Book review
Hans J. Vermeer. A Skopos Theory of Translation: (Some Arguments For and Against)
Heidelberg: TEXTconTEXT-Verlag, 1996. 136 pp. ISBN 3-9805370-0-5 DM 32 (Wissenschaft, 1).

Reviewed by Andrew Chesterman
Table of contents

What should a general theory of translation look like? This slim volume is a discussion of one possible answer: Vermeer's skopos theory, positing the skopos (goal, purpose) as the ultimate cause of a translator's action. Most work on this theory has so far been in German, and this long essay in English now makes the central ideas accessible to a wider audience. (The book also contains a number of untranslated quotations in several Indo-European languages.) The essay is the first in a series of four (the others are in German) in which Vermeer presents his main tenets and relates the theory to wider cultural and philosophical issues. It opens with a brief summary of the main skopos theses, discusses some criticisms and assesses some other candidates for a general theory of translation, in particular those based on concepts of equivalence, relevance or loyalty.

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