From Translation Markets to Language Management: The Implications of Translation Services

Johan Hermans and José Lambert
CETRA & Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

The fact that the position of "business translation" within Translation Studies remains unclear is probably symptomatic of the discipline as a whole. In this article, business translation is approached from a new point of view; namely, that of social organization and management in business environments. The situation under observation—the "translation market" in Belgium—is limited, and does not warrant any general conclusions. However, the rather predictable findings concerning the peripheral position of translation and translators in business life seem to indicate that it is not translation as such which is at stake here, but more general views on language, discourse and communication.

Table of contents

It is generally assumed that the academic situation of translator training and Translation Studies is heavily indebted to the boom of translation as a business service since the Second World War. The strange thing is that the dominant groups in Translation Studies are not at ease with the phenomenon of "translation for business purposes", which tends to be simplified into "technical translation" or "business translation". Does it constitute a special subarea, and on what basis would such a subarea be established? Are there any features that may be taken to distinguish "technical" or "business" translations from translations of other kinds, and what would a "normal" business translation be like? We are immediately reminded of the many discussions of "literary translation" where no basis for any formal distinction has been provided thus far (Toury 1995: 166–180). Or would it be sufficient to accept that "business translation" refers to cases where a translation is commissioned by someone who is willing to pay for it? Would the translation of a literary work commissioned by a publishing house not belong in the same category, then, and would there be many translations in today's world outside of the business context?

Full-text access is restricted to subscribers. Log in to obtain additional credentials. For subscription information see Subscription & Price. Direct PDF access to this article can be purchased through our e-platform.


Buzzell, Robert D.
et al. eds. 1991Global Marketing Management—Cases and Readings. Boston: Addison-Wesley and Harvard Business School.Google Scholar
Coulmas, Florian
ed. 1991A Language Policy for the European Community: Prospects and Quandaries. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter. [Contributions to the Sociology of Language, 61.]   DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Embleton, Dough and Stephen Hagen
eds. 1992Language in International Business: A Practical Guide. London-Sydney-Auckland: Hodder & Stoughton.Google Scholar
Gouadec, Daniel
1989Le traducteur, la traduction et l’entreprise. Paris: Afnor.Google Scholar
Harris, Ph.R. and R.T. Moran
1989Managing Cultural Differences. Houston-London-Paris-Zürich-Tokyo: Gulf Publishing Company.Google Scholar
Hermans, Johan, Peter Simoens and Peter Jansen
eds. 1994Taal, Vertaling, Manage-ment: Verkenningen in een economisch niemandsland. Leuven: CERA Chair. [Publications of the CERA Chair for Translation, Communication and Cultures, 1.]Google Scholar
Hoffmann, Charlotte
ed. 1996Language, Culture and Communication in Contemporary Europe. Clevedon-Philadelphia-Adelaide: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
Hofstede, Geert
1980Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values. Beverley-Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
1992Cultures and Organizations: Softwares of the Mind. New York: McGraw-Hill Company.Google Scholar
Holmes, James S.
1972The Name and Nature of Translation Studies. Amsterdam: Translation Studies Section, University of Amsterdam, Dept. of General Literary Studies. [rep. in Holmes 1988: 67–80.]Google Scholar
1988Translated!: Papers on Literary Translation and Translation Studies. Amsterdam: Rodopi.Google Scholar
[ p. 132 ]
Jansen, Peter and José Lambert
1995 “Language and/as Intercultural Strategy in Open Distance Learning”. Jef Van den Branden, ed. Handbook of Cultural Factors in the Use of TLE. Heverlee: EuroPACE 2000 1995 27–90.Google Scholar
Jettmarová, Zuzana
1997 “The Initiator and the Initial Norm in the Advertisement Translation”. Kinga Klaudy and János Kohn, eds. Transferre Necesse Esti Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Current Trends in Studies of Translation and Interpreting, 5–7 September, 1996. Budapest, Hungary. Budapest: Scholastika 1997 161–166.Google Scholar
Lewin, David and Rose Lockwood
1993OVUM. Le 2000—Volume I. Language Engineering—Economic Benefit Analysis. London: Ovum Ltd.Google Scholar
1993aOVUM. Le 2000—Executive Summary . Ovum—IAO-Ofil. Final Version. London: Ovum Ltd.Google Scholar
Maat, Henk Pander and Michaël Steehouder
eds. 1992Studies of Functional Text Quality. Amsterdam: Rodopi. [Utrecht Studies in Language and Communication, 1.]Google Scholar
O’Hagan, Minako
1996The Coming Industry of Teletranslation: Overcoming Communication Barriers through Telecommunication. Clevedon-Philadelphia-Adelaide: Multilingual Matters. [Topics in Translation, 4.]Google Scholar
Picken, Catriona
ed. 1989The Translator’s Handbook. London: ASLIB.Google Scholar
Pym, Anthony
1992Translation and Text Transfer: An Essay on the Principles of Intercultural Communication. Frankfurt am Main etc.: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
1994 “Twelfth-Century Toledo and Strategies of the Literalist Trojan Horse”. Target 6:1. 43–66.   DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Ricks, David A.
1983Big Business Blunders—Mistakes in Multinational Marketing. Homewood, Ill.: Dow Jones-Irwin.Google Scholar
Roth, Robert F.
1982International Marketing Communication. Chicago: Crain Books.Google Scholar
Sager, Juan C.
1993Language Engineering and Translation: Consequences of Automation. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins. [Benjamins Translation Library, 1.]Google Scholar
Schäffner, Christina and Helen Kelly-Holmes
eds. 1995Cultural Functions of Translation. Clevedon-Philadelphia-Adelaide: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
Toury, Gideon
1980In Search of a Theory of Translation. Tel-Aviv: The Porter Institute for Poetics and Semiotics. [Meaning and Art, 2.]Google Scholar
1995Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins. [Benjamins Translation Library, 4.]   DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Usunier, Jean-Claude
1992Commerce entre cultures, une approche culturelle du marketing international. Paris: PUF.Google Scholar