How devoted can translators be? Revisiting the subservience hypothesis

Hélène Buzelin

Abstract

In a seminal contribution published in Target in 1998, Daniel Simeoni argued for a habitus-governed model of explanation for translation and suggested that subservience might be a defining feature of this habitus, a primordial norm. The objective of the present article is twofold. First, it aims to recontextualize the ‘subservience hypothesis’ by shedding light on the empirical work underlining it. Second, following the approach developed in Simeoni (2001), the author tests again the hypothesis through textual analysis, by studying the early translation history into French of a textbook entitled Marketing Management by Philip Kotler. The author explores to what extent traces of the primordial norm, as defined by Simeoni (2001), can be found in the first four French editions of this scholarly text produced over the period (1967–1981), two of which were signed by a professional translator and the others by a marketing scholar.

Keywords:
Table of contents

In 1998, Target opened its tenth volume with an article entitled “The Pivotal Status of the Translator’s Habitus.” In this contribution, which has come to be regarded as a seminal one, Daniel Simeoni made two far-reaching claims. On the one hand, he argued for a habitus-governed model of explanation for translation practices. On the other, he suggested that subservience might be a defining feature of this translatorial habitus, a primordial norm in Western translation practices. The first proposition was acclaimed and appropriated by many scholars, as suggested by the amount of research, contributions and discussions that the concept of habitus has generated in Descriptive Translation Studies [DTS] over the past fifteen years. The second proposition met with several objections. While the first claim [ p. 64 ]introduced the idea of a translatorial agency (and, as such, appeared as a welcome move away from theoretical models of translation that were increasingly perceived as too deterministic), the second was seen as another way of reiterating “the idea of the tyranny of norms in translation” (Sela-Sheffy 2005, 3). Unlike the first one, the second proposition seemed at odds with a general trend that marked DTS at the time, a trend toward the highlighting and celebration of the active role that translators played, or could play, in literary, cultural, scientific or even political history. By emphasizing subservience, Simeoni suggested a different—somewhat less empowering—story, a story based on a different reading of translation history.

Full-text access is restricted to subscribers. Log in to obtain additional credentials. For subscription information see Subscription & Price. Direct PDF access to this article can be purchased through our e-platform.

References

Primary sources

American editions

Kotler, Philip
1967 Marketing Management: Analysis, Planning and Control . EnglewoodCliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 628 pages.Google Scholar
1972 Marketing Management: Analysis, Planning and Control. 2nd ed. EnglewoodCliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, xiv, 885 pages.Google Scholar
1976 Marketing Management: Analysis, Planning and Control. 3rd ed. EnglewoodCliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, xiv, 529 pages.Google Scholar
1980 Marketing Management: Analysis, Planning and Control. 4th ed. EnglewoodCliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, xiv, 722 pages.Google Scholar
[ p. 92 ]

French editions

Kotler, Philip
1971 Marketing Management: analyse, planification et contrôle . Traduit de l’américain par Christine Durieux. Paris: Publi-Union, 743 pages.Google Scholar
1973 Marketing Management: analyse, planification et contrôle . 2e éd. Traduit de l’américain par Christine Durieux. Paris: Publi-Union, 1041 pages.Google Scholar
Kotler, Philip, and Bernard Dubois
1977 Marketing Management: analyse, planification et contrôle . 3e éd. française. Paris: Publi-Union, 558 pages.Google Scholar
1981 Marketing Management: analyse, planification et contrôle . 4e éd. française. Paris: Publi-Union, 714 pages.Google Scholar

French Canadian Edition

Kotler, Philip, Pierre Filiatrault, and Ronald E. Turner
1994 Le management du marketing . Montréal: Gaëtan Morin, xxiii, 1144 pages.Google Scholar

Secondary sources

Berman, Antoine
1995 Pour une critique des traductions: John Donne . Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
Bourassa, Maureen A., Peggy H. Cunninghman, and Jay M. Handelman
2007“How Philip Kotler Helped to Shape the Field of Marketing.” European Business Review 19 (2): 174–192. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Bourdieu, Pierre
1984 Homo academicus . Paris: Éditions de Minuit.Google Scholar
1994 Raisons pratiques. Sur la théorie de l’action . Paris: Le Seuil.Google Scholar
Buzelin, Hélène
2005“Unexpected Allies.” The Translator 11 (2): 193–218.   CrossrefGoogle Scholar
2007“Translations in the Making.” In Constructing a Sociology of Translation, ed. by Alexandra Fukari, and Michaela Wolf, 135–169. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.   CrossrefGoogle Scholar
2011“Agents of Translation.” In Handbook of Translation Studies , ed. by Yves Gambier, and Luc van Doorslaer, 6–12. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Cochoy, Franck
1999 Une histoire du marketing. Domestiquer l’économie de marché . Paris: La Découverte.Google Scholar
Crisafulli, Edoardo
2002“The Quest for an Eclectic Methodology of Translation Description.” In Crosscultural Transgressions. Research Models in Translation Studies II: Historical and Ideological Issues , ed. by Theo Hermans, 26–43. Manchester: St Jerome.Google Scholar
Durieux, Christine
1988 Fondement didactique de la traduction technique . Paris: Didier Érudition.Google Scholar
2010 Fondement didactique de la traduction technique . 2nd ed. Paris: Maison du dictionnaire.Google Scholar
Fox, Karen F.A., Irina I. Skorobogatykh, and Olga V. Saginova
2008“Philip Kotler’s Influence in the Soviet Union and Russia.” European Business Review 20 (2): 152–176. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Gambier, Yves
1992“Adaptation: une ambiguité à interroger.” Meta 37 (3): 421–425. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Heinich, Nathalie
1984“Les traducteurs littéraires: l’art et la profession.” Revue française de sociologie 25: 264–280. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Inghilleri, Moira
2003“Habitus, Field and Discourse: Interpreting as a Socially Situated Activity.” Target 15 (2): 243–268. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Kalinowski, Isabelle
2002“La vocation au travail de traduction.” Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales 144: 47–54.   CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Katan, David
2009“Translation Theory and Professional Practice: A Global Survey of The Great Divide.” Hermes 42: 111–153.Google Scholar
Latour, Bruno
1987 Science in Action .Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Robinson, Douglas
1996 Translation and Taboo . DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press.Google Scholar
[ p. 93 ]
Sela-Sheffy, Rakefet
2005“How to Be a (Recognized) Translator: Rethinking Habitus, Norms and the Field of Translation.” Target 17 (1): 1–25. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
2008“The Translators’ Personae: Marketing Translatorial Images as Pursuit of Capital.” Meta 53 (3): 609–622. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Simeoni, Daniel
1995“Translating and Studying Translation: the View from the Agent.” Meta 40 (3): 445–460. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
1998“The Pivotal Status of the Translator’s Habitus.” Target 10 (1): 1–36. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
2001 Traduire les sciences sociales. L’émergence d’un habitus sous surveillance: Du texte support au texte source . PhD diss. Paris, École des hautes Études en Sciences Sociales.Google Scholar
Toury, Gideon
1995 Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond . Amsterdam: John Benjamins.   CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Venuti, Lawrence
1995 The Translator’s invisibility: A History of Translation . London: Routledge. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
1998 The Scandals of Translation . London: Routledge. CrossrefGoogle Scholar