Writings on the subject of translation go far back in history, but translation studies is a relatively new discipline. It came to be recognized as a separate study in the mid of the 20 th century. Translation had long been closely tied to language learning, but with the birth of the new discipline, the primary goal of translation studies has moved away from language learning and marked out the territory of the academic investigation of translation. Translation started to be viewed as a science. Some even suggested that the new discipline be named ‘translatology’.

"The name and nature of translation studies” is a paper published by James Holes (1972,1988), which is generally accepted as the founding statement of the field. In the paper J. Holmes puts forward an overall framework for what translation studies should cover. The translation studies can be divided into:

1. Applied

  • translator training (teaching methods, testing techniques, etc)
  • translation aids (dictionaries, grammars)
  • translation criticism (evaluation of translations)

2. Pure

  • theoretical: General & Partial (medium restricted, area restricted, rank restricted, text type restricted, time restricted, problem restricted )
  • descriptive

The descriptive branch of the ‚pure’ research has three foci:

  • Product-oriented DTS (Descriptive Translation Studies) – it examines existing translations. Description and analysis of an original text and a translated text.
  • Function-oriented DTS – a study of context rather than text. The description of fucnction in the recipient sociocultural situation.
  • Process-oriented DTS – it attempts to examine the mind of a translator.

According to Holmes, the objective of the ‘pure’ branch of translation is as follows:

  1. the description of the phenomena of translation
  2. the establishment of general principles to predict and explain such phenomena.

The results of DTS can be fed into the theoretical branch to evolve either a general theory of translation or partial theories of translation.

Partial theories of translation:

  • Medium-restricted theories subdivide according to translation by human and machine, with addditional subdivisions according to whether the translation is spoken or written or whether it is consecutive or simultaneous.
  • Area-restricted thoeries are restricted to specific languages or cultures.
  • Rank-restricted theories are restricted to a specific level of the word or sentance.
  • Text-type restricted theories analyze specific discourse types or genres e.g. literary texts, technical writings, etc.
  • Time-restricted theories refer to theories limited to specific time frames and periods.
  • Problem-restricted theories refer to specific problems such as equivalence or whether universals of translated language exist.

The very word translation has three different meanings

  1. It can refer to the general subject field.
  2. It can be the final product of the translation process.
  3. It can be the translating process itself.

The translation process can involve changing an original spoken text (source) into a written text (target) in the same language (intralingual translation) or spoken or written text into a spoken or written text in a different language (interlingual translation). Oral translation is usually referred to as interpreting.

Roman Jakobson distinguishes three categories of translation, which are as follows:

  1. Intralingual translation – an interpretation of verbal signs by means of other signs of the same language.
  2. Interlingual translation – an interpretation of linguistic signs by means of some other language.
  3. Intersemiotic translation – an interpretation of verbal signs by means of non-verbal sign systems.

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