M1: Unit 1: Chapter 1 – Introduction

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Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 5: Descriptivism Chapter 9: Postcolonial Theory
Chapter 2: Where to Start? Chapter 6: Beyond Decsriptivism Chapter 10: Afterword
Chapter 3: Traditional Approaches Chapter 7: Poststructuralism Chapter 11: Bibliography
Chapter 4: Text Linguistics & Pragmatics Chapter 8: Gender Studies Chapter 12: Reference Works

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 The nine Chapters in this unit provide a brief sketch of some approaches to translation and the study of translation in roughly the last fifty years, with particular attention to the changes of emphasis that have occurred. They do not give a comprehensive overview but merely an outline of some key ideas and developments.

1.2 The view I present is partial, in a double sense. It is both incomplete and biased. I make no apology for having opinions and preferences as regards the scope, aims and methods of the study of translation. The picture I paint will reflect that view, and I will make my own position clear as we go along. It is important for you to remember you don’t have to agree with my particular angle on things.

1.3 As for my sketch being incomplete: the volume of translation research is now so large and its range so wide that no individual can have a comprehensive overview. In recent years several book-length surveys of modern and contemporary theories of translation have been published. Among the most accessible are

1.4 Lawrence Venuti’s Translation Studies Reader (2000, revised edition 2004) provides a useful collection of documents, while Hatim and Munday’s resource book (2004) has a good number of shorter extracts. Details of these books are in the Bibliography.

1.5 There is as yet no general, let alone a generally accepted, account of developments and current schools of thought in translation studies. The existing surveys show a bewildering range of approaches, orientations and objectives. There are good reasons for this lack of consensus and for the absence of authoritative surveys, as we will see.