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Gile, Daniel, Hansen, Gyde and Pokorn, Nike (ed.) (2010). Why Translation Studies Matters.

Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 269, pp. Vol. 88. $135. 90€.  ISBN 978 90 272 2434 7

Why Translation Studies matters is a volume that compiles papers of different authors about this theme and it is edited by Daniel Gile, Gyde Hansen and Nike K. Pokorn. The book consists of 6 parts, a ‘Preface’ by the editors, a ‘Name index’ and a ‘Concept index.’ The book is volume 88 in the Benjamins Translation Library (BTL) and volume 6 in the European Society for Translation Studies (EST) Subseries.

The ‘Preface’ is where the editors established which will be the topics that the authors will deal with. Topics contributed by the authors range from Translation (training/studies), Interpreting, Society and other disciplines, such as Psychology. This ‘Preface’ is followed by the six parts that constitute the heart of this book.

Part 1 called ‘Does TS matter?’ is composed by the following two chapters: ‘Why interpreting studies matters’ by Franz Pöchhacker and ‘What matters to Translation Studies? On the role of public Translation Studies’ by Kaisa Koskinen. In this part, both authors, demand to whom interpreting/translation studies might matter and if, in fact, both studies matter.

Part 2, ‘Translation and society’, divided into five chapters, is assigned to translation in the social context. In ‘Translators as cultural mediators: Wish or reality? A question for Translation Studies’ David Limon approaches the translations’ proces/product as intercultural mediation. Carmen Camus Camus’ paper, ‘Censorship in the translations and pseudo-translations of the West,’ take us to the Franco era in Spain, where translations were extremely under control and mostly, censured because of the the dictatorship. Along the same lines, one of the book’s editors, Nike K. Pokorn, makes a study of the Slovene translation of Felix Salten’s Bambi as a tool full of the communist ideology addressed to Slovene children (1950). Manipulation is also the focus of Yvonne Lindqvist’s paper, ‘Manipulating the matricial norms: A comparison of the English, Swedish and French translations of La caverna de las ideas by José Carlos Somoza.’ In ‘Knowledge in Translation Studies and translation practice: Intellectual capital in modern society,’ Hanna Risku, Angela Dickinson and Richard Pircher, stress the importance of knowledge management in the business world nowadays.

The longest part of the book is constitued by Part 3 ‘Language issues.’ This part, formed by six chapters, starts with ‘Is Translation Studies going Anglo-Saxon? Critical comments on the globalization of a discipline,’ where Mary Snell-Hornby shows up the negative comments about the dominant role of English in the academic manuscripts about TS. ‘Slowakisch: Brückensprache zur slawischen Welt? Möglichkeiten und Grenzen einer kleinen EU-Sprache,’ by Martina Vankúšová, focusses on the difficulties choosing one of the Slavonic languages as bridge language in EU-institutions. Rachel Weissbroad’s ‘Translation Studies and mass media research’ paper seeks to show the possible contribution of TS to mass media research. Picking up the Slavonic languages’ theme by Martina Vankúšová, ‘Register shifts in translations of popular fiction from English into Slovene’ by Marija Zlatnar Moe shows us why many contemporary bestsellers haven’t been successful in Slovenia. ‘Getting the ACCENT right in Translation Studies,’ by Ian A. Williams, deals with corpus in TS. The last chapter of this part, ‘Die Kirche im Dorf oder die Regierung im Wald lassen: Zum Übersetzungsproblem der Namen von Ämtern und Ähnlichem für Nachrichtenzwecke im Medium Radio’ by Dieter Hermann Schmitz, hightlights the significance of TS mainly when we’re translating proper nouns for radio broadcast.

Part 4, ‘Assessment and training’,  is assigned to the translation practice/training and it is formed by these three chapters: ‘Magnifying glasses modifying maps: A role for translation theory in introductory courses’ by Heloísa Pezza Cintrão, ‘Effects of short intensive practice on interpreter trainees’ performance’ by Magdalena Bartłomiejczyk and ‘Corpora in translator training: A program for an eLearning course’ by Kerstin Kunz, Sara Castagnoli and Natalie Kübler.

Unlike last parts, Part 5 is charged to consider translation and interpreting studies in relation to other disciplines, in this case, ‘Psychology’. The chapters that compose this part are: ‘Psycholinguistik, Übersetzungswissenschaft und Expertiseforschung im Rahmen der interdisziplinären Forschung’ by Caroline Lehr, ‘Interpreting Studies and psycholinguistics: A posible synergy effect’ by Agnieszka Chmiel and ‘fMRI for exploring simultaneous interpreting’ by Barbara Ahrens, Eliza Kalderon, Christoph M. Krick and Wolfgang Reith.

Part 6 ‘Postscript’ is the last part of the book. It contains only one chapter ‘Why Translation Studies matters: A pragmatist’s viewpoint’, where the author, Daniel Gile, one of the editors of the book, tries to prove why TS matters giving examples such as scientific and social contributions.

Much have been said about translation, but Why Translation Studies Matters is more than a book of TS. It doesn’t describe only the process of translation/interpreting, it deals with TS in different contexts (social, psychological, historical). This book is addressed to a general audience. Nevertheless, it is highly recommended for all teachers, students and researchers on TS. German knowledge is also required. The structure of the book favours the reading. Despite the specialized topics that are contained in this book, all the papers are very accessible to its potential readers. It is a book entitled with a question and after reading each paper, one has enough reasons to answer that question, because translation really matters. That’s actually what all authors have argued in all their brilliant contributions. This book let us reflect about the situation of TS and it encourages us to continue researching in this exciting field. 

Concepción Mira Rueda
Universidad de Málaga /