LINGUIST List 16.954
Tue Mar 29 2005
Review: Translation: Cronin (2003)
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Translation and Globalization
Message 1: Translation and Globalization
From: Ingrid Mosquera Gende <ingridudc.es>
Subject: Translation and Globalization
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AUTHOR: Cronin, Michael
TITLE: Translation and Globalization
PUBLISHER: Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
Announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/15/15-1186.html
Dr. Ingrid Mosquera Gende, Department of English Philology, University of
A Coruña, Spain
Michael Cronin, Dean of the Joint Faculty of Humanities and Director of
the Centre for Translation and Textual Studies at Dublin City University,
is the author of this book, which is addressed both to people devoted to
professional translation, as well as to a general audience who will find
answers to many questions related to the importance of translation and its
relation to contemporary global societies and economies.
The book includes an introductory section of Acknowledgements in which one
can already notice the diversity of sources consulted in order to carry
out the research and study revealed in the book, in terms of
multiculturalism - a very relevant aspect to take into consideration due
to the central position of the issue of globalization in the text.
After this, there is a brief introduction, three pages long, subtitled
Echolands: Translation Now. In this section the author poses major
questions about translation, opening a great range of possibilities that
he develops in the subsequent chapters. Cronin underlines that he will
mainly deal with non-literary translation, since it has always been given
less importance, from his point of view, and he does not agree with this,
much less in the global world of today. This introduction ends with a
description of the issues tackled in each of the chapters, explaining the
reasons for their importance. The whole section is enriched with different
references to books and authors that are used to exemplify his approaches.
The body of the volume comprises five chapters: 1. Translation and the
Global Economy; 2. Globalization and New Translation Paradigms; 3.
Globalization and the New Geography of Translation; 4. Globalization and
the New Politics of Translation; 5. Translation and Minority Languages in
a Global Setting. Each of these chapters is divided into subsections of
about one page long, which makes it easy to read and follow the text. At
the same time, these subsections' titles are very explicit in content and
ideas, so that with just one quick look it is possible to get an idea of
the themes dealt within each of them.
Then, there follow a couple of pages dedicated to notes on the chapters.
There are not too many, a perfect complement that does not involve
fundamental content but provides an exemplification of some of the points
At the end of the book there is a relatively extensive bibliography,
useful for further reading about the relationship between globalization,
translation and new technologies, including many titles published
recently. Although it could be taken for granted, it is also important to
underline the presence of a thorough Index by which one can easily find
references to authors as well as to relevant themes dealt within the book.
Chapter 1 and 2
These first chapters share common points. For instance, most of their
subsections start with questions that stimulate curiosity in the reader.
In both chapters, as in the rest, we find many citations from other
authors; in the first one there is one author that is worth mentioning due
to his continuing presence, Manuel Castells, and in the second one it is
Apart from that, the five chapters share the same way of starting by
introducing historical anecdotes, related, in one sense or the other, to
the themes that the writer is later to develop.
Regarding those two first chapters, it is very important to underline how
some relationships are being establish and explained: "the relationship
between translation and things" (9), "the relationship between translation
and the technosphere" (10), "the self and the net" (12), "the relationship
between techne and cultural development" (28), "the relationship between
translators and tools" (29), "the relationship between translation and the
nation-state" (56), "the relationship between translation and diversity"
These two chapters are also used in order to define terms that we are
going to find in the rest of the book. The author introduces specific and
complex terms in a gradual way, so one understands them, gets familiar
with them and then, without noticing, one is already using them as part of
his/her own vocabulary. In this sense the book is very enriching. Many of
those words are presented as dichotomy pairs, although not always. Some
examples of relevant terms introduced in these chapters are the following,
apart from the ones included in the relationships mentioned above:
informational society / information society, global economy,
internationalization / localization / elocalization, cognitive content /
aesthetic content, translation as communication / translation as
transmission, message as the medium, tools / material support / products,
globalization / anti-globalization, networks and networking, gatekeeper /
switch, database, economics of attachment, market utopianism,
Americanization, development state, politics of translation, agency, neo-
Babelianism, localization / translation, translators as mediators,
transmission, fidelity, time, mnemonic time in translation / instantaneous
time, intralingual / interlingual.
