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Pym, Anthony, Shlesinger, Miriam and Simeoni, Daniel, eds (2008): Beyond Descriptive Translation Studies: Investigations in homage to Gideon Toury. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 417 p.[Record]

  • Xu Jianzhong

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  • Xu Jianzhong
    University of Technology, Tianjin, People’s Republic of China

Benjamins Translation Library is one of the rare series of translation studies in the world which not only provides a forum for a variety of heated topics and demonstrates the frontiers of translation studies but also greatly promotes the development of the world of translation studies. Beyond Descriptive Translation Studies: Investigations in homage to Gideon Toury is the 75th of the series. This volume is substantial, including 27 articles and an interview. It is composed of six topics: the sociology of translators, the contemporary changes in intercultural relations, the basic problem of defining translations, translation teaching and learning, the nature of explanation, and case studies. The sociology of translators is its first topic. The beginning article “Popular mass production in the periphery: Socio-political tendencies insubversive translation” written by Nitsa Ben-Ari, explores the agents (either ignored or hidden behind pseudonyms) of the massive, non-politicized literature of the periphery during pre-State Israel. The interview-based research helps us identify a common denominator between their activity in popular literature and their socio-political habituses. This paper discusses the relationship between canonic and non-canonic literary systems, between center and periphery, between different worlds of production and distribution, and between ideologically engaged translation and commercial non-politicized translation. The author thinks that the relationship may sometimes turn out to be as mobilized, yet to an opposing, subversive ideology. “Strategies of image-making and status advancement of translators and interpreters as a marginal occupational group” by Rakefet Sela-Sheffy and Miriam Shlesinger aims to analyze the translators/interpreters’ construction of a sense of an occupational identity and strategies of status improvement, drawing on interviews with the subgroups in the field such as literary and non-literary translators, subtitlers, conference, community, court and signed-language interpreters. Reine Meylaerts’ “Translators and (their) norms: Towards a sociological construction of the individual” reveals how intercultural actors interiorize the normative structures not only of the source and target fields but also of their mutual intersections. Its study shows how translatorship can be redefined in terms of habitus, as an individuation of collective normative schemes related to the translator’s personal history, to the collective histories of the target and source fields, and to the intersections between the cultures concerned. This paper argues that human agents must be accounted for not only as professionals but as socialized individuals, and that the study of plural and dynamic (intercultural) habituses may thus become a key concept for understanding intercultural relationships. “Translation constraints and the ‘sociological turn’ in literary translation studies” by Denise Merkle does a comparative analysis of the translations of four of Shakespeare’s plays by Antonine Maillet, providing insights into the impact of expressions, convention and socio-cognitive constraints on translator behaviour and, by extension, on the translation process. Ebru Diriker’s “Exploring conference interpreting as a social practice: An area for intra-disciplinary cooperation” makes a call for a more sociological viewpoint, with “norms” as a focal point. It holds that research on conference interpreting has started becoming more sociologically oriented and is moving towards more contextualization. Diriker’s findings will certainly help shape the discussion in Translation and Interpreting Studies as a whole. Gisèle Sapiro’s “Normes de traduction et contraintes sociales” proposes a model that focuses on the social constraints that condition those processes to some extent that runs from government policies to publishing strategies, which allows to analyze translation norms in terms of the sociology of fields, as proposed by Pierre Bourdieu. It argues that in the field of literary production, these constraints operate between two poles: the logic of commercial gain and restrained production governed by the logic of symbolic gain. Salah Basalamah’s “Aux sources des normes du droit de la …