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.
When Holmes ( 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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Scottish Translation, Interpreting and Communication Forum