On translation policy

Gabriel González Núñez
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Abstract

The term translation policy has become problematic for the field of Translation Studies because it has meant so many things to so many authors that it threatens to lose some of its efficacy (see Meylaerts 2011a, 163–166). In light of this, the concept of translation policy should be developed so that it will be broad enough to account for diverse phenomena in different places with multiple agents, while retaining specific parameters that make the concept methodologically useful. This article will consider insights from Translation Studies and from other fields, especially from the field of Language Policy, in order to develop such a concept of translation policy. To illustrate how the understanding of translation policy that will be proposed may be used in a descriptive paradigm, the article will present translation policy in Scotland’s local government as a case study.

Keywords
Table of contents

When Holmes ([1972] 2000) proposed his map describing the field of Translation Studies (TS), he included a small branch called translation policy. Since then, despite it being omitted in some illustrations of the map (Chesterman 2009, 14), translation policy has surfaced from time to time in the work of different scholars (e.g., Krouglov 1997; Diaz Fouces 2002), and it even has an insightful entry in the second volume of the Handbook of Translation Studies (Meylaerts 2011a). So the study of translation policy, even if not central to TS, has been a part of the field for some time. Scholars who wish to engage in the study of translation policy, however, may face conceptual challenges when trying to determine the exact nature of the phenomenon they are attempting to study. Perhaps this is to be expected when two notoriously fuzzy concepts like ‘policy’ and ‘translation’ are brought together, but the difficulty is nonetheless real, as attested by Meylaerts (2011a, 163).

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