Claudia Wassmann : « Forgotten Origins, Occluded Meanings: Translation of Emotion Terms »

Article de Claudia Wassmann, IMéRA/EURIAS Fellow 2015-2016 ; Institute for Culture and Society, University of Navarra, Spain.

Emotion Review, Vol. 9, No. 2 (April 2017) 163–171 © The Author(s) 2016 ISSN 1754-0739 DOI: 10.1177/1754073916632879

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The interdisciplinary field of emotion studies disregarded historical perspectives on translation and left out a substantial body of scientific research on feelings and emotions that was not published in English. Yet these texts were foundational in forging the scientific concept of emotion in experimental psychology in the 19th century. The current approach to emotion science overlooks that translation issues occurred between three languages, German, French, and English, as physiological psychologists at the time were reading each other in these languages all the while writing about the same topics in their respective language. Historical perspectives are important to clarify the ambiguities of emotion terms and include non-Anglophone frameworks into current transdisciplinary debates.

The interdisciplinary field of emotion studies ignores the historical perspective on translation problems. In today’s scientific publications, which are predominantly written in English, the term “emotion” is used as if it were synonymous in all languages, times, and contexts. Although the semantic fields of emotion terms are not identical in English, French, and German, these three languages informed the study of emotion in 19th-century psychology, at the time when the scientific concept of emotion was formed. Furthermore, the French émotion and the English emotion have become homonyms, sentiment and sentiment are not used in the same way, and Affekt also poses a problem. Translation problems have masked the epistemological problems that German and French psychologists in the 19th century were studying when they addressed the question of “emotion” for contemporary Anglophone psychologists and historians of emotion. Problems of translation occur on many levels. Here I am particularly concerned with two aspects, one is the historical authors’ reading of each other and writing about the same topic in a different language (applying their respective backgrounds to their readings); and, the second is contemporary scientists and historians’ reading of historical and contemporary texts on emotion, applying the current connotation of emotion. Continuer la lecture de « Claudia Wassmann : « Forgotten Origins, Occluded Meanings: Translation of Emotion Terms » »