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Jeremy Munday (2012). Introducing Translation Studies: Theories and Applications, 3rd Edition.

London and New York: Routledge, pp. 366, £22.99. ISBN: 978-0-415-58489-0 (paperback)

Munday’s Introducing Translation Studies: Theories and Applications, has been immensely successful since its first publication in 2001. The edition reviewed herewith is the third edition of the book, fully revised and including new features whilst capitalising on the strengths that have gained the first edition a prominent position within translator training literature.

Introducing Translation Studies is written with a clear pedagogical agenda in mind and this is reflected in its content, style and structure. It offers a reasonably comprehensive and accessible account of the key paradigms, theories and subfields developed in Translation Studies (TS), thus giving the reader a good flavour of the wealth and breadth of the discipline. In this 3rd edition, theories are applied to an even wider range of languages and an impressive variety of texts. The structure per se is very student-friendly: each chapter is introduced by a succinct definition of the key concepts that will be examined, immediately followed by a list of key texts on the topic(s). After the presentation of the main content, case studies are provided which nicely contextualise and consolidate the concepts introduced. Discussion and research points and further reading can serve as stimuli for in-class debates as well as a basis for individual homework and/or group projects.

What takes the pedagogical value of the book to a completely different level, however, is the companion website1, a feature unique to this 3rd edition. Inter alia, students can benefit from the additional bibliography and the multiple choice questions designed to test the understanding of concepts and theories. Moreover, lecturers may well find useful the resources specifically addressed to them such as the PowerPoint presentations for each chapter and the free access to journal articles. Access to the instructors’ resources is password protected but requesting the login details is a very straightforward process and can be done through the website. Facilitating e-learning and encouraging independent study, the companion website is an excellent addition to the new edition.

Let us now cast a glance at each Chapter:
Chapter 1 begins with an analysis of the very concept of translation and its definition. Then the reader is introduced to the scope of translation studies with the help of the Holmes/Toury map of the discipline. Its merits and limitations are discussed inter alia in the light of the conceptual grid of van Doorslaer, the latter being added to the 3rd edition of the book.

In Chapter 2 Munday offers a detailed historical account of pre 20th century translation theory. In the present edition, this account is enriched by new material on early Chinese and Arabic discourse on translation. Moreover, the author examines the early attempts at a systematic translation theory by Dryden, Dolet and Tytler as well as Schleiermacher’s respect for the foreign.

Chapter 3 explores the thorny concept of equivalence. Here, translatability is placed in a ‘linguistic universalism vs. linguistic determinism’ context. Subsequently, the approaches by Nida, Newmark and Koller are delineated and a balanced discussion of their contribution is offered.

In Chapter 4, Vinay and Darbelnet’s model is described in detail, followed by Catford’s typology of translation shifts. A new section on stylistic shifts and on investigating translation processes has now been incorporated. Although the reference to Gutt (98-99) is very pertinent, students with no background in relevance theory may struggle with certain terms (e.g. contextual effects, cognitive environment) and, here, perhaps, a brief explanation would have been helpful.

In Chapter 5, the reader becomes familiar with the functional theories of translation. Reiss’s text-type approach, Snell-Hornby’s integrated approach, Holz-Mänttäri's theory of translatorial action, Vermeer’s skopos theory and Nord’s translation-oriented text analysis model are presented with their advantages and shortcomings highlighted.

Chapter 6 demonstrates the substantial influence of Hallidayan linguistics on translation studies by examining House’s model of translation quality assessment, aspects of Baker’s bottom-up approach and Hatim and Mason’s approach.

Chapter 7 is dedicated to Even Zohar’s polysystem theory and descriptive translation studies (DTS), including a useful comparison of Toury and Chesterman’s norms as well as other models of DTS such as the Manipulation School.

In Chapter 8 the reader is exposed to cultural and ideological approaches. Inter alia, Munday discusses Lefevere’s approach, gender and translation, as well as postcolonial translation theories, incorporating new material in this 3rd edition.

Chapter 9 investigates translation ethics and the translator’s invisibility in the light of Venuti and Berman. Towards the end, the value of Bourdieu’s sociological approach is outlined.

Chapter 10 offers a selective overview of philosophical approaches, commenting upon Steiner, Pound, Benjamin and Derrida. Inevitably, a plethora of complex philosophical terms are explored which might seem overwhelming for readers with little or no relevant background knowledge. Nevertheless, Munday’s case studies help to concretise some of the abstract concepts.

Chapter 11 has been revised to shed more light on audiovisual translation (AVT). Although the author brings into sharp relief pertinent issues (e.g. intersemiotic coherence, multimodality, fansubbing), the primary focus tends to be on subtitling at the expense of other modes. Also, there is a feeling that the boundaries between subtitling pedagogy and subtitling research are occasionally blurred; in an attempt to demonstrate the prescriptivism which has indeed traditionally characterised AVT research, it is observed that “Díaz-Cintas and Remael [2007] manifest a strong concern for underscoring good practice. Such prescriptivism is far from uncommon in the writing of audiovisual translation” (273). However, one needs to acknowledge that the aforementioned work is a coursebook of subtitling and should be viewed as such. Overall, it seems that the chapter’s structure is somewhat fragmented as, after AVT, Munday moves on to examine localisation and corpus-based translation studies. Perhaps in a subsequent edition of the book, a chapter could be devoted exclusively to AVT where key research in dubbing and the media accessibility modes could be covered, as well.

Finally, the new Chapter 12 of this 3rd edition partly revolves around the idea of “consilience” (296) in TS. What is more, it offers helpful advice on how to carry out research and commentary projects.

Introducing Translation Studies can be rightfully considered an indispensable resource for teachers, students and researchers of translation. In my opinion, catering for such a diverse audience has been one of the greatest achievements of this book, and its 3rd edition does so even more successfully.


  • Díaz Cintas, Jorge and Aline Remael (2007). Audiovisual Translation: Subtitling. Manchester: St. Jerome.

Louisa Desilla
Centre for Translation Studies, University of Surrey

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