The main concern of this article is to approach translation from the view of nonlinear dynamics. Thus, it makes use of theories related to such a type of dynamics (chaos theory and complexity science). This concern develops on two levels: firstly, the article argues that the abandonment of the traditional conception of translation and the raising of the current one actually agree with the evolution perceived in a great number of domains, such an evolution pointing to the rejection of deterministic positions. Secondly, it also defends the view that the translation process is entirely typical of the processes of nonlinear dynamics. Accordingly, key notions from nonlinear dynamics (such as sensitivity to initial conditions, phase transition, attractor or edge of chaos) are shown to apply to the nature of translation.
‘Classical’ science, paradigmatically represented by Newton (the dominant paradigm for over three centuries), assumed a nature whose main feature was its predictable (i.e. deterministic) character: a clockwork world, to quote Stewart’s (1989) term. Its method crucially relied on mechanisms such as idealisation and reductionism. Thus, the overall complexity of nature was drastically reduced by appealing to an idealised simplification of non-systematic properties which made possible the treatment of many phenomena.
1978 “The future of translation theory: A handful of theses”. International Symposium on Achievements in the Theory of Translation, Moscow and Yerevan. [Quoted from the version in Holmes 1988: 99–102.]
1995b “What is life? Was Schrödinger right?”. Michael Murphy and Luke O’Neill, eds. What is life?: The next fifty years Speculations on the future of biology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1995 83–114.
1949The mathematical theory of communication. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
1998Explaining chaos. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
1988Translation Studies: An integrated approach. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
1989Does God play dice?: The mathematics of chaos. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
1999Life’s other secret: The new mathematics of the living world. London: Penguin Books. [first published in the USA by John Wiley & Sons, 1998.]
1995Descriptive Translation Studies and beyond. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
2004a “Probabilistic explanations in Translation Studies: Welcome as they are, would they qualify as universals?”. Anna Mauranen and Pekka Kujamäki, eds. Translation universals—Do they exist?Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins 2004 15–32.
2004b “Probabilistic explanations in Translation Studies: Universals—or a challenge to the very concept?”. Gyde Hansen, Kirsten Malmkjær and Daniel Gile, eds. Claims, changes and challenges in Translation Studies: Selected contributions from the EST Congress, Copenhagen 2001. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins 2004 15–25.
1992Complexity: The emerging science at the edge of order and chaos. New York: Simon and Schuster.
1949 “Recent contributions to the mathematical theory of communication”.
Shannon and Weaver 1949
1998Consilience: The unity of knowledge. New York: Knopf.
1996Knowledge and skills in translator behavior. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins.[ p. 226 ]