the Google Library setup yet, but it should work OK.)
  1. Etienne Dolet's La manière de bien traduire d'une langue en aultre (1540)
  2. Earl of Roscommon, An Essay on Translated Verse (1684
  3. Charles Batteux's Principles of Translation (1760)
  4. Alexander Fraser Tytler's Essay on the Principles of Translation (1797)
  5. Francis Newman, Homeric Translation in Theory and Practice (1861)
  6. Matthew Arnold's On Translating Homer: Three Lectures Given at Oxford (1860). The links are to Google Library; versions of Arnold's and Newman's texts can also be downloaded here
  7. Thomas Norton's preface to his translation of Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion.
  8. A 1905 edition of Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, one of the best known translations in English literature
  9. Castelvetro's Lettera di Lodovico Castelvetro scritta a m. Guasparro Calori a Roma del traslatare at the Galileo digital library (not the most intuitive layout ever)
  10. Jean le Rond d’Alembert's Observations sur l'art de traduire (1763). This is part of Julie Candler Hayes' impressive text bank entitled 'French Translators: 1600-1800: An Online Anthology of Prefaces and Criticism' which includes works by Guillaume de Colletet, Nicolas Perrot d'Ablancourt, Anne Dacier, the Abbé Desfontaines and many others. 
Flora Ross Amos's 1920 book Early Theories of Translation is available to download from

Readers working on translation history may also be interested in the Renaissance Cultural Crossroads Catalogue (a searchable, analytical and annotated list of all translations out of and into all languages printed in England, Scotland, and Ireland before 1641; also includes all translations out of all languages into English printed abroad before 1641.)  


Julie McDonough Dolmaya said...

Thanks so much for the Translationstudiesforfree series. I will definitely be sharing these with my students!
There are quite a few historical texts available for free via Google Books, including William Tyndale's An Answer to Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue. (1531/1850). Free Google Book

sunny south coast said...

Thanks so much for this suggestion, Julie! I'm glad you find the series useful. :)