Still Invisible? Visiting and Revisiting Venuti

Hi everyone, after attending a seminar entitled ‘Domestication vs Foreignisation revisited’ a few days ago, I thought I’d share some of the interesting insights that I picked up as well as giving a couple of my own thoughts on the topic.

The seminar was given by Terry Hale of the University of Hull, a man with an astounding array of experience in translation and publishing and, as one of my MA lecturers back in the day, a man who is something of a translation hero of mine.

As the title suggests (for those who are familiar with his work), the seminar was based around developing a deeper understanding of Lawrence Venuti’s seminal 1995 The Translator’s Invisibility – an absolute must-read for all translators as it is the text that put translation studies on the map and shaped our understanding of the subject today.

Terry is in fact a good friend of Larry’s – as he calls him – and was instrumental in Venuti’s reception here in England. He wrote a fantastic review of Invisibility for the Times Literary Supplement at the time of publication (I haven’t been able to find a copy online unfortunately) and was even included on the back cover of Venuti’s excellent 1998 The Scandals of Translation with this quote:

[O]ne of the most provocative and far-reaching books to be published in the field of Translation Studies in recent years. Lawrence Venuti has proved himself a cultural commentator of the very first order. This book should be required reading for all those engaged in the humanities.

So who better to take a retrospective look at what The Translator’s Invisibility has to offer?!

While I don’t want to go over the book’s contents in too much detail here (I did write a brief overview in a previous post), the key contribution to come from The Translator’s Invisibility is Venuti’s new theory of translation, formulated around the basis of hermeneutics, which builds upon largely philosophical ideas from Friedrich Schleiermacher and Antoine Berman to distinguish between ‘foreignising’ and ‘domesticating’ types of translation in order to forward his ideas of deviation from dominant linguistic forms.

Venuti laments the domesticating strategies that prevail throughout Western literary translation and render texts as fluent, readable target language pieces, smoothing over the uniqueness of the foreign language that he seeks to retain. According to Venuti, his foreignising strategy allows the disturbing and stimulating effects of translation to be shown in the domestic setting and follows Berman’s idea that a bad translation negates the foreignness of the text.

While that’s the basic gist of it, however, Terry was able to provide a more nuanced appraisal of Venuti’s work by integrating a highly developed understanding of his background. Interesting snippets include how Venuti’s own personal life provided the basis for his Utopian ethics and how his interest in translation and ideology can be traced back to his PhD thesis Our Halcyon Dayes, which focuses on prerevolutionary English texts without even mentioning translation.

Indeed, it was within the Caroline period that Venuti first discovered these ‘fluent’ tendencies in translation that later formed the basis of Invisibility and led him to argue that every text since roughly 1600 has potentially been corrupted, pandering to the lowest common denominator of a readership wanting texts that simply uphold their own ideological views rather than challenging them.

This effect is achieved by selecting texts that fit within dominant ideologies or even by altering the ideology within the text, and this fact is key to understanding Venuti’s goals. His main aim was to demonstrate how every text we have ever read could have been politically, socially or sexually censored while suggesting a strategy (foreignisation) that leaves this ideology in tact. Ultimately, while Venuti demonstrates on numerous occasions that this process of domestication (and ideological shifting) is taking place in translation, he never quite fully demonstrates that translation is the key to unlocking ideology.

Perhaps even more interesting than these insights, however, is the fact that one of Venuti’s key influences remains largely unheralded. While everyone links Venuti’s thought with that of Schleiermacher due to the obvious equivalence between the two (Schleiermacher’s key contribution to translation is summarised by the quote: “Either the translator leaves the writer in peace as much as possible and moves the reader toward him; or he leaves the reader in peace as much as possible and moves the writer toward him.”), the French Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser receives little mention despite having a huge influence on Venuti’s writing.

Althusser was Venuti’s intellectual hero and all of his thought on ideology stems from Althusser’s conception of ‘symptomatic reading’ – problematising a text to uncover ideology, something that Venuti is so good at. Furthermore, Althusser’s influence can be clearly felt in the Marxist terminology that Venuti employs. While a basis in Marxism in itself is not a problem, the way in which his use of Marxist language renders the text impenetrable and ambiguous in places certainly is. Indeed, Invisibility is already an extremely heavy text and the addition of Marxist terminology only serves to complicate matters further as well as sacrificing a degree of credibility as interest in these theories has subsequently subsided.

