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Harry Lönnroth and Nestori Siponkoski


This chapter focuses on the multifaceted relationship between philology and translation studies. The aim is twofold: first, to address questions of theoretical relevance, and second, to illustrate the considerable overlap between these fields of research. By philology we mean, in line with Sheldon Pollock’s definition, “the discipline of making sense of texts.” Thus we focus on the relationship between philology, which we understand in its broad cultural-historical sense, and translation studies, which we define as a similarly broad field of research. In this chapter, philology and linguistics are not considered synonymous. Our starting point is that, as recently argued by James Turner, philology represents the forgotten origins of the modern humanities. From this point of view, these fields can be seen to have common roots and thus belong to the same scholarly tradition. However, discussion on the relationship between philology and translation studies has been rather scarce, partly due to the missing dialogue between philologists and translation scholars. This becomes apparent in our literature review. In addition, our discussion is supported by two cases which not only shed light on the importance of philological awareness within translation studies, but also shows the relevance of translation studies for philological work in general. Our conclusions demonstrate that philology does matter, not only when working with historical texts and languages but also with modern ones.