The terminology of translation: Epistemological, conceptual and intercultural problems and their social consequences

Josep Marco
Universitat Jaume I, Castelló, Spain

This article focuses on three kinds of problems besetting the terminology of translation. Firstly, the weak epistemological status of Translation Studies as a discipline does not favour consensus among specialists. Secondly, conceptual difficulties arise from the fact that the relationship between concepts and terms is far from univocal: conceptual similarities are clouded by terminological differences, and conceptual differences lurk beneath apparent synonymy. Thirdly, both conceptual and terminological practices are often rooted in different national traditions and may be school-specific. These three sets of problems are interrelated, and they are shown at work in a concept that has often been referred to as technique or shift. They have not only inward—academic and theoretical—but also outward—social and professional—consequences, as the social projection of professional translators vis-à-vis other professions may depend to a certain extent on their ability to use an acknowledged terminology. The same may be true of the translation scholar community.

Table of contents

Mayoral, drawing on the work of several epistemologists but, singularly, Monserrat (1983), refers to a number of parameters which “serve to determine the degree of maturity or scientificity of a discipline” (2001: 45):

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