More worrying, however, is Venuti’s intellectualism and exclusion of non-literary translation, which dictate that the technical translator cannot realistically follow Venuti’s ideas at all given the economic concerns and client demands foregrounded in the professional setting.

Venuti is in the fortunate position of being able to translate with a degree of cultural experimentation rather than bending to commercial constraints and publisher demands as would probably be the case with an inexperienced translator desperate to give a good impression.

Indeed, in one of very few cases of negative reception that his work received he is criticised for this very focus on literary translation and supposedly more legitimate, ‘high brow’ texts. As Anthony Pym suggests in his review of Invisibility: “As long as the translations are kept distant from the masses’ cheap understanding, the professors will be employed to read and talk about those translations,” thus stressing the importance of Venuti’s own continued visibility in academia.

While we cannot underestimate the value of Venuti’s contributions, as modern-day freelance translators we are still left questioning what it really offers us. Ultimately, the more you agree with Venuti’s damning verdict on ‘fluent’ translation strategies, the more galling it is to have zero power in changing this state of affairs (this is something that Terry alluded to in saying that the focus on translators is perhaps misplaced in Venuti’s work, as it is the publishers and decision-makers who have a much greater – yet perhaps still inconsequential – degree of control).

Overall, the fact that we are still talking about Venuti’s work 20 years down the line (perhaps less so these days but still a considerable amount, as demonstrated by recent republications of Invisibility) is both a tribute to the enduring power of his writing and a condemnation of the lack of progress that has been made since. The situation hasn’t changed and neither has our outlook on translation and translation theory. Until something major happens, however, Invisibility remains the key text for understanding what really goes on in the world of translation.

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Using Corpora in Your Translation Work

I trust everyone out there in translation world is doing well having enjoyed a restful Easter break! Today I wanted to share a few practical tips that I’ve developed from within a specific area of translation studies in the hope that they will prove useful to you too. The area in question is corpus-based translation studies, a fascinating sub-category of the discipline that I’m not hugely familiar with but one that I have explored enough to glean these useful tips to apply to my day-to-day work.

In this particular context, the word ‘corpus’ – coming from the Latin for ‘body’ (and with its lovely plural of ‘corpora’) – simply refers to a large and structured set of texts (nowadays usually electronically stored and processed) used to carry out statistical analysis and check occurrences or validate linguistic rules within a specific language territory. These days, corpora are often found at the root of machine translation technology, including Google Translate – something I’ve previously explored on my blog.

In general, a corpus may contain texts in a single language (monolingual corpus) or text data in multiple languages (multilingual corpus). Multilingual corpora that have been specially formatted for side-by-side comparison are called aligned parallel corpora. A few free online corpora out there include the BNC (British National Corpus), the Spanish corpus CREA and the corpus of written Italian, CORIS.

For translation studies, meanwhile, the modern translator’s capacity to process information more quickly and easily than ever before has led to vast developments in this area. Indeed, the problem now is that although we can find information easily, we need to ensure that it is reliable and correct within a specific context and this is where corpora and concordancing software play an important role.

While I don’t want to delve too far into the technical side of things as the practical tips below don’t necessarily require any in-depth knowledge of the area, for anyone looking to get better acquainted with what research in this area involves, I’d highly recommend giving Maeve Olohan’s ‘Introducing Corpora in Translation Studies’ a read. The book works from a basis of Descriptive Translation Studies and analyses the worth of (as you’d imagine) corpora in translation studies. While asserting that contrastive translation studies alone doesn’t take the translation act or its sociocultural contexts (ideology etc.) into account, the author advocates combining the quantitative data provided by corpora with qualitative findings from studying the texts more closely.

Using corpora as a style guide or terminology checker

Based on my own (fairly limited) research into the area, the primary application of corpora that I initially implemented into my work was the method of constructing a ‘DIY corpus’ to carry out statistical analysis in fields within which I was not 100% comfortable.

One of the major aims of this method was to develop my knowledge of medical translation when I first started exploring it as a specialism. In this particular case, I constructed an English monolingual corpus of medical journal entries available in open-access online journals in order to gain a firm understanding of the kind of style expected of medical writing and to provide statistical backing for the selection of particular terms or phrases in translation. Subsequently, I analysed the constructed corpus by using the concordancing software AntConc, a freeware program that allows the user to search a body of text for collocations, the frequency of words and word clusters.

