Saturday, May 07, 2016
Joan Stambaugh on translating Sein und Zeit.
The first English translation of Sein und Zeit was published in 1962 and it was made by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson. They worked about 10 years on this translation, which was a pioneer monumental accomplishment. Thus, the translators had no existing foundation of translation to help them. This was the first English translation from Heidegger available, except for one volume entitled Existence and Being containing a paraphrase of Sein und Zeit and a translation of four essays. I started working on my own translation of Sein und Zeit in 1976. It is maybe worth to mention that for ten years (1966–1976 – the year that Heidegger died) I went to Freiburg im Breisgau to consult with Heidegger for one or two afternoons. Also, it is important to say that when I started to work to my own translation, I had many excellent translations available to me. It took me three summers and one sabbatical to finish the translation. Then Harper and Row sat on the translation for eighteen years, refusing to honor the contract. I had no rights to the English translation and thus could do nothing. Then Harsch-Niemeyer contacted me with a contract signed by Heidegger and Harper and Row, stating that my translation should come out as soon as it was finished. He gave Harper and Row one year to honor their contract. They did nothing, so he took away the translation and it went to SUNY Press, where my translation was published in 1996.
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