The current reintroduction of the concept of ‘literal translation’ is an important development for two main reasons. Firstly, it has led to a range of intriguing empirical findings. Secondly, this revival exemplifies a more profound development in the field. This paper argues that the trajectory of this concept is one example of how cognitively oriented explanatory models are driving an integration of product- and process-based approaches to translational phenomena. In order to better understand this development and to investigate its potential to change Translation Studies, the paper first provides a brief historical overview and then proceeds to decompose the concept into key constituent parts. Two constituent concepts will be used as the basis for identifying the alternative ways in which product and process-oriented approaches have studied the same phenomenon. As a way of moving forward, pertinent theoretical tools from bilingualism research are identified, and concluding remarks focus on implications for the field.
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