Book reviewMemes of Translation: The Spread of Ideas in Translation Theory (Revised Edition).
(Benjamins Translation Library 123). Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2016. xii + 225 pp. https://doi.org/10.1075/btl.123.
Reviewed by Susana Valdez
NOVA School of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies
Targeted mainly at professional translators, translation trainees and their teachers, Memes of Translation sets out ambitious metatheoretical, theoretical and practical aims, which it reaches. Its first aim is to propose a conceptual framework that meaningfully links varied and distinct views of translation. Its second is to build a Popperian theory of translation – oriented by “tentative theory, error elimination and the evolution of objective knowledge” (x) – in combination with norm theory and (partially) action theory. The guiding “building-blocks are the concepts of norm, strategy and value” (x). Finally, the volume aims to show that translation theory is useful and applicable to translation practice. First published in 1997, this 2016 revised edition with minor corrections and improvements also offers an “Update” section at the end of each chapter with references to more recent research and furthermore addresses criticisms of the 1997 version. The book remains mandatory (re)reading.