The first translation of an academic article (Philosophical Transactions, 6 march, 1665)


  • David Banks Université de Bretagne Occidentale



Journal des Sçavans, Philosophical Transactions, process type, seventeenth century, thematic structure, translation


The first two academic periodicals were the Journal des Sçavans and the Philosophical Transactions which appeared within two months of each other in early 1665. At that time France was totally stable and centralized, while England was just emerging from a half-century of chaos. The first issue of the Philosophical Transactions included an item translated from the Journal des Sçavans. Study of these two texts shows that the English translator (Oldenburg) attempted to tidy up the French text. Analysis of the thematic structure, in comparison with a larger sample for the year 1665, shows that Oldenburg aligns his translation with his source text. Analysis of the process types shows that the percentages of process types are similar for the two texts, with the exception of verbal process. This seems to indicate a desire on the part of Oldenburg the attribute the discourse to someone else. These two texts are of particular importance as the first example of the translation of an academic article.


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Author Biography

David Banks, Université de Bretagne Occidentale

Emeritus Professor


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