Despite the common points in their structure, Chapter 1 deals with modern
society and economy, characterising the last as informational and global,
and explaining the importance of technology in relation to translation
studies and its tools. Chapter 2 focuses on the network and its
consequences on translation and society, with examples from all around the
world, from the United States of America to Asia, passing via Europe.
Special attention is given to the term neo-Babelianism and its
implications, and to the role of translators nowadays, for instance taking
into account different types of time (see above).
This chapter presents Ireland as an example of one of the most important
centres of translation, as well as a country with a minority language.
Taking that into account, the author also comments on the notion of
censorship and its different forms. Although this chapter is far more
descriptive than the other two, it also contains some new terms and
relationships, such as the one between localization and hegemony, and the
words polyglossia / heteroglossia, censorship of experience,
anthropoemic / anthropophagic and global city.
This chapter delves more deeply into the status of the translator in the
technological era, with a special remark on economical implications in the
translator's work, dealing, among many other items, with deadlines and
It also describes the different types of machine-aid translation; Michael
Cronin gives a detailed classification of them, from cyborgs to automated
translation, explaining the relevance of computer-assisted translation
(CAT), machine translation (MT) or synchronous, automated translation
Literary translation also has a place in this chapter in order to explain
its situation nowadays in respect to economy, market and other types of
If the importance of time was introduced in other sections of the book
before, in this chapter there is a special treatment of the subject, which
is called "Chronopolitics"; this theme is explained and developed at this
point, introducing essential terms such as incompleteness, metonym or
Here, Michael Cronin takes a closer look to the situation of minority
languages and the influences that translation can have on their situation,
for instance by means of "translation ecology". He claims that "minority
is the expression of a relation, not an essence" (144). From this point
onwards the author establishes and studies several dichotomy pairs, as we
have already seen in other chapters; in this case: diachronic / spatial
relation, target-language intensive / source-language intensive, pragmatic
functions / aesthetic functions, intralingual translation differentials /
interlingual translation differentials.
The last pages of the chapter are devoted to several classifications
related to translation. On the one hand, some points are enumerated as a
kind of conclusion about their relevance in relation with translation:
training, research, heteroglossia and retreat for language. On the other
hand, travel writing in minority languages is explained in three different
levels (minoritization of language within travel, minoritization of
minority-language travel accounts and minoritization of travel writing on
the minority language) and by means of several strategies (mimesis,
defamiliarization, periphrasis, exclusion and translation).
Some minor criticism and personal opinions were made in the summaries of
the chapters. On the whole, the book is a great, original, necessary and
quite novel approach to translation studies from an economic, social,
global and linguistic point of view. One possible drawback could be the
complexity and density of explanations and terms but, since these are very
well introduced, explained and widely repeated, at the end one finds
oneself having accumulated a large amount of specific vocabulary. In this
sense, chapters 1 and 2 are very well structured while the last three are
rather more confusing. In these there lies a greater degree of complexity,
deriving from the fact that explanations depend on one another, so if
something is not sufficiently clear, it is difficult to understand the
following item. However, one just needs a little more concentration to
follow the complex and intelligent connections - subsection divisions of
the chapters help to achieve this aim.
Michael Cronin effectively describes, explains and defends his proposals
about the situation of translation nowadays.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Ingrid Mosquera Gende teaches at the University of A Coruña, Spain. Her
Ph.D. is in English Philology; her Doctoral Thesis is about Edwin
Muir: "Early Poetry of a Late Poet: Analysis of First Poems". She has had
several research stays in Scotland, supervised by specialists such as
Professor Cairns Craig and Robert Crawford. She is a researcher of
projects related to Translation Studies, Literature and Education. She has
many publications and contributions about Translation, Scottish
Literature, as well as other fields of study, including Education, Irish
Literature, and Spanish Literature. She teaches courses via the internet
in collaboration with The University of Islas Baleares, Spain, and is a
reviewer and translator for various universities.
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