Stolze, Radegundis. (2008). Übersetzungstheorien. Eine Einführung.
Tübingen: Narr Francke Attempto (5th Edition). 16.00 € ISBN: 978-3-8233-6431-3
Übersetzungstheorien. Eine Einführung is a clear and structured study which introduces many translation theories in their core statements. Translation theories are described according to their relevance to the text and showing cross-connections and contrasts among them.
Stolze’s work must be understood as an introductory manual addressed mainly to German students; not only because it is written in German, but also because it deals essentially with German authors. Due to its readability and its didactic approach, this book can be easily understood by undergraduate students looking for a solid introduction to the topic. Postgraduate students and scholars may also find it useful when looking for a basis for further research in the translation field.
In the foreword of her book, Stolze states that the aim of this book is to offer guidance totranslation and philology students, as well as practitioners, to help them understand what translation theory should really be. In fact, as the author herself also points out, this book does not intend to replace the study of the original sources, but seeks to stimulate further autonomous research.
This handbook was first published in 1994, but it has undergone many editions (1997, 2001, 2005, and 2008). This new edition has been revised and enlarged with four new chapters to show the reader some of the state-of-the-art research trends in the field of translation theories. The didactic approach has been revised, and new references have been updated and added to the bibliography.
With its 285 pages, including a summary, a bibliography, plus an index of authors and key concepts, this book can be considered quite an extensive collection of different theories applied to translation. The book comprises 18 chapters divided in five macro-chapters on the following topics: the language system (Der Blick auf die Sprachsysteme); the text (Der Blick auf die Texte); the discipline (Der Blick auf die Disziplin); the practice (Der Blick auf das Handeln), and the translator (Der Blick auf den Übersetzer). This way of organising contents explains why this book does not offer a chronological view of translation theories, but rather a summary of all them according to these five parameters.
In the first chapter Stolze focuses on the early days of the discipline. It is devoted to describe the concept of translation itself, the historical role of translators, the consideration of translation during the classical times (Greece and Rome), and the Luther’s translation of the Bible (1530) as described in his Sendbrief vom Dolmetscher. As it can be observed, this is quite a big summary starting with the early days of translation to end up with the modern times. The second chapter starts with the contributions to the field made by Wilhelm von Humboldt. The following chapters have to do with the relativist theory, universalism, the equity-related theory, text typologies, the functionalist theory, the field theory, hermeneutics, and cognitive aspects of theory. All of them are systematically described and critically assessed. At the end of every chapter a summary of literature with commentaries provides a complete overview of the topics dealt within the chapter. However, it is also true that some subjects are treated more profoundly than others, and some of the topics included in this book may be understood just as an introduction.
Übersetzungstheorien. Eine Einführung offers an overview of the different forms of reflection on the highly complex activity of translation, for which —according to the author— there is not a single general theory. All in all, this handbook will certainly help translation students to have at their disposal a summary of some of the most important theories of translation from a German perspective.
Eduard Bartoll Teixidor, Universitat Pompeu Fabra