Abstract

Nietzsche reflects on translation at two key points in his published works, GS 83 and BGE 28, and these passages have been frequently anthologized in translation studies readers. He was not otherwise much exercised by questions of translation, though, and when he uses the German word for translation (Übersetzung), the majority of instances are figurative. As an academic classicist Nietzsche himself translated between German, Greek, and Latin, but his command of modern foreign languages was relatively unimpressive, and he viewed language learning as a necessary evil, looking forward to the time when a new lingua franca would obviate the need for language learning or translation at all. Nonetheless Nietzsche was very keen to secure translators for his own works: early French translations in his mentally active lifetime were followed by a flurry of further translations from the 1890s, when English translations also began to appear. After the Second World War Walter Kaufmann and R. J. Hollingdale's English versions achieved preeminence, but by now the range of English translations is very diverse. The stylistic challenges facing the prospective translator of Nietzsche filled Peter Newmark with apprehension, but the present author adopts a more pragmatic position and concludes by speculating that the translator might represent the best approximation to Nietzsche's ideal reader.

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