In practice, when producing a translation, I would cross-check my English renderings with the corpus (i.e. searching for a particular word or phrase within the texts) to highlight how common/uncommon a particular phrase or term was and what contexts it could be used in. Take, for instance, this simple example: while a term such as ‘significativement’ in a French ST could be adequately translated in various contexts as ‘significantly’, ‘frequently’ or ‘strongly’, by using the corpus and concordancing software you can pinpoint the most fitting synonym for this exact text type and context. As such, compared to dictionaries or glossaries, which often just provide word lists and are unable to take context into account, such ‘DIY corpus’ results provide unparalleled contextual and statistical backing for a given choice.

In general, it is thought that reliable statistical patterns will emerge from a corpus containing 100,000 or more words and, while this figure initially sounds daunting, if texts in the area are readily available – as if the case with medical texts, for example – the process is not overly time-consuming and the positive impact it has on a translation project ensures that its construction is completely justified. Not all topics or languages are so readily available, however, and the relevance and reliability of documents does need to be carefully assessed before adding them to the corpus. Why not give it a go?

The internet as a corpus

Frankly, however, despite representing an excellent way to find your footing in a new specialist area, it is simply not practical to construct a 100,000-word corpus every single time you have to tackle an unfamiliar genre. Fortunately there is another, more user-friendly way of implementing corpora into your daily work.

Rather than going through the extended process outlined above, it is possible to achieve a similar effect using the internet as a ready-made corpus for a whole range of topics. The most effective method that I have found involves using Google as a makeshift style guide when working for a particular site or within a particular site’s stylistic parameters. For example, If you were looking to produce an English text in-line with the general style adopted on the BBC’s website, you can simply type a specific phrase into Google accompanied by ‘site:bbc.co.uk’ (or whatever site it happens to be) and the results will let you determine whether the word/phrase is commonly used, and in what specific context.

Say you wanted to see whether the US English spelling of the word ‘specialise’ is ever used on the BBC’s site, for instance: by typing “specialize” site:bbc.co.uk (the quotation marks are important to find only that exact spelling) into Google, it takes just a few clicks to conclude that the British English spelling is much more common with almost 30,000 hits compared to just under 4,000 for the US spelling. Handy, right?

For me, when I am writing for a particular site or translating documents along similar lines to previously produced texts online, there are numerous times when I feel unconvinced by a certain phrase or sentence structure and like to use this method to ensure that I’m fulfilling the intended style, it’s a kind of guiding hand when proofing your own work.

Enjoy!

Exploring Translation Studies Online: Where to start?

With the debate raging on as to whether or not an academic background is a necessity for today’s translator (you can read my take on the subject here), an increasing number of translators are taking the plunge and working towards those translation-specific qualifications or at least considering getting a grip on the academic side of the our profession.

However, if you’re looking into the area and don’t want to immediately splash out on an extensive reading list, where do you start once you’ve ploughed through the valuable nuggets that Wikipedia has to offer on the subject?

While translation studies as a discipline is gradually increasing its online presence in this digital age, it is still relatively difficult to find useful resources among the masses of websites that skirt around the subject. As such, here are my top five online translation studies resources to map out a few key starting points that will hopefully provide invaluable insights for both experienced translators and those completely new to the wonderful world of translation alike while saving you the hassle of trawling the web.

Anthony Pym’s Youtube channel

https://www.youtube.com/user/AnthonyPym/

What better place to start than with a leading figure in translation studies interviewing other leading figures in the discipline? That’s exactly what you get with Anthony Pym’s Youtube channel. Pym, current president of the European Society for Translation Studies, has clearly put a lot of effort into making the discipline more accessible and the interviews in particular provide an ideal way of exploring a range of key ideas. Also included on the channel are explorations of the different theories within translation and a whole collection of fascinating lectures.

Meanwhile, Pym’s website too is something of a treasure trove of information as he has made much of his previous research available for free online. While reading only one scholar’s take on the subject can result in a biased view of the discipline, the quality of Pym’s work means that it is worth really taking advantage of the resources on offer in conjunction with other research.

Fondazione San Pellegrino’s Youtube channel

https://www.youtube.com/user/fuspit/videos?flow=grid&view=0

Along the same lines as Anthony Pym’s channel, the Fondazione San Pellegrino have uploaded a vast collection of excellent interviews and talks given by leading figures in the discipline (in both Italian and English) that are well worth a watch.

Jeremy Munday’s ‘Introducing Translation Studies’ site

http://www.routledge.com/cw/munday-9780415584890/

Another leading figure in the discipline, Munday’s companion site to his 2001 book of the same name is perfect for anyone looking to get to grips with the development of thought within translation studies. The site includes video discussions of each chapter from the author himself, suggested further reading, external links and even multiple choice quizzes to test your translation studies knowledge.

