Corps de l’article
This volume is monumental in providing a comprehensive account of the history of modern translation knowledge through seven processes that make up its history: generating, mapping, internationalising, historicising, analysing, disseminating, and applying knowledge. This seven-part book is preceded by an introduction and followed by bionotes, a name index, and a subject index. It is of note that the word history in the book title is defined as “one of dialogue rather than opposition between past and present” (p. 4). The term translation knowledge was coined by D’hulst and Gambier in analogy with other fields of knowledge; it refers to knowledge about, on, and of translation (p. 7).
In the general introduction, D’hulst and Gambier stress that this book aims to delineate the history of modern translation knowledge. In other words, this book concentrates on knowledge about, on, and of translation rather than how knowledge circulates through translation. The authors present the book’s three main recurring themes, namely bridging past and present translation knowledge, laying the foundations of an interdisciplinary history of translation knowledge, and circulating translation knowledge across languages and cultural borders (p. 10-11).
The first part contains ten contributions focusing on generating knowledge. It brings together ways of generating knowledge in the past, with the concepts of translation, tropes, myths and fiction, semiotics and rhetoric. In Chapter 1.1, entitled “Concepts of Translation,” Gambier discusses a range of translation concepts from around the world, which briefly summarises the variety of terms in different discourses and thoughts on translation in certain cultures or societies. He identifies a semantic cluster of three notions (similarity, difference, and mediation) for translation in different languages, with a view to being alert to the cultural and historical variation of usage and interpretation when referring to translation (p. 32). In Chapter 1.2, entitled “Tropes,” James St. André explores figurative language in translation studies, including metaphors of translation, translation as metonym, innovative thinking, and conceptual metaphors, with a view to highlighting the important role of figurative language. In Chapter 1.3, entitled “Biblical Myths,” Claire Placial focuses on two biblical myths (Babel and the Pentecost), with the aim of exploring how the myth of Babel is perceived in translation theories and the evolution of the myth of Babel in the context of globalization. In Chapter 1.4, entitled “Fictional Representations,” Klaus Kaindl identifies novels, stories, plays and films, (auto) biographies of translators, documentaries, YouTube clips, photographs and paintings as his objects of investigation. He states that fictional representations are not only a multidisciplinary field of research, but also an occasional subject of investigation in TS. In Chapter 1.5, entitled “The Sacred and Taboo,” Douglas Robinson looks at bans on translating sacred texts in the world’s three major religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and at how translatable the Christian Bible is on a theoretical level. In Chapter 1.6, entitled “The Modern Regime of Translation and its Politics,” Naoki Sakai discusses the political and ethical significance of translation in light of the fact that translation is always complementary to the establishment, transformation, disruption or destruction of power relationships. Sakai also explores how the representation of translation has a socio-political impact. In Chapter 1.7, entitled “Translation and Adjacent Concepts,” Rita Bueno Maia, Hanna Pięta and Alexandra Assis Rosa explore such concepts as auto-translation, indirect translation, non-translation, pseudo-translation, and retranslation, all of which have in common with the questioning of binarism in the study and discourse of translation (p. 81). In Chapter 1.8, entitled “Expansions,” John Ødemark and Eivind Engebretsen investigate some salient features of the current expansion of translation beyond the linguistic, such as the cross-disciplinary uses of translation, medical knowledge translation, and cultural translation. In Chapter 1.9, entitled “Semiotics,” Ubaldo Stecconi argues that adopting a semiotic outlook advances the idea that translating is not something we do only with words, but to words and to other signs as well (p. 92). In Chapter 10, entitled “Rhetoric,” Ubaldo Stecconi goes back to the period of Cicero and Jerome, with a view to emphasizing the importance of rhetoric in translation. He provides the five canons of rhetoric, and considers contrastive rhetoric to be the mediation between different languages and cultures.
