Reformist 19th-century pedagogy in translation: De la educación intelectual, moral y física (1880) by Francisco de Asís Pacheco from Herbert Spencer’s Education: intellectual, moral, and physical (1861) (1)
Juan Ramírez-Arlandi

Department of English, French, and German Studies
Universidad de Málaga

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Recibido: 11 agosto 2018
Aceptado: 20 octubre 2018

1. Introduction

The second half of 19th-century England witnessed the propagation and dissemination of a new pedagogy which encouraged lively theoretical and practical debate on thorny and complex educational topics — related questions such as school organization, learning styles, curricula, syllabi or teaching methods, among others. The well-known English sociologist and polemist Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) was one of the key figures whose contribution caused considerable controversy over education as well as other social issues of the time. Throughout the body of his work, education ranks as a central area of interest. That said, this article has a double purpose in tackling the descriptive study of the Spanish translation De la educación intelectual, moral y física (1880) by an anonymous “R. F. S.” nineteen years after Spencer’s original publication of Education: Intellectual, Moral, and Physical (1861). We intend to provide, firstly, an account of the agents (translators, publishers, etc.) and contexts in which both works were published respectively (Lépinette 1997); and, secondly, a mainly descriptive norm-oriented analysis (Toury 1995).

In regard to methodology and on the grounds of its consideration as a “case study” (Flyvbjerg 2011), we have adopted a twofold approach for our research purposes. On the one hand, and within Lépinette’s methodological models of analysis on the history of translation, we have combined the socio-cultural and the descriptive-contrastive approaches. According to Lépinette (1997, 4), the former focuses on the realization of the translation and its reception in the target culture so as to determine the consequences that translation has on the history of the target culture. In turn, the latter focuses on the different translational choices made by translators on the target text, because such decisions turn out to be fundamental not only to carry out the different levels of translational analysis, but also to identify the corresponding units which can be selected (Lépinette 1997, 5). On the other hand, and regarding the descriptive nature of norm-oriented studies, this work pays specific attention to the concept of norm inasmuch as “one can therefore distinguish regularity of behaviour in recurrent situations of the same type, which would render regularities a main source for any study of norms as well” (Toury 1995, 55). In this light, the different types of norms (initial, preliminary and operational) become the main objects of study for the sections below in which paratexts, translation policies, segmentation and textual analysis come under close scrutiny.

1.1 The source text in context

Education: Intellectual, Moral, and Physical (henceforth Education) by Herbert Spencer (1820—1903) was first published as a full independent work in 1860 in the USA by D. Appleton and one year later in Great Britain by the London publisher Williams and Norgate (Letter no. 3519). Soon after it was founded in 1843 by Frederic Norgate (1808—1908) and Edmund Sydney Williams (1817—1891), this publisher gained a worldwide reputation for excellence among academic circles for the rigour and high standard of the mostly scientific works it published during the second half of the 19th century. Even though it was not initially conceived as a unitary work, Education grouped together four articles which had already been published separately in different British periodicals between 1854 and 1859: the first chapter, “What knowledge is of most worth?” (henceforth What knowledge), was published in July 1859 in Westminster Review; the second, “Intellectual education” (henceforth Intellectual), was originally included in North British Review in May 1854 entitled “The Art of Education”; and, finally, “Moral education” (henceforth Moral) and “Physical education” (henceforth Physical) had appeared as “Moral Discipline for Children” and “Physical Education” both in the British Quarterly Review in April 1858 and April 1859, respectively. As to the present work, we have used the free electronic version of Education available at The Online Library of Liberty, a subsection of Liberty Fund, Inc., a private American foundation founded in 1960 which aims to promote educational initiatives focusing on the analysis of an ideal society of free and responsible humans. This edition reproduces the monograph entitled Essays on Education and Kindred Subjects with an introduction by Charles W. Eliot. Succinctly, Spencer set out to question and deride three traditional views widely held on educational matters: (i) the idea that education must be genuinely authoritative regardless of students’ needs and motivations; (ii) the intrinsically misguided conviction that to teach means to prescribe children what they should learn; and (iii) the sacred notion that the only valid educational method was to be performed by the teacher (Eliot 1911, viii). Thus, according to Eliot (1911, viii), Spencer’s ideas — mostly based on thoughts about education previously held by Comenius, Montaigne, Locke, Milton, Rousseau and Pestalozzi, among others — are irrefutable on the grounds of the considerable and tangible benefits they have contributed to humanity. Without seeking to be exhaustive, we can affirm that Spencer transferred his psychological theory to the educational domain:

[...] education must conform to the natural process of mental evolution — that there is a certain sequence in which the faculties spontaneously develop, and a certain kind of knowledge which each requires during its development; and that it is for us to ascertain this sequence, and supply this knowledge.

1.2 The translated text in context

In 1880, barely nineteen years after its original publication in England in 1861, a printing house in Madrid owned by Manuel G. Hernández published a Spanish translation De la educación intelectual, moral y física of Herbert Spencer’s Education: Intellectual, Moral, and Physical. The title page of this second Spanish edition reads that it had been “traducida directamente del inglés con autorización del autor por R. F. S.” with a foreword by Francisco de Asís Pacheco. This same translation was later reprinted in the same series in 1911.

