History and Theory 22 (3):253-263 (1983)

Willem A. DeVries
University of New Hampshire, Durham
The translationist theory of meaning can provide a plausible understanding of the reenactment methodology of history, although there are disanalogies. It takes as primitive our ability to recognize synonymy relations between linguistic episodes, either within the same language or other languages. In translating a complex linguistic object translators must possess an incredibly large stock of background knowledge about a culture and be sensitive and resourceful speakers of the language into which they are translating. Since there is no codified set of rules which guarantees a good translation, translators need to use creativity. Similarly, in deciding which of the possible meanings to assign to an event or document, historians can follow little better advice than to insert themselves imaginatively into the situation and let their ability to understand their contemporary events and other historical events come to bear upon the events of the past
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DOI 10.2307/2504983
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