Carol O’Sullivan
Table of contents

Pseudotranslations, or ‘texts which resemble translations’, have referred to a number of different phenomena over the decades. Pseudotranslations may generally be defined as “texts which have been presented as translations with no corresponding source texts in other languages ever having existed – hence no factual ‘transfer operations’ and translation relationships” (Toury 1995: 40). In this definition, Toury follows Anton Popovič, who included in his 1976 taxonomy of translation types ‘fictitious translation’ (1976: 20) whereby an author ‘may publish his original work as a fictitious translation in order to win a wide public, thus making use of the readers’ expectations’. Pseudotranslations tell us, inevitably, much more about the patterns of the receiving culture than about the patterns (faked, imitated or pastiched) of the putative source culture. It is for this reason, and for the questions they raise about the permeability of systems, that pseudotranslations constitute an attractive object of study for Descriptive Translation Studies-oriented research and research grounded in Polysystem Theory; they tell us “about the notions shared by the members of a community, not only as to the status of translated texts, but also as to their most conspicuous characteristics” (Toury 1995: 46).

Full-text access is restricted to subscribers. Log in to obtain additional credentials. For subscription information see Subscription & Price.


Apter, Emily
2005“Translation with No Original; Scandals of Textual Reproduction.” In Nation, Language, and the Ethics of Translation, Sandra Bermann & Michael Wood (eds.), 159–174. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.  TSBGoogle Scholar
Bassnett, Susan
1998“When is a translation not a translation?” In Constructing Cultures: Essays on Literary Translation, Susan Bassnett & André Lefevere, 25–40. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters  TSBGoogle Scholar
Lefevere, André
2000“Pseudotranslations.” In Encyclopedia of Literary Translation into English, Olive Classe (ed.), vol. 2, 1122–1123. London/Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn.Google Scholar
Naudé, Jacobus A
2008“The role of pseudo-translations in early Afrikaans travel writing.” Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 26 (1): 97–106. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
Du Pont, Olaf
2005“Robert Graves’s Claudian novels: A case of pseudotranslation.” Target 17 (2): 327–347. DOI logo  TSBGoogle Scholar
Popovič, Anton
1976Dictionary for the Analysis of Literary Translation. Edmonton: University of Alberta.Google Scholar
Pym, Anthony
1998Method in Translation History. Manchester: St. Jerome  TSBGoogle Scholar
Toury, Gideon
1984“Translation, literary translation and pseudotranslation.” Comparative Criticism 6: 73–85.Google Scholar
1995Descriptive Translation Studies. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar