Investigating explanations of translational phenomena: A case for multiple causality

Siobhan Brownlie

The article investigates the issue of providing explanations for translational phenomena through discussion of data provided by a case study of the English translations of works by French philosopher Jean-François Lyotard. In the study four major sources of explanation are proposed: individual situations (the context of production of a particular translation and different translators’ attitudes); textuality (the conditions governing textuality implied in translation); translators’ norms; and intersecting fields (academic translation is envisaged as being situated at the intersection of three fields: academia, publishing, and professional translation). The paper makes a case for multiple causality in translation, and also considers the issue of relations between the different sources of explanation.

Table of contents

This article will consider the question of providing explanations for translational phenomena, through reporting on a case study which investigated why a particular corpus of texts was translated in certain ways. My approach is descriptive-explanatory. Examples of descriptive data are given in Appendices A and B.

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