Francisco de Asís Pacheco-Montoro (Lucena 1852—Madrid 1897) pursued a multifaceted academic and professional career as a prestigious jurist, politician and journalist. As an administrative jurist he fulfilled different responsibilities and was appointed director of the Registry Office and the Notaries Society. In addition, he contributed regularly to scientific journals such as the Revista de Legislación y Jurisprudencia and the Revista de Tribunales. Pacheco also published several research articles and books about the law. These include El sufragio universal (1881), Comentarios á la ley de Enjuiciamiento civil de 1881 (1887), and his acclaimed La ley del Jurado comentada (1888). As a politician, he won seats in three districts: Alicante (1884), Valencia (1886) and Castellón de la Plana (1891) (García Montoro 2005, 248), and in time he moved away from republican ideology to more conservative views supporting the monarchy. Pacheco also pursued an illustrious career as a journalist: he became editor-in-chief at La Voz del Pueblo in Córdoba, La Concordia in A Coruña, and the Nueva España and the Revista Contemporánea both in Madrid; he was a regular contributor to El Imparcial, La América, El Orden, and El Liberal; and he was a columnist for La Ilustración Española, El Día, Revista de España and the above mentioned Revista de Tribunales. Apart from numerous newspaper articles on political issues, research papers and literary articles, Pacheco also published research monographs such as ¿Qué es la coalición? (1872) and La misión de la mujer en la sociedad y en la familia (1881).

According to Luis Robles-Teigeiro,(2) Pacheco married Obdulia Robles-Nisarre, whose father, José Robles-Postigo, had studied with Antonio Cánovas-del-Castillo, the leading figure of the Conservative Party who also served as Spain’s prime minister on more than one occasion during the last quarter of the 19th century. In fact, Cánovas might be the person who introduced Pacheco to his wife-to-be Obdulia because we know that Francisco’s uncle, the distinguished jurist Joaquín Francisco Pacheco, had mentored Cánovas. Obdulia’s family originally lived in Macharaviaya and Vélez-Málaga, two economically prosperous, rural municipalities in the eastern area of the province of Málaga, which undoubtedly enhanced Pacheco’s interest in agricultural issues and, likewise, accounts for the numerous visits both Pacheco and Obdulia made to the area from Madrid. Pacheco’s interest in agronomy was also stimulated by his close relationship with José, Obdulia’s brother, an agricultural scientist who also pursued a wide range of professional and intellectual endeavours as a public servant.

2. From paratexts to the initial norm(s)

Assuming, on the one hand, that translation is a norm-governed activity in which at least two languages and their respective cultural traditions come into contact (Toury 1995, 56), we might infer that both the source language and culture are conditioned by a (source) pole inescapably creating tension with the other pole (target), which in parallel is subject to the target language and culture. Such inevitable tension, Toury (1995, 56-7) explains, accounts for an earlier stage where “adherence to source norms determines a translation’s adequacy as compared to the source text (henceforth ST), subscription to norms originating in the target culture determines its acceptability”. On the other hand, and since they provide a (variable) setting for the text itself (Genette 1989, 11-2), the study of paratexts has proved itself a useful tool not just for considering translation issues from a purely descriptive standpoint, but also for determining the initial norm and justifying the interest in the original text, defining its position in the universal literary canon text (Tonin 2016).

The translation this article focuses on was introduced by an extensive (thirty-six pages) foreword by Francisco de Asís Pacheco dated February 1880; a preface addressed to “AL LECTOR” dated September 1879 by the translator in Málaga; as well as ten and four footnotes by the author and the translator, respectively. In the first section of his foreword, Pacheco (v-x) contends that the effective implementation of a modern educational system according to Spencer’s principles would be the greatest achievement of the 19th century. In the second section Pacheco (xi-xxvi) lists three basic pillars underlying modern educational systems: the extension of education to the whole population, regardless of social classes; the growing development of secular education to the detriment of the religious; and, the distinctive scientific nature of contemporary education systems in which traditional disciplines inherited from the ancient regime would be substituted by new courses on experimental sciences, geography, history, modern languages and sociology, among others. Finally, in the third section Pacheco (xxvi-xxvi) examines these issues in the Spanish context and concludes that Spencer’s significant contribution to pedagogy is to be found in the division of education into three spheres: the intellectual, moral and physical.

Before closing the foreword, Pacheco (xxxv) asserts that Education can be acknowledged to be the genuinely paradigmatic text of modern pedagogy, written by Spencer, a man considered to be one of the deepest spirits and brilliant minds of the time. Accordingly, Pacheco concludes by claiming that Education has become an absolute must on the grounds of the wide circulation that the ST attained both in scientific journals and in two already published “direct translations”, namely, Siro García-del-Mazo’s first translation published in 1879 (Ramírez-Arlandi, 2007; 2011) and his own. Here Pacheco comments extensively on the translation by an unknown R. F. S. and questions the practice of publishing anonymously because doing so prevents readers from identifying an author whose generous and sincere eagerness, noble purpose and great determination have contributed significantly to the advancement and progress of Spanish culture. By praising the translator’s literary skilfulness, Pacheco (xxxv-xxxvi) promotes the translated text (henceforth TT) and states that it has been rendered thoroughly with great adequacy and mastery from the ST. In this context, adequacy to the source pole is ranked as the major factor that would lend a sense of quality to the translation, being thus ratified by Spencer’s purported, but unconfirmed, authorization to translate Education. As such, Pacheco hopes that this translation will become the Spanish version of reference, which will receive as unanimously a warm reception as the original enjoyed across Europe.

