You need several things:
- an object of study that presents issues and problems deemed to be of some scope and relevance by a certain community;
- a number of people who have a certain standing in the relevant field, in this case the academic world and who take a sustained scholarly interest the in the object of study;
- a broadly accepted sense of why and how to study the object, in other words a rationale and a theoretical and methodological framework, i.e. an intellectual infrastructure;
- a communications network, with publications (books, journals,…) and meeting places (conferences, associations,…), plus financial and other resources, i.e. a material infrastructure.
How many translation studies journal titles can you think of? Which ones do you have access to, via a library or the Web?