New books at a glanceTranslation criticism: The potentials and limitations. Categories and criteria for translation quality assessment tr. from the German Erroll F. Rhodes. tr. from the German Erroll F. Rhodes. Manchester: St Jerome—Broadway: American Bible Society, 2000. xii + 127 pp. ISBN 1-900650-26-6 (St Jerome) / 1-58516-124-1 (American Bible Society) £13.50 / $24.00.
Reviewed by Christiane Nord
Table of contents
This book is a time machine taking me back to the early seventies of the past century. Recently graduated as a translator at the Institute for Translation and Interpreting of Heidelberg University, I had just started my career as a translation teacher at the same institution. Looking for some guidelines for my teaching, I came across this book in its German original (Reiß 1971). I remembered the Spanish language and translation classes with Katharina Reiss, particularly one seminar on translation criticism where I was first confronted with a scholarly approach to translation. Up to then, learning to translate had been little more than trial and error in practical classes. Translation theory consisted of a handful of names, some old and venerable, such as Luther, Schleiermacher, Jakob Grimm or José Ortega y Gasset, some rather recent (then!), such as Nida or Catford. The bibliography of the time-machine book reads like an account of the state of the art in 1970. It was very considerate of the translator to state not only the editions and German translations used by Reiss, but also the dates and titles of the first and/or original publication. It would have been even more considerate if he (or whoever was responsible) had avoided the innumerable printing errors in the German, French and Spanish titles and publisher’s names, because, in times of electronic research, the tiniest change in spelling (such as subjecktive und objective [sic] instead of subjektive und objektive) cause frustration in non-natives of these languages searching for the text in question. But this can easily be improved in the next edition, which, I hope, will be necessary very soon.