Chapter published in:Reflections on Translation Theory: Selected papers 1993 - 2014
[Benjamins Translation Library 132] 2017
► pp. 167–183
From ‘is’ to ‘ought’
Laws, norms and strategies in Translation Studies
Translation studies need to cater for both description and evaluation. This can be achieved via the study of translation norms. The norms governing translation are: (a) professional norms concerning the translation process (= norms of accountability, communication and target-source relation); and (b) expectancy norms concerning the form of the translation product, based on the expectations of the prospective readership. While general translation laws account for the behaviour of translators in general, normative laws describe the translation behaviour of a subset of translators, namely, competent professionals, who establish the norms. Normative laws originate in rational, norm-directed strategies which are observed to be used by professionals. These laws are empirical, spatio-temporally falsifiable, probabilistic, predictive and explanatory.
Keywords: norm theory, law, strategy, professional, Jodl, ethics, explanation