Prior to analysing other paratextual elements found in this version, we can infer that the acronym R. F. S. is the nom de plume under which Francisco de Asís Pacheco (henceforth RFS) concealed his authorship. There are several facts which lead us to this conclusion. The use of initials, pseudonyms or simply three asterisks instead of the actual name was, Luque-Vázquez explains (2011, 150), a relatively common practice among translators during the 19th century. Similarly, Crespo (2007, 66) lists five possible explanations for the frequency of anonymous translations: (i) economic motivations which led editors to pay anonymous translators less than they eventually would to renowned translators; (ii) dishonour associated with the translation activity; (iii) (self)censorship; (iv) the translator’s true sense of shame or a sense of societal embarrassment because translation as a secondary source of income ranked below authorship; and, (v) the current fashion at that time. Additionally, and as we pointed out when we stated that Narciso Sevillano was the pen name used by Siro García-del-Mazo (Ramírez-Arlandi 2007, 306—8), it was not very common at the turn of the 19th century that translators only translated a single work. On the contrary, the prevailing trend was that translators pursued prolific careers from several languages with different ideological, literary, aesthetic or simply economic “pro pane lucrando” motivations (Santoyo 2010, 122). In fact, Pacheco had already signed his two-volume translation La Grecia Moderna: Extracto de la Nueva Geografía Universal (1878-1879) from the original Nouvelle Géographie universelle by the well-known anarchist geographer Elisée Reclus. In addition, and although it might be considered a coincidence, García Montoro (2005, 247) reports that Pacheco had travelled around the province of Málaga in January 1879 in order to gather information for prospective articles and contributions which were later to be published in El Imparcial during the same year he signed his preface “AL LECTOR” also in Málaga.

In regard to Spencer’s footnotes, the ten original ones included in the ST are reproduced faithfully in the TT with just one variation in an intertextual note (Peña & Hernández-Guerrero 1994, 38). This change significantly affects the content of the note, and we are inclined to believe that it can be explained as a lapse or mistake on the part of the translator because the bibliographic reference is to another, previously listed monograph:

This is true even of animals. “When calves are fed with skimmed milk, or whey, or other poor food, they are liable to indigestion.” (1)

(1) Morton’s Cyclopædia of Agriculture.

RFS (207—8)
La nutricion insuficiente es ya por sí una causa de dispepsia, y esto es cierto tambien respecto de los animales. “Cuando se crian becerros con leche desnatada, ó suero, ó cualquier otro alimento pobre, se hallan muy expuestos á indigestiones.” (1)

(1) Enciclopedia de Medicina práctica.

3. From translation policies to (in)direct translations

In the analysis of descriptive frameworks, preliminary norms deal with the existence and specific nature of translation policies as well as with the consideration of the directness of translation. Whereas the former analyses the choice of the ST(s) as well as the typology of the text to be translated, the latter investigates the tolerance of mediating languages (Toury 1995, 58). Therefore, an appropriate contextualization of the texts under scrutiny becomes compulsory since, although translations do not always share the same systemic space with their originals, it is very common that target cultures resort to translation to fill a perceived gap or deficiency (Toury 1995, 26—7;29).

Pacheco’s long foreword is followed by a translator’s preface entitled “AL LECTOR” which, albeit shorter, provides relevant information for both readers and researchers regarding the above-mentioned translation policies and the necessary contextualization (Mata-Pastor 2006, 215). Thus, in this preface the translator reveals the translative method adopted for rendering this version, and whether the preliminary decisions made meet and conform, or not, to the initial aims. The first of these decisions is by no means a trivial issue and deals with the English-Spanish directionality of the translation, bearing in mind that indirect or mediated translations via French was a rather common practice among translators in Spain throughout the 19th century. Alongside this, the translator highlights the scientific interest of Education even though this pedagogical treatise was not currently included among Spencer’s most widely acclaimed works such as First Principles, Descriptive Sociology or Principles of Biology. Thus, the importance of Education is bound to a great extent to the warm reception and widespread dissemination the work enjoyed in both Great Britain and the United States in the preceding years, which was closely related not only to the numerous affordable editions published but also to the inescapable fact that Education had been translated into French, Italian, German, Hungarian, Dutch, and the up-to-1992 used “dinamarqués” equivalent to Danish (RFS, xxxvii), among others.

Apart from the versions in different languages, the translator points to prominent intellectuals’ opinions about the ST to justify the opportunity for a Spanish translation. For example, J. Stuart Mill asserted that Spencer’s genius could only be compared to the French positivist intellectual August Comte; and the philosopher and British literary critic George Lewes asserted that Spencer was probably the greatest social thinker in the history of Great Britain. Notwithstanding these endorsements of Spencer’s intellectual genius, a strong claim is made for the translator’s invisibility and impartiality since, according to RFS, humble translators are not expected to make critical appraisals either on the merits of the works or the author’s method (xxxviii). However, such restrictions are not applicable to comments or considerations on formal aspects. Regarding this, the translator (RFS, xxxviii) points out that the main difficulty when translating from a Germanic (“teutónica”) language does not lie in syntax but in the challenge posed by the need to finely adjust both the genius and the nature/type (“el espíritu y el carácter de la otra”) because, as one author (3) quotes, the language is the people (“la lengua es el pueblo”). The inherent difficulty of rendering a translation of Education arises from its intrinsic typology since, even though literary translation might permit some licences, scientific texts demand a deliberate adequacy to the original for the sake of adherence to the norms of the original text. Such adhesion to the source pole becomes the established or accepted norm of this version knowing fully well that, by doing so, more pronounced foreignization would be interwoven with the meticulous and exhaustive style that usually characterizes this typology of scientific texts. For RFS (xxxviii-xxxix) the adoption of this foreignizing tone becomes a sort of translational manifest or norm since — even at the risk of losing potential future readers — this version aims to significantly contribute to both the intellectual and moral regeneration of the contemporary Spanish milieu through the spread and dissemination of Spencer’s educational ideas.

