Translation of Political Concepts in 18th-Century Russia: Strategies and Practices
Why do political historians think it necessary to study translated literature? Studying the translation of political texts from one language to another helps us to understand how ideas move from one culture to another, how translators interpret and adapt the thoughts of authors and how they bring them to their contemporaries.
In eighteenth-century Russia, a lot of new social and political phenomena required naming and understanding. New concepts invaded the life of Russian society, changing the meaning of words and displacing old meanings. Translations of European writings played a key role in the development and formation of a new political language in Russia, which made it possible to include new, previously unfamiliar concepts in the political lexicon of educated Russians. It is significant that most of the borrowings of political vocabulary that were assimilated were originally elaborated by translators in manuscript and printed translations. The authors of the original Russian writings are often using terms and neologisms that had been created by translators.