Publication details [#21674]

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Chapter in book
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As has often been remarked, translation for much of its long history has existed as a practice without a theory, in the sense of any agreed, prescriptive body of rules governing that practice. Paul Ricoeur wrote in 1998 that “la pratique de la traduction reste une operation risquée toujours en quête de sa théorie” (“the practice of translation remains a risky operation which is still in search of its theory”: Ricoeur 2004: 26). But then, much the same may be said of the practice of writing itself. Theories of literature are a relatively new phenomenon, and theories governing other forms of writing – not classed as “literature” but no less vital to human communication – have been more conspicuous b their absence. Just as writers have written, so translators have translated successfully without feeling a need for guidance of theorists. However, European literary culture can give proof of a substantial body of thought about translation reaching far back into pre-Christinan times, and the reflections recorded on the subject may well be termed “theoretical”. This chapter provides a necessarily brief historical survey, and an overview of more recent work.
Source : Based on abstract in book