The second part of this volume contains seven contributions, focusing on the mapping or structuring of translation knowledge, using media (print, technology), by means of specific transfer modalities or by defining turning points in the history of knowledge. In Chapter 2.1, entitled “Print History,” Norbert Bachleitner investigates print history in TS, with a view to highlighting the important role of print in spreading ideas and general communication as well as in producing and distributing knowledge. In Chapter 2.2, entitled “Technology,” Deborah A. Folaron analyses how the distinction between different types of technologies and users is beneficial when considering technology in TS, with a view to claiming the usefulness of technology for analysing translations. In Chapter 2.3, entitled “Bibliometric Tools,” Sara Rovira-Esteva and Javier Franco Aixelà focus on the evaluation and mapping of bibliometric tools. They analyse the main kinds of metrics, including citation analysis, content analysis, network analysis, and diachronic analysis, all of which are valuable for researchers as well as for MA or PhD students in getting a historical overview of the research. In Chapter 2.4, entitled “Localisation,” Keiran J. Dunne defines the term localisation and states that localisation efforts are characterized by technological complexity. Dunne expounds the convergence of localisation and translation, which are illustrative of the evolution of digital texts. In Chapter 2.5, entitled “Circulation and Spread of Knowledge,” Deborah A. Folaron stresses the diversity of textual objects of translation, including paratextual (cover, foreword, dedication, afterword, reference notes, typography, marginalia) and visual (illustrations, design and layout) elements (p. 128). Her view is that the spread of knowledge on translation in the 21st century is not entirely separable from its technical site of production and diffusion. In Chapter 2.6, entitled “Transfer Modes,” D’hulst analyses the role of transfer techniques in the history of translation knowledge and distinguishes two sets of transfer modes: institutional transfer and discursive transfer. His view is that these transfer modes are responsible for the rapid spread of certain ideas, such as manipulation, cultural turn, postcolonialism and many more (p. 140). In Chapter 2.7, entitled “Turns,” Mary Snell-Hornby provides an account of turns in TS, namely the Cultural Turn to Iconic Turn, the Sociological Turn, the Globalization Turn, and the Empirical Turn. Her view is that new technologies advance the later development of TS, such as video dialogue interpreting, sign language for the deaf and hard of hearing, audiovisual translation, dubbing, subtitling and fansubbing. She also argues that TS, as a discipline, and the dissemination of translation knowledge need to be addressed within the scope of the development of technologies (p. 146).
The third part contains eight contributions dedicated to the issues of internationalising knowledge, ranging from Eurocentrism to globalisation and taking the role of institutions and policies into consideration. In Chapter 3.1, entitled “The History of Internationalization in Translation Studies and its Impact on Translation Theory,” Maria Tymoczko recounts the history of internationalization in TS and its impact on translation theory, claiming that the relevance of internationalization is context specific in TS. She states that translating Buddhist sutras from Sanskrit into Chinese and other translations of Greek and Roman texts are early evidence related to knowledge about translation in international contexts. She also argues that World War II, the Cold War, the breakup of colonial empires and the liberation of many colonized nations are the internationalization contexts for the formation of the discipline of TS. In Chapter 3.2, entitled “Eurocentrism,” Luc van Doorslaer investigates the reasons why the concept of Eurocentrism has been criticized. In Chapter 3.3, entitled “Globalisation,” Michael Cronin stresses the importance of globalisation in TS. His view is that investigating the effects of the medium of information technology on the representation and practice of translation is of great importance to the development of translation knowledge in the era of globalisation. In Chapter 3.4, entitled “Institutionalization of Translation Studies,” Gambier investigates the genesis of some TS institutions and the development of the field, maintaining that TS has become institutionalized in many countries. He addresses such issues as the dissemination of TS through the efforts of the TS community, international and national associations, academic journals, and online publications. In Chapter 3.5, entitled “Universal Language,” Karen Bennett explores the developments of original or sacred languages, artificial languages, lingua francas, and universal grammar. Bennett’ s view is that English may actually prove to be the last lingua franca if translation technology continues to develop at its current pace (p. 199). In Chapter 3.6, entitled “Forms and Formats of Dissemination of Translation Knowledge,” Alexandra Assis Rosa holds that knowledge about translation is not only disseminated implicitly via the circulation of such diverse forms of translation (literary texts, oral communication, audiovisual and multimodal texts), but also explicitly made available by diverse forms of direct dissemination (p. 205), such as letters, critiques and reviews, encyclopedias, journals, monographs, and, more currently, Wikipedia, blogs, chatrooms, newsgroups or video recorded lessons, and the like. In Chapter 3.7, entitled “Translation Politics and Policies,” Reine Meylaerts believes that the translation of important legal texts and their role in shaping societies worldwide is part of translation politics and policies. In Chapter 3.8, entitled “History of Reception,” Denise Merkle discusses such concepts as margins, new censorship, constitutive censorship, structural censorship, and regulatory censorship. She stresses the interplay between censorship and translation, expounds the academic and professional interest in censorship, and points out the questions, drawbacks and limitations of censorship.
