Genre Analysis and the Translator

Carl James
University College of North Wales, Bangor

In this paper I shall attempt three tasks. First, to give a brief account of the recent history of genre studies, leading to a definition of the notion. Secondly, to contextualise the notion of genre, that is, I shall see what it has in common with, or adds to, other related notions current in Discourse Analysis. Finally, I hope to show how genre study might be integrated into programmes of translator training.

Table of contents

The term 'genre' is best known in literary studies, where it denotes conventional formats of writing such as Novelle, conte, sonnet, haiku and so on (Fowler 1982). 'Genre' in the literary domain has long been a concern of translation theorists (Lefevere 1975). Now however it has begun to be used in two other more practical domains: in the fields of English for Science and Technology (EST) and English across the Curriculum (EAC). This paper will suggest that 'genre' in the newer, broader sense holds some promise for the systematisation of translation studies in the first instance, and for the consequent improvement of translation quality.

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