Online Journals

Journals provide the most telling representation of current trends within a discipline and therefore remain a key area to explore. A good place to start when looking for online translation journals is on Mona Baker’s website where the author of ‘In Other Words’ (thetextbook of choice for translation courses these days) has included a fairly comprehensive list of translators’ associations, translation journals and publishers in the field.

And, while many of the more famous journals like Translation Studies and The Translator require a subscription to access the texts, there are still many open-access journals out there that provide quality, free content. Two such examples are the New Voices in Translation Studies journal and the University of Helsinki’s English studies electronic journal that both provide great articles. Finally, one newly-formed translation journal that has fully embraced the digital age we live in is Translation: A transdisciplinary journal. Their website is a bit more user-friendly than the rather cluttered standard layout that can accompany journals and, while you do have to pay for the core articles, certain content (such as reviews, introductions and interviews) is available for free. It’s certainly a project worth following.

Blogs

When producing a list of the best free online resources on offer, it would be extremely careless of me to overlook the power of blogging. There are several excellent blogs out there addressing the topic of translation theory – Aston University’s blog or the About Translation blog to name but two – and I’ve tackled the topic a couple of times in the past myself too. So, if you’re looking for somewhere familiar to start you off, why not check out my brief introduction to translation theory.

Hopefully these few resources will help you get started and hopefully they will equally inspire a few of you to delve further into translation studies literature. If there are any other resources that you feel should be included, please get in touch to let me know!

Finally, although it’s not specifically translation studies material, here’s a bonus link to several free e-books on translation, terminology and linguistics. Who doesn’t love a free e-book?! Enjoy!

http://termcoord.eu/publications/e-books/

7 thoughts from the 7th EST Congress

At the end of the last month I had the good fortune to travel to Germersheim in Germany for the 7th EST (European Society for Translation Studies) Congress and, as my first time both in Germany and at an academic conference, it was a wonderful, new experience for me.
I got to spend my days listening to a renowned cast of scholars discussing an incredible range of topics within translation studies, (briefly) experience a new culture, and enjoy some late summer sun before returning to rainy England – not bad at all.

Germersheim itself is a tiny town with a population of about 20,000. To put this into perspective, we were told early on that the arrival of all the conference-goers had increased the town’s population by around 2.5%! A strange venue for such a big conference perhaps, with the international nature of proceedings seemingly suited to a venue with better travel connections, but it certainly worked well enough.

While I began writing this post immediately upon my return, with all of the experiences fresh in my mind, a busy schedule has ensured that I’ve had to keep my ideas bottled up for a few weeks. But anyway – better late than never – here are my 7 most enduring impressions from the event:

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1) Translation studies is huge

Ok, perhaps this shouldn’t be a surprise to me or anyone else in the industry, but attending a conference such as this exemplifies how far-reaching translation studies and the act of translation really are. Being in a country with little knowledge of the language (my German was pathetic) and relying on translations to get by was a potent reminder of the importance of the profession. Beyond that though, listening to the first keynote speech (given in German) being instantly relayed into English by two interpreters – with concepts that I could barely understand in my own language translated with ease – really stood as a reminder of the skill and sheer excellence of members of our community. Furthermore, listening to talks on topics as diverse as patent translation and translation in the Gulag emphasise the fact that translation is everywhere.

2) Conferences offer unparalleled opportunities to network

While this is another point perhaps stating the obvious, it is certainly something that can’t go unmentioned. While wandering around the university campus I was able to discuss my own ideas on translation in some detail with the EST president – and one of the world’s leading translation studies scholar’s – Anthony Pym (a fully fledged translation celebrity in my head) as well as mixing with colleagues, translators and academics of all backgrounds and nationalities as the venue came to resemble a kind of real-life Twitter.

My personal highlight, however, was undoubtedly being able to meet the only published translator into English of work by the French philosopher I had painstakingly studied for my MA dissertation. Being able to discuss the challenges such a translation posed with one of the only other people in the world to have attempted the same feat is quite a triumph of networking.

