Expanding horizons or limiting growth?

Edwin Gentzler
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Table of contents

Reading through Andrew Chesterman’s and Rosemary Arrojo’s joint response titled “Shared Ground” to the debate held at the forum on “Training Translators and Interpreters: New Directions for the Millennium” (University of Vic, Spain, May 1999), I am very pleased to see two theorists from different parts of the globe using quite different theoretical approaches working together and finding territory for agreement. Such collaborative efforts, which have not occurred frequently in our field, can only yield positive results. However, the methodology underlying the joint essay—one of looking for consensus at the expense of difference—may give a false notion of the terrain of Translation Studies at the moment. Additionally, the terminology of the essay—one aimed at defining the “center” and “periphery” (thesis 12); what is “typical” and what is not (thesis 13); and especially, what are the “norms” of the target and source cultures (thesis 18)—may misrepresent the expanding horizons of the field. What strikes me by the method and the rhetoric is not what they reveal—these theses, with only slight modification, have been generated before by Translation Studies scholars in the 1970s in Belgium, Holland, and Israel. Rather, most striking about the theses is what they exclude: namely, the multitude of theories, methodologies, and discourses being used to discuss translational phenomena around the world today.

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