Particle 6

Translation Factories

{Chapter 5}

One of the things that gradually got lost in this chapter was an emphasis on the way translation captured a larger sense of the industrialization of writing around 1800. As a writing practice with a mixed sense of originality and ownership, it stood for the growing depersonalization of writing, something that needs to be kept in mind as a counterpart to the rise of a “copyright aesthetics” during the romantic period that argued for the strong ownership of intellectual property. While one can find a number of references to the idea of the Übersetzungsfabrik, there were also references to the more general writers factory too.
As the editors of a popular early-nineteenth-century almanac observed, “From the hands of the theologists and philologists our educational system has been passed to the hands of the imaginists and philosophers, and from there into the hands of the speculative script and book manufacturers [Aus den Händen der Theologen und Philologen ist unser Erziehungswesen in die Hände von Imaginanten und Philosophen, und von dort in die Hände speculativer Schrift- und Bücherfabrikanten übergegangen].” Taschenbuch für Freunde des Scherzes und der Satire, Hg. J.D. Falks (Weimar: Industrie=Comptoire, 1802) vi.