3) Poster sessions are a great idea

The use of a poster as a means of allowing lots of up-and-coming authors to display a succinct summary of their work is a great idea. Amidst a packed schedule, this allowed many more participants beyond the set panels and only served to further highlight the diversity of the discipline. The walls were lined with enough posters to attract the interest of any translation enthusiast and I found myself drawn to one poster detailing a study on the typical features of a professional translator; apparently, being young, male and university educated in translation, I am about as far from the norm as possible. (One other poster that really caught my eye was one about the translation of film titles in Greece and I really wish I had taken a picture…)

4) The divide between practice and theory is still too great

Yet, among the excellent talks, posters and networking opportunities, one pressing question kept nagging at me: where is the link to the actual profession of translation? Being a freelance translator with a huge interest in translation theory, I feel a part of both the academic and professional sides of translation and, while it is perhaps easier to justify the professional’s tendency to deal only with issues relating to their work as a translator given the obvious importance of their livelihood, it is harder to find an excuse for translation scholarship to neglect such an area – surely the point of all this talk about translation is to directly benefit the actual translation task?

Aside from the poster mentioned above there were very few direct references to the translation profession (I believe there was just one panel dedicated to scientific and technical translation) and ultimately, the divide between translation as a profession and translation studies as a discipline remains too prominent, with neither side really looking towards the other and no easy answers available. For me, the responsibility to reconcile this difference lies within translation scholarship, where researchers should perhaps take a look at the work that they are doing and question what it really offers to translation.

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5) Sitting and listening is hard work

This is something I thought I was prepared for as I headed off for the conference after everyone in the know had told me that conferences are tiring, but I still went back to the hotel every evening ready to collapse! Actively engaging with talks on a huge range of challenging topics for the best part of three hours in the morning and then again in the afternoon is hard work, not to mention the discussions that go on in between. Put simply, if it wasn’t for the copious amounts of tea and coffee on offer throughout the days, I don’t think I would’ve made it!

6) I can’t wait to go to another conference

The title is self-explanatory but this is exactly the kind of lasting impression that one should have when heading home from a conference. As I took to the road, my enthusiasm for the subject was given a boost, I was looking forward to emailing new contacts about exciting projects and my desire to attend another academic or professional conference at the first available opportunity far outweighed the exhaustion that was slowly catching up with me.

7) German stereotypes aren’t always true

Finally, and as a bit of fun, I have to say that while I did enjoy some lovely traditional German dishes during my time there, one of the other, most enduring German stereotypes wasn’t at all fully reflected during my few days in the country. Upon landing at Frankfurt airport, I was greeted with a rail system in utter chaos. With trains arriving and departing late, or not at all, carriages packed tighter than you can imagine and signs bearing the wrong information, it was all very far from the ultra-efficient Germany I’d come to imagine. Ultimately, it was all good fun and with the return journey running perfectly smoothly, I’m still left wondering whether I just managed to catch Germany on a bad day..? Ciao!

Talking Translation – Reflecting on Reflective Practice

I was going to say that this post will be a little bit different but, as I seem to say that at the start of most of my posts, I guess that this could be entirely expected.

This post is based around the link below (click the Soundcloud image) which heads over to a podcast from ‘Transcast’, a collection of podcasts and recordings relating to different aspects of the field of translation. This particular podcast involves a discussion between Dr. Sarah Maitland, Dr. Fruela Fernandez – Translation Studies professors at the University of Hull – and myself, centring on the importance of reflective practice in translation training and professional work, and I just wanted to quickly run through a few key ideas here before leaving you to listen to the podcast.

Reflective practice, for me, represents one of the best working methods available for the practicing translator as well as providing a rare opportunity to integrate theory and practice, which remains a key issue in the discipline. Reflecting on your own work as you translate forces you to question and to justify your translatorial decisions in relation to an end goal (a translation brief in this case) and this in turn allows a deeper understanding of your own working process and a better grasp of your areas of strength and weakness.

But beyond this added certainty in your choices, the act of questioning and justification also leads to a greater level of replicability in your work: I may be able to unwittingly produce the best translation in the world, but without an understanding of the processes leading to it, chances are that I won’t be able to reach this same high standard on a consistent basis, something of key importance to the practicing translator.

On a different level it also stands as an extremely useful pedagogical tool in the way that it allows assessors to gain a valuable insight into the creative process that a student follows in their work as well as their overall understanding of the discipline.

The reflection does, however, need to be based upon a solid knowledge of the underlying principles involved in translation in order to soundly justify decisions. This knowledge can be drawn from professional experience, translation theory, hermeneutics or many other fields.

Ultimately, if you can amply justify a decision to yourself, then you can be much more certain of the quality of your work and can assuredly justify that same decision to a client. Anyway, listen to the podcast and reflect on considering reflecting in your own work. Ciao for now!

