Research on translation universals emerges from a convergence of influences. The first is the old idea that translations are recognizably different from other texts. There is a long tradition of comments about translations sounding unnatural, which has led to the notion of “translationese”. Similarly, it has long been recognized that some aspects of the source text and its meaning or style are typically “lost in translation” (see Stylistics and translation). Underlying both these traditions is the assumption that any translation shares characteristics with other translations, since otherwise no generalization about typical weaknesses could be made in the first place.
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