4. From the operational decisions to the textual analysis

Operational norms, which encompass both matricial and textual-linguistic ones, represent a powerful methodological tool for carrying out descriptive norm-oriented studies because they affect decisions taken when translating. According to Toury (1995, 58-9), the importance of these operational norms lies in the fact that they point out the relationships, i.e., the similarities and discrepancies between the source and the target texts and, consequently, highlight which sections have remained invariant in the translation. Regarding the methodology adopted for this section, matricial norms cover those decisions related to (i) the “degree of fullness of translation” or whether the target text shows either relevant or significant omissions or additions; (ii) the “textual segmentation” affecting the different models of chapter and paragraph segmentation; and, (iii) the “distribution” or location of the translated material in the target text. In regard to textual-linguistic norms, they govern the choice of the wording of the textual material used to reproduce the target text.

As far as matricial norms are concerned, this edition exhibits some traits worthy of mention. Even though Education’s original chapter divisions are identically reproduced, the list of contents is enlarged with the addition of an enumeration of subsections aimed to summarise each of the four major sections in the ST (RFS, 245-6). By way of illustration, the following example shows that such meticulous subdivisions at the beginning of chapter IV are observable neither in the very ST “per se nor in the subsequent pagination in the list of contents:

Extraño menosprecio de la educación física.—El desideratum.—El apetito es un guía seguro.—Consecuencias del ascetismo.—El régimen alimenticio debe ser nutritivo.—Efectos de la alimentación fuerte.—La alimentacion de los niños debe ser variada.—La teoria del endurecimiento.—El abrigo es esencial.—Insensata manera de vestir los niños.—Las niñas no hacen el debido ejercicio corporal.—Los juegos convienen más que la gimnasia.—Daños causados por la aplicacion excesiva.—Ejemplos de estos daños.vLo que cuesta el refinamiento intelectual.—Reaccion del cerebro sobre el cuerpo.—Error del sistema de sobrecargar la inteligencia.—Atractivos femeninos.—La conservacion de la salud es un deber

The analysis of paragraph segmentation also reveals that this edition includes a significant number of changes from the ST. In this area, and before segmentation norms or patterns are made explicit, we distinguish two different types of translator intervention: (i) fragments in which several paragraphs from Education have been merged into a single one in RFS; and, conversely, (ii) the translator’s decision to divide an original single paragraph in Education into multiple paragraphs. As to (i), we find twenty-eight (28) passages in which several paragraphs from Education have been grouped into one single unit in RFS’ translation. Such interventions occur occasionally throughout the TT: seventeen (17), two (2), two (2) and seven (7) for chapters one, two, three and four, respectively:

“The spelling book ought, therefore, to contain all the sounds of the language, and these ought to be taught in every family from the earliest infancy. The child who learns his spelling book ought to repeat them to the infant in the cradle, before it is able to pronounce even one of them, so that they may be deeply impressed upon its mind by frequent repetition.”

Joining this with the suggestions for “a nursery method,” set down in his Mother’s Manual, in which he makes the names, positions, connections, numbers, properties, and uses of the limbs and body his first lessons [...]

RFS (104)
“La cartilla debería contener todos los sonidos del idioma y éstos deberían enseñarse en las familias desde la más tierna infancia. El niño que aprende á leer su cartilla debería repetir los sonidos ante el otro que está en la cuna, aun antes de que pueda pronunciarlos, á fin de que á fuerza de oirlos, se graben profundamente en su inteligencia. Si agregamos á esto las indicaciones que respecto de la educación de la infancia hace en su “Manual para las madres” donde quiere que las primeras lecciones tengan por objeto los nombres, posición, relaciones, número, propiedades y uso del cuerpo y de sus miembros [...]”

Regarding (ii), there are seventy-three (73) instances in Education where the translator intervenes to establish new paragraphs. Chapters one, two, three and four include twenty-five (25), twenty-eight (28), twelve (12) and eight (8) alterations of this kind, respectively:

Further hindrance and discouragement has arisen from confounding the Pestalozzian principle with the forms in which it has been embodied. Because particular plans have not answered expectation [...]. Judging as usual by the concrete rather than the abstract, men have blamed the theory for the bunglings of the practice. It is as though the first futile attempt to construct a steam-engine had been held to prove that steam could not be used as a motive power. [...] While, therefore, we would defend in its entire extent the general doctrine which Pestalozzi inaugurated, we think great evil likely to result from an uncritical reception of his specific methods.

RFS (90—3)
Ha contribuido á acrecentar esta dificultad y desaliento, el haber confundido los principios de Pestalozzi con las formas en que encarnan.

Porque determinados planes no han correspondido á las esperanzas que en ellos se fundaron [...]. Juzgando como de costumbre, más bien bajo el punto de vista concreto que bajo el abstracto, háse condenado la teoría porque ha estado mal aplicada.

Esto es como si frustrada la primera tentativa para construir una máquina de vapor, se considerase esto una prueba de que el vapor, no servia como fuerza motriz. [...] Así, pues, al defender en general y en toda su extensión las doctrinas que inauguró Pestalozzi, opinamos que aceptar sin previo examen sus métodos específicos, puede acarrear serios males.

Surprisingly, both variants of segmentation intervention on occasion appear concurrently, i.e., some extracts in which RFS creates a new paragraph to which he later joins an originally independent one are witnessed:

Moral Education
“But what is to be done in cases of more serious misconduct?” some will ask. “How is this plan to be carried out when a petty theft has been committed? or when a lie has been told? or when some younger brother or sister has been ill-used?”

Before replying to these questions, let us consider the bearings of a few illustrative facts.

RFS (162)
¿Pero qué se deberá hacer—se nos preguntará— cuando se trate de faltas más graves?

¿Cómo hemos de seguir este método cuando se trate de un latrocinio, de una mentira, ó cuando un hermanito maltrate al otro? Antes de contestar á estas preguntas séanos permitido examinar la relación que tienen con los hechos que vamos á poner como ejemplos.

Regarding additions, the 1880 edition reproduces four additional footnotes by the translator. After analysing their content, we infer that they convey different information to the Spanish-speaking reader and, according to Peña & Hernández-Guerrero’s classification (1994, 36-8), we can distinguish a situational, an ethnographic, and two metalinguistic examples used by the translator to express his opinions on linguistic aspects:

RFS (25)
El papel del libro que leemos, ¿no está hecho é impreso á máquina? (1)

(1) El lector no dejará de comprender que éstas, como otras muchas de las apreciaciones contenidas en esta obra, se refieren principalmente á Inglaterra.—N. del T.

RFS (59)
El que viviendo á orillas del mar no se procura un microscopio ó un acuarium, desconoce los placeres más elevados de la estancia en una costa marítima (1).

(1) Estos pasatiempos, infiltrados ya en las costumbres de todos los pueblos del Norte, son, entre nosotros, ocupacion exclusiva de los sábios.—N. del T.

RFS (58)
¿Creeis que la roca cilíndrica y estriada de grietas paralelas evoque más poesía en la mente del ignorante, que en la del geólogo que sabe que hace un millon de años resbaló por su superficie un ventisquero? (1).

(1) Unica palabra con que en español se ha querido traducir la de glacier, traduccion, en nuestro juicio, absurda. ¿No indica el carecer de un equivalente verdadero de la palabra glaciar el atraso en que las ciencias se hallan en España?. —N. del T.

RFS (202—3)
Los australianos, bushmanos (1) y otros salvajes (...)

(1) Así llamado por habitar mayormente entre matorrales de Bush, mata, y men, hombre. —N. del T.

The analysis of this edition shows clearly that there are no omissions of the textual material found in Education. In light of this adequacy to the ST we might infer that in Spain in the last quarter of the 19th century, translations of this typology of scientific text predominantly reproduced the whole ST inasmuch as the translation was aimed at updating academics with the latest pedagogical developments. In this context and as far as the additions are concerned, the translator harmonizes, on the one hand, the adherence to the ST via the exact reproduction of the original footnotes with, on the other hand, the subscription of the norms of the target culture with the addition of four extra translator’s notes.

In regard to operational norms, the analysis of a translation’s verbal formulation is carried out by considering the textual-linguistic norms inasmuch as these determine “the selection of material to formulate the target text in, or replace the original textual and linguistic material with” (Toury 1995, 59). Accordingly, the analysis of textual-linguistic norms demands the prior choice of those extracts from both the source and the target texts since, as Toury (1995, 88) argues, the selection of such materials “should be relevant to the operation which would then be performed on them” as such selections involve “an attempt to gradually reconstruct both translation decisions and the constraints under which they were made”. For this purpose and on the grounds of the mainly qualitative nature of this case study, we have focused upon a set of discrete units. The analysis of these units (Gallicisms and Latinisms; cultural references and literary allusions; and units of measurement, weight and mass) will cover the lexical-semantic, pragmatic and referential content of the selected items from Education and their “equivalences” in RFS’ translation so as to determine not only whether the observed regularities conform to the initial norm(s) but also to demonstrate the translation technique applied (Molina & Hurtado-Albir, 2002). To do so, we will use the Oxford English Dictionary (henceforth OED) to clarify the original meaning of the extracts under scrutiny from Education and the 1869 edition of the Diccionario de la lengua castellana por la Real Academia Española (Nuevo tesoro lexicográfico de la lengua española) (henceforth Ntlle), a historical lexicographic work compiling Spanish vocabulary from the 15th to the 20th century, to determine the precise lexical content of the translated segments.

As to those genuine linguistic units whose translation might eventually raise problems we can include idioms or forms of expressions from both French and Latin, namely, Gallicisms and Latinisms, respectively. The fact that a particular ST may incorporate borrowings from foreign codes becomes in itself a relevant fact with far-reaching consequences on both the ST and, inevitably, the TT. Regarding the ST, the adoption of linguistic items from other languages can be explained in the light of two strong motivations, among others: firstly, the lack of an equivalent element in the target language which would consequently justify such lexical adoption; and, secondly, the deliberate use of the foreign element by the translator for other reasons. For example, French and Latin undeniably enjoyed greater prestige in academic and intellectual circles. Even more relevant to our purposes, authors like Spencer may have deliberately used foreignisms as a way to imprint the ST with an external orientation. The implications for the target text are no less important. If the number of linguistic codes at work amounts to three, the translator is bound to face extra difficulty related to the pole that the TT is expected to adhere to: (i) its adequacy to the English original and to the foreign language’s original; or (ii) its adherence to the target pole in terms of acceptability.

The translation of the twelve (12) original French expressions from Education — easily recognisable by the use of italics except for one (1) — shows a relatively wide range of possibilities and techniques used by RFS. For example, the translator reproduces the original French expression from Education on three (3) occasions by resorting to a literal translation technique as shown, in “For we are coming to the dénouement, when the positions will be changed” (What knowledge) translated by “pues con rapidez nos acercamos al desenlace, y con él el cambio el cambio de situaciones” (RFS, 70). For illustrative purposes, it is interesting to emphasize that “dénouement” had already entered the English vocabulary as a single lexical item since its earliest documented use in 1752 (OED). Likewise, whereas literal translation is used for other French expressions such as “Sçavoir par coeur n’est pas sçavoir”, “amour propre”, and “pas trop gouverner”, RFS shows the adherence to the pole of adequacy by reproducing even the same typographical convention, italics, as shown in the first two examples “Saber de memoria, no es saber” (78) and “no gobernar demasiado” (178), respectively. Occasionally, we found instances where the translator revealed his lack of competence with the history of economics. Arguably, when Spencer affirms “that a system of complete laissez-faire is the logical outcome of the doctrines set forth” (Intellectual), RFS is unsuccessful in finding an exact equivalent in “el sistema de abandono es el resultado lógico de las doctrinas que hemos sustentado” (87), which by no means conveys the meaning from Education. Transposition, or a shift of word class (Molina & Hurtado-Albir 2002, 499), is another technique put into practice by RFS when he sets out to translate “In the quotation so often made apropos of such cases” (Moral) and renders “Un refran que oimos con tanta frecuencia cuando de estas cosas se habla” (149). Finally, generalization or the substitution of “one term for a more general one” (Molina & Hurtado-Albir 2002, 500) is also used for the translation of “maire” being understood as “le premier des magistrats municipaux, qui est l'organe exécutif de la commune” (Larousse) in RFS' “mueren en invierno muchos recien nacidos por llevarlos á la alcaldía para el registro” (212) from “newborn infants often die in winter from being carried to the office of the maire for registration” (Physical), or “fête-days” in RFS’ “tiene que privarse de acompañar al resto de la familia á alguna excursión campestre ú otra distracción cualquiera” (159) from the original “the boy is debarred from joining the rest of the family on holiday excursions and fête days” (Moral).

Likewise, the adoption of Latin expressions in translated works relates to the major role of Latin and Greek as the linguae francae used to disseminate scientific knowledge in western countries in the 19th century (Baugh & Cable 1978, 202). Notwithstanding, and although Spencer repeatedly reacted against the prominent position of classical languages in syllabi, RFS opts — as a norm — to reproduce the original Latin expression using the literal translation (borrowing) (Molina & Hurtado-Albir 2002, 499) as is the case with “pari passu(Moral) and “à posteriori(Physical) in RFS (144) and RFS (231), respectively. This same technique applies to other Latinisms such as “reductio ad absurdum”, “cæteris paribus”, and “à priori”. The first two items are reproduced identically except for the substitution of the original italics for single quotation marks in “su refutación por la ‘reductio ad absurdum’“ (RFS, 87) and “se llegará á reconocer que ‘cæteris paribus’ los niños que han sido más castigados” (RFS, 172), with the effect of reinforcing the foreignization of the text. Lastly, and as to the translation of the lemma “curriculum” referred to as a “regular course of study or training, as at a school or university (The recognized term in Scottish Universities)” (OED), we can affirm that out of the ten (10) appearances in Education RFS reaffirms his adherence to the source pole by translating literally (borrowing) from the original work six (6) times reinforcing this norm with the use of italics so as to emphasize the foreignization of the original element “Para obtener un curriculum racional” (9).

The translation of culture specific items presents numerous difficulties because translators are forced to solve translation problems using different techniques and procedures (Molina & Hurtado-Albir 2002, 499-500). Among these challenges, we must refer unfailingly, on the one hand, to the well-established axiom which states that the exclusive translation of the linguistic content does not suffice since “it is much more important to work out what the words mean in a particular situational and cultural context” (Leppihalme 1997, viii); and, on the other, the incontrovertible fact that semantic-cultural segments do not necessarily exhibit univocal equivalences between both linguistic codes involved. As mentioned before, RFS employed a whole range of techniques when he set out to supply equivalences for the cultural references in Education. Such a variety certainly illustrates the lack of a homogenous initial norm which prevents us from solely adhering RFS’ translation either to the source or target pole. In rendering the equivalents, RFS’ frequent use of the literal translation and its subvariants attests to his search for adequacy. As an example, “the Kaffirs, North-American Indians, and Patagonians, and you find them large consumers of flesh. The ill-fed Hindoo...” (Physical), RFS translates the original “Hindoo” for the “Aryan of Northern India (Industan), who retains the native religion (Hinduism), as distinguished from those who have embraced Islam; [...] applied by Europeans in a wider sense, in accordance with the wider application of Hindustan(OED) with “indio asiático” (203) making use of an amplification, or the use of “more signifiers to cover syntactic or lexical gaps” (Molina & Hurtado-Albir 2002, 500). In turn, literal translation appears in the same passage when both “indios-norteamericanos” and “patagonios” (RFS 203) are used to reproduce “North-American Indians, and Patagonians”, respectively. In parallel, the lemma “Kaffirs” from Arabic “kāfir infidel” is applied to any individual of “South African race belonging to the Bantu family […] also disparagingly, with reference to any Black African” (OED) can even be used by extension to any “white man who associates with or is thought to favour Black Africans” (OED), and RFS borrows “kaffirs” directly instead of the likely Spanish “cafre” with the figurative meaning of “persona indómita o feroz” (NTLLE).

