1st Edition

Method in Translation History

By Anthony Pym Copyright 1998
    234 Pages
    by Routledge

    234 Pages
    by Routledge

    Starting from the critical notion that we should be asking questions of contemporary importance - and that 'importance' itself must be defined - Anthony Pym sets about undoing many of the currently dominant models of translation history, positing, among much else, that the object of this history should be translators as people, that researchers are subjectively involved in their object, that cultural systems are based on social will, that translators work in intercultural spaces, and that a model of cooperation through negotiation may be applied to the way translators (and researchers!) work between cultures.

    At the same time, the proposed methodology is eminently constructive, showing how many empirical techniques can be developed and applied: clear illustrations are given of corpus selection, working definitions, deceptive statistics, and the construction of networks and regimes, incorporating elaborate examples drawn from medieval and modernist fields, as well as finding space for notes on practical problems like funding research. Finding its focus in historical debates, this book cannot help but create contemporary debate: its arguments seek not only to revitalize the historical study of translation but also to develop the wider concerns of intercultural studies.

    Method in Translation History: Contents



    1. History

    History within translation studies
    The parts of translation history
    The interdependence and separateness of the parts
    A too-brief history of translation history
    Reasons for doing translation history

    2. Importance

    What is importance?
    5Against blithe empiricism
    Personal interests
    Research and client interests
    Subjective interests and humility

    3. Lists

    Reasons for lists
    Getting data
    The difference between catalogues and corpora
    Shortcomings in bibliographies: four examples
    Completeness in history and geology
    Sources as shifting sands
    The historian as reader of indexes

    4. Working definitions

    Why some information has to be thrown out
    In defence of definitions
    Inclusive definitions
    Defining translations from paratexts
    Corpora of limit cases
    How Wagner sneaked in
    How Salomé danced out

    5. Frequencies

    Statistics and importance
    Diachronic distribution
    Retranslations, reeditions and non-translations
    Retranslation and its reasons
    A general diachronic hypothesis

    6. Networks

    Reconstructing networks from within
    Mapping networks
    Two cheap transfer maps
    Lines and symbols
    The spatial axis
    Cities as borders

    7. Norms and systems

    Actually reading translations
    Leaps of faith
    The will to system
    Subjectless prose
    Where's the gold?

    8. Regimes

    What are regimes?
    Starting from debates
    A regime for twelfth-century Toledo
    A regime for Castilian protohumanism
    A regime for early twentieth-century poetry anthologies
    Translation as a transaction cost

    9. Causes

    Systemic and probabilistic causation
    Transfer as material causation
    Final causes in theories of systems and actions
    Equivalence as formal cause
    Translators as efficient cause
    Multiple causation

    10. Translators

    Translators, not 'the translator'
    Translators can do more than translate
    Translators have personal interests
    Translators can move
    Translators can go by several names

    11. Intercultures

    Where intercultures are hidden
    Translations or translators?
    Strangers and trust
    Interculturality and its negation
    Intercultural professions as a social context
    An alternative basic link
    What is a culture?

    12. Interdisciplinarity

    Personal reasons for pessimism
    A lacking discipline
    Cultural Studies
    Intercultural Studies



    Pym, Anthony

    ... a provocative and intelligent book which represents a model of excellent scholarship. (Edoardo Crisafulli, Perspectives)

    ... an invaluable contribution to the discipline, long overdue (Zuzan Jettmarova, Across Languages and Cultures)

    ... asks many fundamental questions about the present state and future direction of translation theory in addition to being an excellent primmer for research students in translation history. (Michael Cronin, Target)