Translation Studies and Its Turns

Translation Studies and Its Turns

Research, Ideas, Issues

In my blog, I am going to publish fragments of my current research, or share my ideas about what I come across in the publications I read or in the materials I study, or discuss issues in Translation Studies which, I think, call for a discussion. My posts do not claim to be anything more than work in progress and are inevitably of fragmentary nature. I count on my readers and their expertise to fill in the blanks and to contextualize discussions, whenever necessary. All borrowings must be acknowledged.
NB: The posts are published so that the newest one comes first and shown on the main page, therefore the older ones are to be found the section "Previous Posts." The New Testament principle is at work: the first will become the last.

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The Boundary of Translation Profession and Studies

TranslationPosted by Sergey Tyulenev Mon, July 22, 2013 10:52:30
In her article "Connecting the Two Infinite Orders...", Maria Tymoczko states in passing: "...scholars inside and out of translation studies..." (in Theo Hermans (ed.), 2002, Crosscultural Transgressions..., Manchester, UK & Northampton MA: St. Jerome Publishing, p. 14). She then gives two names as examples of such scholars: "Such scholars and theoreticians range from W.V.O. Quine to Homi Bhabha." It is not clear whether 'such' means here both 'insiders' and 'outsiders' or not, because there are no criteria given for who is considered as belonging and who not. If it is by the involvement in translator and interpreter training programmes, "conceived as platforms for the professionalization of occupations that involve linguistic mediation" that people become translation scholars (Sebnem Susam-Saraeva in The Translator, Vol. 18, No. 2 (2012), 149), then neither Quine, nor Bhabha, nor many more including Tymoczko herself would not belong. I doubt though that she considers herself as the one "out of translation studies." So the difference seems to be blurred, the boundary between those inside and those out of translation studies becomes fuzzy and the criterion of being trained in translator and interpreter training programmes does not work. Although now we do have many university programmes specifically training translators and interpreters with some of those students becoming translation scholars with a degree in translation studies, not in CompLit or in linguistics or something similar, training can hardly be considered as the only criterion.
I see in statements like Tymoczko's a trace of territorialism, defining the turf. There are many similar assumptions, implications and explicit statements in TS literature. Apparently, doing translation studies is not sufficient to belong to Translation Studies. This is somewhat strange on the part of a discipline which claims to be an interdiscipline and transdiscipline, etc. Sociologically of course this seems to be clearer: a relatively new discipline, emancipated from its parent disciplines is struggling to secure recognition as a discipline sui generis among adjacent disciplines. This is understandable, but we should be careful not to overdo and throw the baby out with the bathwater. What is at stake is translation studies, not doors with plaques 'Translation Studies'.

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