Interestingly enough, however, the lack of a unique initial norm for the translation of cultural references allows us to refer to other instances where the translator used several techniques to find source item equivalents thus proving he sought acceptability and adherence to the target pole. By way of illustration, the reference to “teetotaller” in the “conviction that drunkenness is the root of all social evils, the teetotaler would agitate far less energetically” (Moral) as someone “who abstains (esp. one who pledges himself to abstain) from the use of any intoxicating liquor” (OED) leads us to trace the origin of the term. According to Vickers (2000), Joseph Livesey and a group of workers from Preston pledged they would no longer drink alcohol, and they organized the Preston Temperance Society which would later become the British Association for the Promotion of Temperance. As there was no recognised equivalent in the Spanish culture, RFS rendered “el sectario de la asociacion de la templanza” (139) by means of an amplification in order to reinforce its acceptability or subscription to norms originating in the target culture. The same technique is applied when translating the segment “it is not needful to mould the bodies of babes by bandaging them in papoose-fashion or otherwise” (Intellectual) which alludes to the geographical provenance of the “pappose”, a loanword from the dialect spoken by the Narragansett tribe belonging to the Algonquian language group in different locations across Canada, New England, southern coastal areas of North Carolina, the Great Lakes district, and areas bordering the Rocky Mountains. Originally it was used to name the practice of putting babies into the so-called “cradle boards” so that mothers might carry their infants and work simultaneously, and later extended to allude to the “North-American Indian young child” (OED). RFS employs amplification to express the concept: “amoldar el cuerpo del recien-nacido fajándolo como á un papuc” (85). In turn, generalization, or the translation “of a term for a more general one” (Molina & Hurtado-Albir 2002, 500), is another technique used to deliver acceptability as illustrated in the translation of “Hodge and Giles [...] have been observant of their masters’ beasts and sheep” (Physical) to “Hodge y Giles [...] han observado muy atentamente en los animales confiados á su cuidado” (RFS 185-6). Incidentally, this adherence to acceptability coexists with RFS’ subscription to norms originating in the ST as shown by reproducing the original “Hodge y Giles” and omitting the extra textual information associated with the former, as a “familiar by-form and abbreviation of the name Roger; used as a typical name for the English agricultural labourer or rustic” (OED), and the latter, by not pointing out that St. Giles comes from Greek Aegidius, an Athenian boy who was forced to flee to France due to the veneration received on account of his miracles in the 6th century (Withycombe 1993, 134).

Even though literary allusions do not abound in Education mostly because it is a monograph on pedagogy, and consequently Spencer only drew on sources related to this discipline so as to either refute or support his views, the translation of such literary references, for its part, also illustrates the lack of adherence or subscription to a particular initial norm. As a matter of fact, we find evidence of the search for both adequacy to the ST and source culture, and acceptability to norms operating in the TT and target culture. Regarding the first pattern, RFS literally translated Spencer’s allusion to Jonathan Swift’s renamed Gulliver’s Travels in “Had Gulliver narrated of the Laputans” (Physical) by “Si Gulliver hubiera contado de los Laputanos” (188), thus exhibiting a clear adhesion to the ST at the expense of including any further explicative element which might have shed light on the practical difficulties faced by fictional Laputa’s native inhabitants in solving domestic chores. Since the toponym “Laputa” echoes, on the one hand, the Spanish noun phrase “la puta” on the basis of the satirical relationship established between the court of England and prostitutes and, on the other, that it is also related to the Latin verb “puto” as an equivalent to “think” alluding in turn sarcastically to the “country of thinkers”, by not adding any further information the translator completely deprives Spanish readers of referential content, which they would not appreciate unless they had read the original work and were able to draw such an inference (Elena 1992, 375). The same technique is used to apply to Spencer’s allusion to Oliver Goldsmith’s romantic ballad The Hermit or Edwin and Angelina (1765) in “Where is the Edwin who was brought to Angelina’s feet by her German?”, which RFS translates literally with “¿Dónde está el Edwin á quien Angelina rindiera á sus pies por el alemán?” (240). The poem, included the following year in his novel The Vicar of Wakefield under the title A Ballad, narrates the story of a young Edwin of humble origins who falls deeply in love with Angelina, the daughter of a lord. Rejected by Angelina, Edwin leaves his former life behind and becomes a hermit. A few years later, the young woman disguised as a man pays a visit to Edwin’s refuge and tells him her own story. Edwin reveals his identity and they promise to live together thereafter. Although the poem gained wide circulation in England — almost one hundred years since its original composition — the Spanish reader was again not overtly informed about the allusion. Finally, the reference to Charles Dickens’ The Adventures of Oliver Twist (1838) provides evidence of the subscription to target culture norms. RFS employs generalization when he translates the well-known quotation “When to ‘Oliver asking for more,’ the mamma or governess says ‘No,’ on what data does she proceed?” (Physical) where he omits the allusion to Dickens’ novel by referring to the more impersonal and Spanish-friendly “un niño” in “Cuando un niño pide más y la madre le contesta ‘No,’ ¿a qué criterio ajusta su negative?” (195).

