From Polarity to Plurality in Translation Scholarship

Abdolla Karimzadeh, Ebrahim Samani


Review of the literature in translation studies shows that translation scholarship can be discussed in 3 Macro-levels including 1) Corpus-based studies, 2) Protocol-based studies, and 3) Systems- based studies. Researchers in the corpus-based studies test the hypothesis about the universals of translation. They also try to identify translation norms and regular linguistic patterns. This scholarship aims at showing that the language of translation is different from that of non-translation. The other purpose is to identify the techniques and strategies adopted by the translators. In protocol –based studies, the researchers study the mental activities and the individual behaviors of the translators while translating. They aim to describe the behavior of professional translators (versus translator trainees) during the process of translation in a bid to identify how they chunk the source text (unit of translation) and to describe how the translation trainees develop their translation competence. These studies are longitudinal for the reason that they aim to investigate the change of intended behaviors in the subjects of the study. Like corpus-based studies, they are experimental and data for analysis are collected by various methods including the translators’ verbal report, keystroke logging, eye tracking, and so on. Recently, in a method called “triangulation”, they combine the above-mentioned methods of data collection to test their hypotheses on a stronger experimental basis. To collect the data, they also employ the methods used in neurology (for example the technology of Electroencephalogram) in order to obtain information on the physiological processes in the brains of the translators while translating. And finally in the systems-based studies, the researchers analyze more extended systems of production, distribution, and consumption of translations and their impacts on the target culture in a specific socio-cultural context. Differentiating these levels does not mean that there is a fragmentation in translation scholarship. Rather translation scholarship despite having pluralistic frameworks is focused on a single object of study. In other words, differentiating these levels is related to the method of research rather than the object of the research. This paper makes an attempt to shed light on the mentioned levels and then to introduce some new areas which have not been discussed widely. It also tries to introduce a systematic framework for historical research of translation based on Pym’s theory of humanizing translation studies and finally to discuss the metaphorical concept of unity in diversity from the vantage point of translation studies.



corpus- based studies; protocol-based studies; system-based studies; experimental studies; historical research of translation; dehumanized translation scholarship; humanized translation scholarship

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