Translation in Systems: Descriptive and System-oriented Approaches Explained, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Translation in Systems

Descriptive and System-oriented Approaches Explained, 1st Edition

By Theo Hermans


196 pages

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Paperback: 9781900650113
pub: 1999-04-01
Hardback: 9781138135895
pub: 2016-02-01
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315760469
pub: 2014-04-08
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The notion of systems has helped revolutionize translation studies since the 1970s. As a key part of many descriptive approaches, it has broken with the prescriptive focus on what translation should be, encouraging researchers to ask what translation does in specific cultural settings. From his privileged position as a direct participant in these developments, Theo Hermans explains how contemporary descriptive approaches came about, what the basic ideas were, and how those ideas have evolved over time. His discussion addresses the fundamental problems of translation norms, equivalence, polysystems and social systems, covering not only the work of Levý, Holmes, Even-Zohar, Toury, Lefevere, Lambert, Van Leuven-Zwart, Dhulst and others, but also giving special attention to recent contributions derived from Pierre Bourdieu and Niklas Luhmann. An added focus on practical questions of how to investigate translation (problems of definition, description, assessment of readerships, etc.) makes this book essential reading for graduate students and indeed any researchers in the field. Hermans' account of descriptive translation studies is both informed and critical. At the same time, he demonstrates the strength of the basic concepts, which have shown considerable vitality in their evolution and adaptation to the debates of the present day.

Table of Contents

Preamble: Mann's Fate

1. An Invisible College


Invisible Colleges

Manipulation College?

2. Lines of Approach

'Diagnostic rather than hortatory'

Decisions, Shifts, Metatexts

A Disciplinary Utopia

3. Points of Orientation

4. Undefining Translation

5. Describing Translation

First Attempts


Real Readers


Comparative Practice

6. Working with Norms

Decisions and Norms

Toury's Norms

Chesterman's Norms

Norm Theory

Studying Norms

7. Beyond Norms


Translation as Index


Historicizing Theory

8. Into Systems

Polysystem's Sources

Polysystem's Terms

Polysystems in Action

Polysystem's Limitations

9. More Systems?

Mass Communication Maps

System, Ideology and Poetics

Translation as Field and Habitus

10. Translation as System

Expectations Structure

Translation as a Social System

Self-reference and Description

11. Criticisms

12. Perspectives

About the Series

Translation Theories Explored

Translation Theories Explored is a series designed to engage with the range and diversity of contemporary translation studies. Translation itself is as vital and as charged as ever. If anything, it has become more plural, more varied and more complex in today\'s world. The study of translation has responded to these challenges with vigour. In recent decades the field has gained in depth, its scope continues to expand and it is increasingly interacting with other disciplines. The series sets out to reflect and foster these developments. It aims to keep track of theoretical developments, to explore new areas, approaches and issues, and generally to extend and enrich the intellectual horizon of translation studies. Special attention is paid to innovative ideas that may not as yet be widely known but deserve wider currency.

Individual volumes explain and assess particular approaches. Each volume combines an overview of the relevant approach with case studies and critical reflection, placing its subject in a broad intellectual and historical context, illustrating the key ideas with examples, summarizing the main debates, accounting for specific methodologies, achievements and blind spots, and opening up new perspectives for the future. Authors are selected not only on their close familiarity and personal affinity with a particular approach but also on their capacity for lucid exposition, critical assessment and imaginative thought. The series is aimed at researchers and graduate students who wish to learn about new approaches to translation in a comprehensive but accessible way.

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