Chapter published in:Reflections on Translation Theory: Selected papers 1993 - 2014
[Benjamins Translation Library 132] 2017
► pp. 295–303
Universalism in Translation Studies
It is sometimes said that the way to develop current translation theory is to look at specifically non-Euro-centric and non-Western approaches and learn from them. Against such a position I take a Popperian view. I argue that this proposal is flawed because it commits the genetic fallacy, where an idea or hypothesis is assessed according to its origin. Rather, any hypothesis should be tested as widely as possible, regardless of where it comes from. This includes taking account of the context of discovery. I illustrate my main point with reference to some basic conceptualizations of translation (such as the transfer metaphor), so-called translation universals, and the debate about whether translation studies should have a standardized terminology.
Keywords: hypothesis testing, metaphor, universals, generalization, terminology, Popper