Abstract

The paper originates from the following question: can the design activity, intended as an inventive and project-making activity, also be viewed as a form of translation? To answer such a question we are compelled to overcome a paradox, because design does not involve a transfer from a source text from which it translates. Design generally acts like a translator and interpreter of social needs that previously existed as unstructured, non-textual, open-ended entities, thus exposed to uncertainty and incoherence and striving through design to acquire a proper structure, i.e., a textual form. From the extensive literature on the subject in semiotics and linguistics, here we will select and outline only the fundamental semiotic models that could help us overcome the paradox, at least from a theoretical viewpoint, and provide a plausible answer to our opening question.

Keywords:

semiotics, interpretation, design, translation studies

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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Jun 17th, 12:00 AM

Design as translation activity: a semiotic overview

The paper originates from the following question: can the design activity, intended as an inventive and project-making activity, also be viewed as a form of translation? To answer such a question we are compelled to overcome a paradox, because design does not involve a transfer from a source text from which it translates. Design generally acts like a translator and interpreter of social needs that previously existed as unstructured, non-textual, open-ended entities, thus exposed to uncertainty and incoherence and striving through design to acquire a proper structure, i.e., a textual form. From the extensive literature on the subject in semiotics and linguistics, here we will select and outline only the fundamental semiotic models that could help us overcome the paradox, at least from a theoretical viewpoint, and provide a plausible answer to our opening question.

 

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