Book reviewKultur im Spannungsfeld translatorischer Entscheidungen.Probleme und Konflikte Berlin: SAXA, 2008. 299 pp. ISBN 978-3-939060-14-7 35 € (Beiträge zur Translationswissenschaft, Heft 3). .
Reviewed by Michaela Wolf
Table of contents
This book is a PhD thesis by the Estonian scholar Terje Loogus. It claims to deliver “an interdisciplinary contribution to the ‘culture sensitive’ branch of Translation Studies” and focuses on “describing the behaviour of translatorial decisions” (p.11). In the Introduction, the book’s purpose is clearly stated: it aims at bringing together the factors underlying the translator’s decision process under a descriptive approach. The various motives behind this purpose, however, seem at least in some cases problematic. The author sees the (German) field of Translation Studies as neatly split into two fractions: a linguistically oriented branch for which “culture” is a “red rag”, and a branch of scholars oriented towards Cultural Studies who view translation as happening within socio-cultural environments. Against this background, the author views the relationship between language and culture as “controversial” (p. 17) and claims to bring together the two “opposing” notions of “culture” and “decision as cognitive information processing”. Furthermore, for reasons not outlined, she adopts a descriptive methodology and claims that today “Translation Studies is dominated mainly by prescriptive approaches which aim at delivering instructions for optimal solutions” (p. 13).