Book review
Andrew Chesterman. Reflections on Translation Theory: Selected Papers 1993–2014
(Benjamins Translation Library 132). Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2017. x, 396 pp.

Reviewed by Jonathan Evans

Publication history
Table of contents

The title of this book, Reflections on Translation Theory, encapsulates the sort of understatement that characterises much of Andrew Chesterman’s work. As a title, it makes no wild claims and suggests nothing more than a few thoughts, some questions that need to be addressed. Yet Chesterman’s constant, gentle probing, as evidenced in this book, really unsettles much of what we take for granted in translation studies, often in a constructive manner. Chesterman has written about descriptive and prescriptive models of translation scholarship, causality and explanation, norms, similarity and difference, hypotheses, ‘universals,’ the sociological turn, and translation ethics (each of these represents a section of this book). Taken together, that is a significant contribution to translation theory across many of the key areas that continue to be of importance to scholars and students. The first section of the book also shows Chesterman grappling with notions of what translation studies should be, most famously in the “Shared ground in Translation Studies” article he co-wrote with Rosemary Arrojo (first published in 2000 and included here as Paper 2).

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