Counting blessings (and sheep): On twenty years EST

Michael Boyden

Table of contents

History, as Mark Twain famously put it, does not repeat itself but it does rhyme. The papers collected in this special issue of Target are based on talks delivered at the EST symposium Same place, different times, held at the University of Vienna on September 28, 2012. The symposium was an initiative of the Executive Board of the society to add luster to its twentieth anniversary by returning to the location where it had been held above the baptismal font two decades before. In this introduction, I will attempt to frame the contributions collected here by venturing a very rough sketch of the historical backdrop against which the European Society for Translation Studies came into being. Anniversaries are generally occasions for stocktaking when we tell ourselves (as in Irving Berlin’s mellow ditty) to count our blessings instead of sheep. It is worth remarking, though, that a ritual dimension attaches to such moments of celebration; and as anthropologists remind us, rituals are means of excluding reflexivity. The repeated calls, interspersed in the following pages, for a more reflexive kind of Translation Studies should thus be understood in relation to the situational context from which they emanated. Apart from serving the traditional ritual function of a captatio benevolentiae, this introduction presents an attempt to provide the reader with some nuts and bolts (the metaphor will explain itself in a moment) for making sense of that context.

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