Chapter published in:Reflections on Translation Theory: Selected papers 1993 - 2014
[Benjamins Translation Library 132] 2017
► pp. 45–54
The empirical status of prescriptivism
Many translators evidently think that translation theory has little to contribute to translation practice. One reason for this view may be the shift to a descriptive approach in recent decades, aiming to describe and explain translations but not directly tell translators how to translate. However, traditional prescriptive guidelines can easily be seen as predictive hypotheses concerning translation effects: translate like this, because otherwise I predict that the client will not like it! Descriptive empirical research on the effects of different kinds of translation choices can produce relevant information for translators.
Keywords: prescriptivism, descriptivism, empiricism, hypothesis, effect