Scientific article
Open access

Jean Senebier et le pouvoir du traducteur

ContributorsRatcliff, Marc
Published inArchives des sciences, vol. 63, p. 103-112
Publication date2010

This paper discusses the question of the scientific translator in the eighteenth century through the example of Senebier. First, we will examine the function that the translator assumed in the second half of the Enlightenment, particularly in the face of the changes in European linguistic geography. At that time, vernacular languages were on the rise, while Linnaean Latin and French were competing as the best language for managing scientific communication. In fact, translation was one of several strategies that compensated for the Babelization of scientific communication. In Senebier's work, we will analyze some of the skills and functions that can be brought back to the categories of interpretation of the history of science. The minor place occupied by the translator revealed a paradoxical situation at a time when the experimental reproduction of knowledge was essential to the making of science in Europe. In fact, scientific translation appears as a virtual experimental reproduction achieved in a text. At a time when the Republic of Letters was leaking, when many new disciplines were inventing a myriad of technical terms, the invisible power of the scientific translator helped to hold together the dispersed system of knowledge.

  • Linguistic geography
  • Babelization of scientific communication
  • Lazzaro Spallanzani
  • Jean Senebier
  • Eighteenth century
  • History of scientific translation
Citation (ISO format)
RATCLIFF, Marc. Jean Senebier et le pouvoir du traducteur. In: Archives des sciences, 2010, vol. 63, p. 103–112.
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Article (Published version)
  • PID : unige:175304
ISSN of the journal1661-464X

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