Translation Studies in Europe—reasons for it, and problems to work on

Anthony Pym

As a social and political context for research on translation, the European Union offers pertinent commitments to multilingualism, inclusive territorial democracy, transparent governance and the welfare state, with enough public funding to pursue these aims seriously. All these features concern translation, not only to the extent that they create social demands for translations but more importantly in that they give our research an ethical and political dimension, in addition to the demands of various markets. However, when the consequences of these commitments are compared with actual European research and public policies concerning translation, several shortcomings become apparent. The comparison suggests that future tasks for Translation Studies in Europe should include: (1) serious attention to far more than the large territorial languages; (2) enhanced exchange with neighboring disciplines, especially with scholars working on language acquisition; (3) an acceptance that translated communication should concern involvement and interaction, in addition to public information; (4) a questioning of the Western translation form as the model best suited to interactive cross-lingual governance; and (5) experimentation with technologies that stimulate citizen involvement.

Table of contents

“What have the Romans ever done for us?” Monty Python, Life of Brian (1979)

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