The fourth part contains eight contributions focusing on the historicising of translation knowledge. This part mainly explores how historians try to understand the evolution of translation knowledge by employing three kinds of historical models: comparative history, oral history or micro-history. In Chapter 4.1, entitled “Temporality,” Christopher Rundle argues that translation history, including a unique heterogeneity of temporalities, methods, sources and types of insight, is characterized by the tension between the diachronic and the synchronic, the macro and the micro, and the specific and the more general (p. 244). In Chapter 4.2, entitled “Archives,” Pekka Kujamäki stresses the importance of archives in the field of TS. Kujamäki holds that archives enclose not only translations, but also information on translation procedures and translators, past translation projects and translation cultures of particular historical periods (p. 247). In Chapter 4.3, entitled “Microhistory,” Judy Wakabayashi explores the three features that microhistory entails: intensive investigation of a particular object, the challenging or refining of generalizations, and an emphasis on the agency of individuals or groups. Her view is that microhistory focuses on “the life, work, connections and influences of an ordinary translator in order to explore larger themes” (p. 252). In Chapter 4.4, entitled “Comparative History,” Roberto A. Valdeón analyses the interface between translation and comparative history. On the one hand, historians depend on translated documents when they make a comparison between two or more societies or periods. On the other hand, historical manuscripts and narratives written by historians can offer information for translation scholars when they research the history of TS disciplines and compare different periods or societies. In Chapter 4.5, entitled “Connected History and Histoire Croisée,” Judy Wakabayashi explores the advantages of a connected perspective for enriching translation history, e.g. enriching translation history, reconstructing direct and indirect social, intellectual and textual webs (p. 262). She believes that the digital humanities can help with the substantial task of a relational translation history. In Chapter 4.6, entitled “Oral History,” Julie McDonough Dolmaya makes a distinction between oral history and interviews, defining oral history as “an in-depth, retrospective audio or video interview conducted for the purpose of preserving a narrative of historical significance” (p. 267). She provides several examples which combine the study of both oral history and translation studies. For example, historical translation studies research has drawn on oral sources, often to complement archival records and secondary sources. Furthermore, the interviews with translators published in the journal Translation Review are good examples too. In Chapter 4.7, entitled “Memory Studies,” Angela Kershaw states that memory studies are concerned with historical trauma, testimony, war, the Holocaust, and transnationalism. She explores the studies connecting interlingual translation and cultural memory, maintaining that interlingual translation plays an important role in transnational memory transmission. In Chapter 4.8, entitled “Counterfactual History,” D’hulst expounds the definition and context of counterfactual history, with a view of addressing the importance of actual social, political, intellectual, and economical issues by imagining “the potential effects on the course of history of facts that did not occur” (p. 277).
