Poor Relations and Black Sheep in Translation Studies

Dominic Stewart
School for Translators and Interpreters, Forlì, University of Bologna

The opposition of translation into the mother tongue (L1 translation) vs. translation into the foreign language (L2 translation), with its clear relationship of superiority/inferiority in translation circles, is just one of a series of binary oppositions prevalent in the literature with an apparently similar relationship. These include principally (i) target language vs. source language, and (ii) original texts vs. translated texts. This paper examines what implications such oppositions might have for the L1 translation vs. L2 translation issue, particularly within the developing field of corpus linguistics, subsequently taking a look at some L1 and L2 translations and reflecting upon their degree of acceptability or unacceptability in the light of the discussions proposed.

Table of contents

In a recent article (Stewart 1999) I offered a critical analysis of attitudes in translation studies to translation into the foreign language (hereafter L2 translation) as opposed to translation into the mother tongue (L1 translation), [ p. 206 ]reflecting upon the implications of such attitudes on a professional level, for L2 translators, and on a pedagogical level, for translator-training institutions.

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.


Baker, Mona
1993 “Corpus Linguistics and Translation Studies: Implications and Applications”. Baker et al. 1993 : 233–250. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
ed. 1998aRoutledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. London-New York: Routledge.   DOI logoGoogle Scholar
1998b “Réexplorer la langue de la traduction: une approche par corpus”. Laviosa 1998b : 480–485.   DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Baker, Mona, Gill Francis and Elena Tognini-Bonelli
eds. 1993Text and Technology: In Honour of John Sinclair. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins.   DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Beeby Lonsdale, Allison
1998 “Direction of Translation (Directionality)”. Baker 1998a : 63–67.Google Scholar
Campbell, Stuart
1998Translation into the Second Language. London-New York: Longman.Google Scholar
Chesterman, Andrew
1997Memes of Translation. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins.   DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Congrat-Butler, S.
ed. 1979Translation and Translators: An International Directory and Guide. New York: R.R. Bowker Company.Google Scholar
Crystal, David
1987The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Dodds, John
1995 “All’antica commedia degli errori: Or Crappy English in Italian Restaurants”. Rivista Internazionale di Tecnica della Traduzione. Edizioni Università di Trieste 1. 143–147.Google Scholar
Duff, Alan
1981The Third Language: Recurrent Problems of Translation into English. Oxford: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
[ p. 227 ]
Frawley, William
1984 “Prolegomenon to a Theory of Translation”. William Frawley, ed. Translation: Literary, Linguistic, and Philosophical Perspectives. London-Toronto: Associated University Presses 1984 159–175.Google Scholar
Gentzler, Edwin
1993Contemporary Translation Theories. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Hermans, Theo
1991 “Translational Norms and Correct Translations”. Leuven-Zwart and Naaijkens 1991 : 155–169.Google Scholar
Kenny, Dorothy
1998 “Corpora in Translation Studies”. Baker 1998a : 50–53.Google Scholar
Laviosa, Sara
1997 “How Comparable Can Comparable Corpora Be?”. Target 9:2. 289–319.   DOI logoGoogle Scholar
1998a “The English Comparable Corpus: A Resource and a Methodology”. Lynne Bowker, Michael Cronin, Dorothy Kenny and Jennifer Pearson, eds. Unity in Diversity: Current Trends in Translation Studies. Manchester: St Jerome 1998 101–112.Google Scholar
ed. 1998bL’Approche basée sur le corpus/The Corpus-Based Approach. Special issue of Meta 43:4.Google Scholar
1998c “Core Patterns of Lexical Use in a Comparable Corpus of English Narrative Prose”. Laviosa 1998b : 557–570.   DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Laviosa-Braithwaite, Sara
1997 “Investigating Simplification in an English Comparable Corpus of Newspaper Articles”. Klaudy Kinga and János Kohn, eds. Transferre Necesse Est: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Current Trends in Studies of Translation and Interpreting, 5–7 September, 1996. Budapest: Hungary 1997 531–540.Google Scholar
1998 “Universals of Translation”. Baker 1998a : 288–291.Google Scholar
Leuven-Zwart, Kitty M. van and Ton Naaijkens
eds. 1991Translation Studies: The State of the Art. Proceedings of the First James S Holmes Symposium on Translation Studies. Amsterdam-Atlanta, GA: Rodopi.Google Scholar
Malmkjær, Kirsten
1993 “Who Can Make Nice a Better Word than Pretty?: Collocation, Translation, and Psycholinguistics”. Baker et al. 1993 : 213–232. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Marmaridou, A. Sophia S.
1996 “Directionality in Translation Processes and Practices”. Target 8:1. 49–73.   DOI logoGoogle Scholar
McAlester, Gerard
1992 “Teaching Translation into a Foreign Language—Status, Scope and Aims”. Cay Dollerup and Annette Loddegaard, eds. Teaching Translation and Interpreting: Training, Talent and Experience. Papers from the First Language International Conference. Elsinore, Denmark, 31 May-2 June 1991. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins 1992 291–297.   DOI logo
Newmark, Peter
1981Approaches to Translation. London: Pergamon.Google Scholar
Parks, Gerald
1998 “Towards a Sociology of Translation”. Rivista Internazionale di Tecnica della Traduzione. Edizioni Università di Trieste 3. 25–35.Google Scholar
Pym, Anthony
1992 “In Search of a New Rationale for the Prose Translation Class at University Level”. Interface: Journal of Applied Linguistics 6:2. 73–82.Google Scholar
1996 “Venuti’s Visibility”. Review of Venuti 1995 . Target 8:1. 165–177.   DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Rydning, Antin F.
1991Qu’est-ce qu’une traduction acceptable en B?: Les conditions d’acceptabilité de la traduction fonctionnelle réalisée dans la langue seconde du traducteur. Oslo: University of Oslo. [Doctoral Thesis.]Google Scholar
Shuttleworth, Mark and Moira Cowie
1997A Dictionary of Translation Studies. [ p. 228 ]Manchester: St Jerome.Google Scholar
Snell-Hornby, Mary
1995Translation Studies: An Integrated Approach. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
Stewart, Dominic
1999 “Translators into the Foreign Language: Charlatans or Professionals?”. Rivista Internazionale di Tecnica della Traduzione. Edizioni Università di Trieste 4. 41–67.Google Scholar
Taylor, Christopher
1998Language to Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Toury, Gideon
1991 “Experimentation in Translation Studies: Achievements, Prospects and Some Pitfalls”. Sonja Tirkkonen-Condit, ed. Empirical Research in Translation and Intercultural Studies. Tübingen: Gunter Narr 1991 45–66.Google Scholar
1995Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins.   DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Venuti, Lawrence
1995The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation. London-New York: Routledge.   DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Weizman, Elda and Shoshana Blum-Kulka
1987 “Identifying and Interpreting Translated Texts: On the Role of Pragmatic Adjustment”. Gideon Toury, ed. Translation Across Cultures. New Delhi: Bahri Publications 1987 61–73.Google Scholar