Representante-representativo, représentant-représentation, ideational representative: Which one is a Freudian concept? On the translation of Vorstellungsrepräsentanz in Spanish, French and English

Cómo citar este artículo Herrera, M. (2010). Representante-representativo, représentant-rerésentation, ideational representative: Which one is a Freudian concept? On the translation of Vorstellungsrepräsentantz in Spanish, French and English. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis. 91 (4): 785-809.
The Freudian expression Vorstellungsrepräsentanz (Freud, 1915b, 1915c), which is rendered in the Standard Edition as ideational representative, is commonly translated in Spanish as representante-representativo and in French as représentant-représentation, among other renderings. An interdisciplinary conceptual inquiry, which applies linguistic semantics to the evaluation of the available Spanish and French renderings, concludes that this compound expression should be translated in these languages as representante ideativo and représentant idéatif, respectively, renderings which happen to correspond to Strachey’s translation into English in the SE. In contrast to most Spanish and French translations, this proposal conforms to the semantic principle of compositionality. On the one hand, it provides a suitable translation of the two parts of the compound. Thus it renders Vorstellung as idea, with the classical meaning of image or mental representation, which can be traced back to Hume’s empiricist philosophy, and it renders Repräsentanz as representative, with the meaning of delegate. On the other hand, its linguistic form preserves the attributive meaning relationship which exists between both concepts in the original German expression. Against the background of these semantic considerations, a theoretical question concerning Freudian metapsychology is discussed: the drive has a psychic representative, but is there a (mental) representation of the drive?

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