The fifth part contains ten contributions, looking into the analysing of translation knowledge, as carried out with the help of disciplines like process research, hermeneutics, ethnography, sociology or gender studies. In Chapter 5.1, entitled “Translated Texts/Paratexts,” Şehnaz Tahir Gürçağlar reveals the invaluable and fruitful information of paratexts and their impact on the translated text. She holds that a new perspective on translation practice, paratranslation (p. 290), emerges owing to the increasing focus on paratexts in translation studies. In Chapter 5.2, entitled “Process Research,” Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow investigates the evolution of process research in translation studies, with the evolution from the thinking aloud method to analyzing corrections, revisions, and intermediate versions as target texts, to tracking eye movements, to retrospective verbalization and multi-method approaches. She also provides examples of translation process research and points out criticisms, shortcomings, and directions of process research. In Chapter 5.3, entitled “Translation Analysis,” Jeremy Munday explores the analysis models of translation analysis, which encompasses linguistic classifications of translation shifts, appraisal theory, comparative analysis, discourse analysis, sociological analysis, systemic functional linguistics (SFL), and text analysis. His view is that the selection of the above models should depend on research goals (p. 267). In Chapter 5.4, entitled “Hermeneutics,” Bernd Stefanink and Ioana Bălăcescu explore the contributions of hermeneutics to TS, e.g., new conceptions of meaning, creativity, text, and the translator’s task, the new epistemological approach: dialogue, empathy, and metaphor as well as the new criterion for quality assessment. They hold that the hermeneutic approach integrates the unavoidable subjectivity of the translator with his intuition and his creativity (p. 313). In Chapter 5.5, entitled “Deconstruction,” Kaisa Koskinen addresses such issues as the misunderstanding and controversies concerning deconstruction. She argues that deconstruction is closely related to current translation studies, ranging from the increasingly agentic nature of various CAT tools and machine translation systems in translation work to network economy in translation industry as well as the notion of gift, digital tools and corpus studies (p. 319). In Chapter 5.6, entitled “Localism,” Mirella Agorni argues that localism in translation aims to map the details of the linguistic, historical and cultural contexts of specific translation activities. She holds that localism is committed to fully depicting the complexity of translation activities, avoiding the danger of generalization (p. 324). In Chapter 5.7, entitled “Ethnography,” Peter Flynn traces the development in ethnography within TS, outlines a brief introduction of ethnography as such, and establishes the links and parallels between ethnography and TS. He explores the reasons why ethnography can offer a sound basis for studying various forms of translation in their social contexts. In Chapter 5.8, entitled “Translation Zones/Spaces,” Sherry Simon discusses such terms as translation spaces (a site of language exchange) and translation zones (calling for a broader culture of all kinds) and explores their respective importance in translation studies. In Chapter 5.9, entitled “Sociological Models and Translation History,” Hélène Buzelin reviews the rise of a sociological perspective on translation. She revisits several sociological models in TS, e.g., polysystem, field theory, and post-humanist sociology, so as to explore how translation has expanded from a linguistic operation to translation as a world view. She concludes with examples of translation-and-interpreting research programs that combine sociological models within a historical perspective. In Chapter 5.10, entitled “Feminism, Gender, and Translation,” Luise von Flotow addresses the term gender and its effects on translation studies and analyses three case studies, e.g., translating the Bible, translating gay self-presentation and translating gender in non-fiction texts, all with a view to demonstrating the effects of feminism on translation at the end of the 20th century.
