4th Edition

Becoming a Translator An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Translation

By Douglas Robinson Copyright 2020
    318 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    318 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Fusing theory with advice and information about the practicalities of translating, Becoming a Translator is the essential resource for novice and practicing translators. The book explains how the market works, helps translators learn how to translate faster and more accurately, as well as providing invaluable advice and tips about how to deal with potential problems, such as stress.

    The fourth edition has been revised and updated throughout, offering:

    • a whole new chapter on multimedia translation, with a discussion of the move from "intersemiotic translation" to "audiovisual translation," "media access" and "accessibility studies"
    • new sections on cognitive translation studies, translation technology, online translator communities, crowd-sourced translation, and online ethnography
    • "tweetstorms" capturing the best advice from top industry professionals on Twitter
    • student voices, especially from Greater China

    Including suggestions for discussion, activities, and hints for the teaching of translation, and drawing on detailed advice from top translation professionals, the fourth edition of Becoming a Translator remains invaluable for students and teachers of Translation Studies, as well as those working in the field of translation.

    List of figures

    List of tables


    Preface to the fourth edition


    1 External knowledge: the user’s view

    2 Internal knowledge: the translator’s view

    3 The process of translation

    4 Drawing on experience: how being a translator is more than just being good at languages

    5 Starting with people: social interaction as the first key focus of translators’ experience of the world

    6 Working with people: the workplace as the interactive setting for specialized terminologies

    7 Translation as an operation performed in and on languages

    8 Translation as an operation performed in and on multimedia

    9 Working and understanding through social networks

    10 The impact on translation of culture(s)

    11 When habit fails




    Douglas Robinson is Chair Professor of English at Hong Kong Baptist University. He has been a freelance translator of technical and literary texts from Finnish to English since 1975. He is also one of the world's leading translation scholars, the author of The Dao of Translation (2015), Translation and Empire (2016), Critical Translation Studies (2017), and Translationality (2017), and editor of Western Translation Theory From Herodotus to Nietzsche (2015) and The Pushing Hands of Translation and its Theory (2016) (all published by Routledge).

    In this revised version, Robinson’s thought reflects the complexity of doing and studying translation even better than in previous editions. Linking phenomenology, cognitive science and semiotics, amongst others, with lived experience is what makes this a great textbook. It guides without imposing rules.

    Kobus Marais, University of the Free State, South Africa

    Robinson’s new and much revised volume is a thought-provoking and rich introduction to the theory and practice of translation. This edition brings the discussion up to the present, engaging with social media discussions and multimedia communication. The material for discussion and student follow-up is ideal for teaching purposes and should serve to spark conversations and challenge students across the globe.

    Sandra L. Halverson, University of Agder, Norway

    A timely overhaul in keeping with recent developments and the rapidly changing landscape of scholarship in translation studies. The book continues to be an invaluable contribution to translation pedagogy, theory and practice. A must have for scholars, students and practitioners alike.

    Paul F. Bandia, Concordia University, Canada