Critical Translation Studies: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Critical Translation Studies

1st Edition

By Douglas Robinson


210 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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This book offers an introduction for Translation Studies (TS) scholars to Critical Translation Studies (CTS), a cultural-studies approach to the study of translation spearheaded by Sakai Naoki and Lydia H. Liu, with an implicit focus on translation as a social practice shaped by power relations in society. The central claim in CTS is that translators help condition what TS scholars take to be the primal scene of translation: two languages, two language communities, with the translator as mediator. According to Sakai, intralingual translation is primal: we are all foreigners to each other, making every address to another "heterolingual", thus a form of translation; and it is the order that these acts of translation bring to communication that begins to generate the "two separate languages" scenario. CTS is dedicated to the historicization of the social relations that create that scenario.

In three sets of "Critical Theses on Translation," the book outlines and explains (and partly critiques) the CTS approach; in five interspersed chapters, the book delves more deeply into CTS, with an eye to making it do work that will be useful to TS scholars.


'The book is interesting and illuminative. With a strong inclination to avoid misunderstandings between the Oriental and the Occidental, it can present fare dialogues among different cultures and seek a critical evaluation of translation studies in the past and the present.' -- LUO Xuanmin

Table of Contents

Critical Theses on Translation 1: Sakai Circa 1997

1. Liu Reading Marx

2. The Double-Bind of Translation Quality Assessment

Critical Theses on Translation 2: Sakai and Solomon Circa 2006

3. Walter Benjamin’s Intentions

4. What One Reads When One Reads Heidegger

5. The Socioecological Thought of Laozi and Mengzi

Critical Theses on Translation 3: Solomon Circa 2014


About the Author

Douglas Robinson is Chair Professor of English at Hong Kong Baptist University. A scholar of language, literature, translation, and rhetoric, and a translator from Finnish to English since 1975, he is author most recently of Schleiermacher’s Icoses (Zeta Books, 2013), The Dao of Translation (Routledge, 2015), The Deep Ecology of Rhetoric in Mencius and Aristotle (SUNY Press, 2015), Semiotranslating Peirce (Tartu Semiotics Library, 2016), and Exorcising Translation (Bloomsbury, 2017), and editor of The Pushing Hands of Translation and its Theory (Routledge, 2016).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Translating & Interpreting