Chapter published in:Reflections on Translation Theory: Selected papers 1993 - 2014
[Benjamins Translation Library 132] 2017
► pp. 71–80
The article casts a critical retrospective glance over Catford’s influential contribution to Translation Studies. Some of the strengths and weaknesses of tying a translation theory to a linguistic theory are discussed, together with the problems of building a deductive theory relying mainly on invented examples. Catford’s evident interest in machine translation is noted, and also his incorporation of pragmatic aspects such as relevance. The distinction drawn between equivalence and correspondence is theoretically important, and his analysis of translation shifts has been highly influential on later work. His definition of translation as textual replacement rather than meaning transfer, and his language-bound concept of meaning itself, have been much debated.
Keywords: Catford, Halliday, linguistics, grammar, shift, equivalence, meaning, data