Reading up on translation: 5 mini reviews

There’s something a little different in store for my post today with an attempt to give a little something back: over the course of the last few years, I’ve spent many long hours poring over books of all shapes and sizes to satisfy my need for all things translation and I thought a few mini-reviews of what I consider to be the best introductory texts would be a great way to try to provoke a little bit of interest in the field.

Personally, I find translation theory fascinating and have read much of what translation studies as a discipline has to offer, even to the extent of reading Palumbo’s ‘Key Terms in Translation Studies’ (essentially a glossary of the key terms in the discipline) from cover to cover. If it sounds like a far-fetched claim, it is important to consider that, as a fairly young discipline, the amount of literature on the subject isn’t actually that big and can be covered in a few months of intensive study.

Of course, the list is not comprehensive by any means; despite my constant scouring of the market for new literature, there remain texts that I maybe should have come across and if you can recommend anything I may have overlooked, or anything that you think will be of interest, then please leave a comment or drop me a line on Twitter.

The reviews only scratch the surface of what each of these great books has to offer, but hopefully it is enough to whet the appetite:

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Found in Translation – Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche

I thought I would start with one of the more recent additions to my bookshelf, and a book that is currently making waves in translation circles following its release last year and many positive reviews. ‘Found in Translation’ is a collection of anecdotes on the subject which are both accessible and hugely entertaining. Anyone with even a passing interest in languages or translation will find it fascinating and it is the perfect place to start if you want to indulge a potential interest in the area. While the bold claim in the blurb describing it as ‘by far the most meaningful book on the subject of translation that I have ever seen’ may be going a bit far, this book takes steps to put translation on the map and that is exactly what the profession and the discipline need.

Is that a fish in your ear – David Bellos

This book pre-dates ‘Found in Translation’ by a year or two and is written to largely the same end goal: another collection of anecdotes which aim to inspire interest in the field, and it is one that really delivers. Written with a sense of humour that makes it a joy to read, Bellos provides an insight into how translation has shaped the world we live in and how it affects our daily lives. Criticised as being slightly inaccessible for the uninitiated while also lacking adequate substance for more academic tastes, it may not be as suited to testing a tentative curiosity as the previous book, but the author’s style and the content actually make this my (marginal) pick of the two.

In Other Words – Mona Baker

Rather than a collection of anecdotes on the subject, this book is more scholarly in nature and stands as an invaluable companion to the budding translator getting to grips with the subject. There are other introductions to the discipline out there (Susan Bassnett’s ‘Translation Studies’ is the go-to book for many people looking to get into the field and has an excellent, detailed history of the discipline) and other introductory textbooks (Peter Newmark’s ‘Textbook of Translation’ and Jeremy Munday’s ‘Introduction to Translation Studies’ among the best known) out there, but Baker’s coursebook is an amalgamation of the best aspects of each of these and provides a substantial guide to the challenges that translation offers, all coupled with practical examples which serve to help the new student orientate themselves in an alien discipline full of terms and ideas that can otherwise seem overwhelming.

The Scandals of Translation – Lawrence Venuti

The name of Lawrence Venuti has become one that goes hand in hand with translation studies as a discipline, and it is his work that forms the core of the canon. While Baker’s book ventures into more scholarly territory, Venuti’s goes far beyond the outskirts and represents the heart of scholarship. This can make it heavy-going for readers looking for something more accessible but with that said, there are very few authors who have managed to show the extents of translation’s power in the globalised world, and this book is absolutely fascinating for anyone interested in the humanities. ‘The Translator’s Invisibility’ is a similarly absorbing read which further develops his theoretical ideas, but I feel that ‘Scandals’ provides just a little more accessibility to merit its inclusion here.

Can Theory Help Translators? – Chesterman and Wagner

The last of the books on the list is a bit of a departure from the others as it doesn’t represent an introduction to the area at all. However, it addresses a question that causes ongoing debate in the field, and a question which I personally have tried to find answers to. There is a clear vacuum between translation theory and practice; many (maybe even most) freelance translators have very little or no knowledge of theory and still manage to do their job to exceptionally high standards, calling into question the necessity of theory. As such, this book throws a theorist and a professional together in an attempt to ascertain whether or not one can help the other and, while ultimately posing more questions than it answers, it is a must read for anyone curious of the link between the two and the benefits of theoretical knowledge.

As mentioned before, please get in touch with suggestions for books that I may have overlooked or books you have enjoyed, I’m always looking for new reads in the area!