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Stolze, Radegundis (2011). Übersetzungstheorien. Eine Einführung.

6th Ed. Tübingen: Narr Francke Attempto, pp. 320, €24.90.ISBN: 978-3-8233-6679-9.

Coming from Radegundis Stolze, the author of such works as Die Fachübersetzung (1999) and Hermeneutik und Translation (2003), is a new, 6th and revised edition of Übersetzungstheorien. Eine Einführung. Written in German and extended by five new chapters, this book is a 320-page study of translation theories, targeted not only at translation and philology students, but also at professional translators.

Preceded with a chapter on the historical background of the field of translation, Stolze’s work is further composed of five major parts dealing with the language systems, the texts, the discipline of translation, the translation practice and the translator’s figure. Each of the subsequent 18 subsections is introduced with a summary and followed by an extensive body of text illustrated with quotes and insightful examples. A brief critical comment and a short complementary bibliography of related literature may be found at the end of each chapter. Important definitions and expressions are in bold. The final sections of the book comprise the summary, the bibliography, as well as an all-embracing name- and subject index.

In the preface Stolze explains the rationale behind writing the book and lists some of the aims and objectives of her work. Taking into account the complexity and the interdisciplinary nature of Translation Studies, this book intends to first present and discuss various translation theories in an organised way, as well as to outline any existing correlations and differences between them. Acknowledging the heterogeneity and cultural diversity of approaches to translation, Stolze offers an orientation guide for all those who take interest in learning what translation theory actually is. As the author herself observes, the primary objective of the introductory character was to enhance the readers’ autonomous research initiative.

The first major section entitled Der Blick auf die Sprachsysteme gathers contributions devoted to the relativism theory, the concept of universalism and interlingual transfer, as well as language pair oriented studies. Sapir/Whorf, Catford, House and Newmark are some of the authors referred to in these five chapters.

In the second part (Der Blick auf die Texte) the main focus is on the text. The author presents a compilation of equivalence-, text types-, pragmatics- and literary translation-related issues and quotes, among others, Nida, Koller, Searle and Hermans.

The third section is devoted to the discipline of translation (Der Blick auf die Disziplin). The following three chapters on the related aspects of field theory, the interdisciplinary character of translation and the theory of action provide an overview of approaches represented by Holmes, Snell-Hornby and Vermeer, to name just a few.

The penultimate fourth part is dedicated to translation practice (Der Blick auf das Handeln). In three extensive sub-sections Stolze introduces the functional theory of translation, some major translation problems, as well as the relationship between translation and ideology. References to Reiss/Vermeer, Nord, Tymoczko and many more are made to portrait these issues.

The final fifth section concentrates on the figure of translator (Der Blick auf den Translator). Translation as interpretation, hermeneutics and cognitive aspects of translation theory are discussed in the context of approaches represented among others by Seleskovitch, Paepcke, Krings and Risku.

A thoroughly elaborated and well-structured study, Stolze’s book is a valuable read for all those working in translation environments. The wide range of the topics touched upon and their thoughtful distribution according to five main pillars make it an important volume in the reading list of both students and practitioners.

  • Stolze, Radegundis (1999). Die Fachübersetzung. Tübingen: Narr.
  • (2003). Hermeneutik und Translation. Tübingen: Narr.

Anna Maszerowska, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Centre d’Accessibilitat i Intel·ligència Ambiental de Catalunya (CaiaC)