The last section of this textual-linguistic analysis broaches the translation of linguistic-cultural items. Difficulties arise from the need to reconcile two different linguistic codes and their respective cultural systems, which do not always exhibit one-to-one equivalences. As to Education and the translation under scrutiny, such difficulties become strongly evident because units of measurement, weight and mass are calculated differently in distinct systems.(4) The translation of these different units does not show, to a greater or lesser extent, a strict or rigid adherence to either source or target norms. RFS translates the original “yard” defined as “a measure of length (traditionally the standard unit of English long measure) equal to three feet or thirty-six inches” (OED) with its literal equivalent “yardas” (81), which means “instrumento [...] para medir [...] que notan la longitud de tres piés [...] esta unidad de medidas de longitud se va sustituyendo hoy el METRO” (NTLLE) emphasizing the adequacy to the ST. The same happens with “foot”, “a lineal measure originally based on the length of a man's foot [...] the English foot consists of 12 inches” (OED), which RFS translates to its literal equivalent “pies” (81) being understood as “especie de medida muy usada [...] pero desigual en unas respecto de otras. El PIÉ de Castilla es la tercera parte de la vara” (NTLLE). However, this adherence to source norms is not observable, for example, when “mile”, defined as “any of various units of distance, such as the statue mile of 5,280 feet (1,609 km)” (OED) in “the fatigue produced by a thirty miles’ walk” (Physical) is translated to “al cansancio que produce un paseo largo” (RFS, 231) thus employing generalization in a deliberate attempt to subscribe to the target culture. The translation of units of weight presents the same adherence to source norms. For example, the use of literal translation for “pound” or “measure of weight and mass derived from the ancient Roman libra (= 327·25 grams)” (OED), and “ounce” or “unit of weight; originally, as still in Troy weight, the twelfth of a pound, but in avoirdupois or ordinary goods weight the sixteenth of the pound” (OED) translated to “libras” (81) and “onzas” (81), respectively, reiterates the adherence to source norms. Finally, the analysis of the translation of mass units such as the “gallon” containing “2771/4 cubic inches” (OED) or the “quart” referred to an “English measure of capacity, one-fourth of a gallon, or two pints” (OED) reveals mixed techniques. RFS translates “gallon” literally with “galones” (81) as a “medida inglesa de capacidad, para los líquidos, que [...] equivale con corta diferencia á cuatro litros y medio» (NTLLE). Whereas in the second instance, RFS unexpectedly opts for “cuarterones” (81) defined as “cuarta parte de cualquier cosa que se puede dividir ó partir. La cuarta parte de una libra” (NTLLE) in an inaccurate attempt to subscribe to the norms of the target culture.

5. Conclusions

In view of the preceding analysis, we conclude that Francisco de Asís Pacheco’s translation of Herbert Spencer’s Education soon became a powerful instrument for the spread and dissemination of the new reformist pedagogy, already a matter of scientific interest to teachers, pedagogues and educational authorities in 19th-century Europe. Like Siro García-del-Mazo, Francisco de Asís Pacheco embodied the modern values and advanced ideas associated to a prominent intellectual figure whose range of interests transcended the strictest limits imposed by his threefold professional career as jurist, politician and journalist. Deeply concerned with the socio-political situation of Spain in the last quarter of the 19th century, Pacheco did not refuse to give voice to his own educational proposals in the paratexts which preceded his translated version of Spencer’s work. Albeit conservative in his political views but in broad agreement with Spencer’s views, in his foreword Pacheco defended the implementation of an extensive educational system mostly based on secular principles with a strong emphasis on experimental subjects.

For some unknown reason, Pacheco attributed the translation to RFS, probably his nom de plume, and this practice allowed him to both praise RFS’ literary skilfulness and highlight RFS’ “grande fidelidad e inteligencia” (xxxv), i.e., the adequacy to the source pole in terms of the initial norm. Regarding preliminary norms, RFS’ preface addressed to “AL LECTOR” enables us to determine the translation policy, or the selection and typology of texts to be translated from the source culture. The justification for this translation is inextricably bound to the wide circulation that Education had gained since its publication in the early 1860s both in the USA and Great Britain, as well as other endorsements by intellectuals. The above-mentioned initial norm in conjunction with the inherent difficulty of translating scientific texts led Pacheco to use a foreignizing tone which would ultimately make this version more adequate to the ST, on the grounds of its directness, than even the French translation.

Within the operational realm and as far as matricial norms are concerned, this analysis has shown that Pacheco deviated from the initial norm and introduced up to one hundred and one (101) changes from the original paragraph segmentation in both of its two variants. As to the fullness of the translation, there are no omissions; for its part, additions comprise the enumeration of subsections summarizing each of the four chapters as well as four (4) additional footnotes from the translator. In regard to the textual-linguistic norms, the analysis of both Gallicisms and Latinisms has shown, in accordance with the initial norm, a continued adherence to the source pole via the use of mostly literal translation and, occasionally, transposition and generalization. Interestingly enough, the translation of both cultural and literary references exposes indistinct adherence to both the source and the target poles with a recurrent use of literal translation, amplification and generalization. Within linguistic-cultural items, the same ambivalence applies to the translation of the units of measurement, whereas the translation of units of mass and weight tends to favour adequacy to the source pole.

As a final personal remark, we would like to acknowledge Francisco de Asís Pacheco’s valuable contribution to the history of the translation of essayistic literature on pedagogy at the turn of the 19th century in Spain. The examination of De la educación intellectual, moral y física has enabled us to observe not only the norms to which Pacheco conformed from a purely translational standpoint but also the relevance and interest of the debate on education, a still unsolved issue in our country one hundred and thirty-eight years later.


(1) The present research has been funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of the Government of Spain (Research Project “LA TRADUCCIÓN DE CLÁSICOS EN SU MARCO EDITORIAL: UNA VISIÓN TRANSATLÁNTICA” FFI2013-41743-P, National Scientific Research, Development and Technological Innovation Plan). This grant is hereby gratefully acknowledged.

(2) Personal communication.

(3) The reference is to A. W. Schlegel (1767—1845), one the leading figures of German Romanticism. According to him, “a good translation is not necessarily a literal translation; the translator must be able to translate the spirit of the text”, and he also emphasized that “all translations should avoid converting foreign texts into strange texts” (Hay 2017).

(4) By way of illustration, it is worth mentioning that Spencer made an overt statement against the metric system in his own will (“Herbert Spencer’s Will”).

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© Grupo de Investigación T-1611, Departamento de Filología Española y Departamento de Traducción, UAB | Research Group T-1611, Spanish Philology Department and Translation Department, UAB | Grup de Recerca T-1611, Departament de Filologia Espanyola i Departament de Traducció, UAB