The sixth part, containing seven contributions, focuses on disseminating past knowledge. Linguistics, communication studies or political history, as well as some reverse exchanges, have contributed to the spread of knowledge. In chapter 6.1, entitled “Linguistics,” Sonia Vandepitte, Lieve Jooken et al. explore general linguistic/philological, structural linguistic, text linguistic and sociolinguistic, psycholinguistic, and eurolinguistic ideas on translation, aiming to explore how linguistics engenders conceptualisations of translation as “an act of interpretative transfer between two languages” (p. 357). In Chapter 6.2, entitled “Literary Research,” Dirk Delabastita surveys in a diachronic perspective Western literary research from three periods: the period between 1914-1970, the 1970s onwards, and the new millennium, in order to investigate whether and how they exert influence on translation studies. In Chapter 6.3, entitled “Communication Studies,” Jens Loenhoff elaborates on transfer models of communication, such as Nida’s approach, Kade’s information theory, Vermeer’s skopos theory, with a view to showing the influence of communication theory on a fundamental theoretical level in TS. In Chapter 6.4, entitled “Cognitive Research,” Gregory Shreve investigates the approaches to cognitive research in translation, with cognitivist approaches being the prevalent one. Shreve discusses four aspects relevant to cognitive research: the cognitivist perspective, the connectionist perspective, and models of situated and embodied cognition. In Chapter 6.5, entitled “History of Translation Knowledge of Monotheistic Religions with Written Tradition,” Jacobus A. Naudé highlights the central importance of sacred language and translation in the history of religions and discusses the institutionalised and regulated nature of religious translation, with examples from the history of religious translation. In Chapter 6.6, entitled “Legal History,” Valérie Dullion investigates translating law and regulating translation from a historical perspective, and discusses such concepts as official translation, reception, circulation, transplant, transfer, and cultural translation. In Chapter 6.7, entitled “Political History,” Susan Pickford explores the broad definition of political history, including traditional and new political history, with a view to highlighting the importance of the latter. Susan Pickford argues that the new political history is closer to the full range of power relationships explored in TS today (p. 403).
The seventh part, containing five contributions, deals with applying knowledge that makes up the history of modern translation knowledge, encompassing language learning, training, a case study of research schools in the UK, assessment, and translation ethics. In Chapter 7.1, entitled “Language Learning,” Sara Laviosa explores translation forms in the history of language learning in Europe in a diachronic perspective. She holds that “language learning contributes to a view of translation as a diverse linguistic and cultural phenomenon” (p. 413). In Chapter 7.2, entitled “Training,” Amparo Hurtado Albir explores translator and interpreter training, the evolution of the didactics of translation and interpreting, the approaches to translator and interpreter training, areas of research in translator and interpreter training, and the challenges confronting training. In Chapter 7.3, entitled “Research Schools: the Example of the UK,” Susan Bassnett explores the reasons for a considerable interest today in studying translation in the English-speaking world. She investigates postgraduate programmes in TS in the UK, with a view to highlighting the role of translation in the fields of politics, globalization, cultural geography, anthropology, law, business studies amongst many others (p. 433). In Chapter 7.4, entitled “Assessment,” Claudia V. Angelelli explores the relationship between assessment and learning, arguing that assessments change in space and time. She claims that the academic discussion about communicative competence and its interaction with translation, translation competence and translation quality is important in understanding what makes a competent and professionally qualified translator (p. 438). In Chapter 7.5, entitled “Translation Ethics,” Andrew Chesterman investigates the evolution and variation of the conceptualization of translation/interpretation ethics, e.g., the ethics of sameness, fidelity, alterity, loyalty, and responsibility. His view is that ethical awareness and responsibility are important in TS, but they should be conditioned by historical and cultural contexts (p. 447).
Overall, this gigantic volume offers a very motivating and comprehensive account of a history of modern translation knowledge, which is viewed through seven processes instead of the reductive lens of schools. This volume, covered by 58 domain experts and spread out over 55 chapters, is extraordinary for the following reasons. First, it establishes a new framework to understand the evolution of the TS. Second, it can encourage an extensive reading between the chapters, which are followed by synoptic tables and indexed references of key words. Third, it would be valuable for anyone who would like to be accurately informed of the history of the ideas, concepts, methods, and interdisciplinary exchanges that have shaped the field of modern TS (p. 12). Hopefully, this volume will spur more interests in the study of a history of modern translation knowledge.