Translation studies at the interface of disciplines

Translation studies at the interface of disciplines. Ed. by João Ferreira Duarte, Alexandra Assis Rosa, and Teresa Seruya. (Benjamins translation library 68.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2006. Pp. vi, 207. ISBN 9789027216762. $158 (Hb).

Reviewed by Taras Shmiher, Ivan Franko National University, Ukraine

The papers in this collection, originally presented at a conference at the University of Lisbon in 2002, explore the interdisciplinary nature of translation studies, the transfer and adaptation of contemporary theories for translation research, and the complex interplay of text and context in translation.

Part 1 examines the interdisciplinary nature of translation studies. In ‘Questions in the sociology of translation’ (9–27), Andrew Chesterman sketches translation sociology, which researches the issues of translations-as-products, translators, and the translation process by applying theoretical approaches such as polysytem theory, translation historiography, and critical discourse analysis. Yves Gambier, ‘Pour une socio-traduction’ (29–42), develops the interdisciplinary essence of translation studies and elaborates the fundamentals of translation sociology from translation- and translator-oriented perspectives. In ‘Conciliation of disciplines and paradigms: A challenge and a barrier for future directions in translation studies’ (43–53), M. Rosario Martín Ruano surveys how translation studies can benefit from theoretical integration, despite fears of notional profusion and in‑depth contradictions. Gideon Toury, ‘Conducting research on a “wish-to-understand” basis’ (55–66), reveals the necessity of differentiating knowledge that one  allegedly already has  from knowledge that is still sought. Having analyzed a series of assumptions about textuality, Toury justifies the desiderata for scholarly ethics and research behavior. In ‘Translation as dialogue’ (67–81), Annjo Jorid Klungervik Greenall applies Mikhail Bakhtin’s (The dialogic imagination. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981) dialogism theory to language- and culture-motivated research in translation studies.

Part 2 covers the practical implementation of theoretical models. Reine Meylaerts, ‘Literary heteroglossia in translation: When the language of translation is the locus of ideological struggle’ (85–98), investigates the idea of heteroglossia (i.e. literary language plurality) in French-language translations from 1920s and 1930s Flemish in Belgium. In ‘Defining target text reader: Translation studies and literary theory’ (99–109), Alexandra Assis Rosa examines the functionality of the actual and implied reader for studying translation norms. In ‘Critical language study and translation: The case of academic discourse’ (111–27), Karen Bennett contrasts English and Portuguese discourses of humanities and their different worldviews. She explores the translator’s role from the viewpoint of different ways of configuring knowledge. Matthew Wing-Kwong Leung, ‘The ideological turn in translation studies’ (129–44), examines the renewed focus on the ideological significance of translation and the relevance of critical discourse analysis.

The final part consists of case studies. Li Xia, ‘Institutionalising Buddhism: The role of the translator in Chinese society’ (147–60), overviews early translation activities that influenced the spread of Buddhism in China and accentuates the significance of Xuan Zang’s activities. Concentrated on Portuguese subtitling, in ‘Subtitling reading practices’ (161–68), Maria José Alves Veiga emphasizes the importance, current problematic issues, and required protection of audiovisual translation in European context. Alexandra Lopes’s ‘An Englishman in Alentejo: Crimes, misdemeanours & the mystery of overtranslatability’ (169–84) is dedicated to the phenomenon of overtranslatability. Dionisio Martínez Soler,‘Lembranças e Deslembranças: A case study on pseudo-originals’ (185–96) studies the posthumous collection by the Spanish poet and translator Gabino-Alejandro Carriedo, in which the text cannot hide the truth of lingual origin.