LINGUIST List 25.1385

Sat Mar 22 2014

Review: Translation: Gambier & van Doorslaer (2012)

Editor for this issue: Rajiv Rao <>

Date: 07-Sep-2013
From: Marcin Walczynski <>
Subject: Handbook of Translation Studies
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Book announced at

EDITOR: Yves Gambier
EDITOR: Luc van Doorslaer
TITLE: Handbook of Translation Studies
SUBTITLE: Volume 3
SERIES TITLE: Handbook of Translation Studies 3
PUBLISHER: John Benjamins
YEAR: 2012

REVIEWER: Marcin Walczynski, Wroclaw University


The third volume of the ‘Handbook of Translation Studies’ is reviewed here as
part of a large-scale project rather than as a book only.

The third volume of the ‘Handbook of Translation Studies’ provides readers
with a series of up-to-date entries (in the form of overview articles) on
selected issues in translation and interpreting. The thematic scope of the
entries is very diversified and ranges from rather basic and theoretical
issues of translation studies through more practice-oriented aspects to very
up-to-date issues which evoke much debate among translation and interpreting
specialists. Among the issues presented in the volume are bilingualism,
translation theories, the connections between translation studies and other
realms of language-related sciences (e.g. sociolinguistics, text linguistics),
teaching translation, court/legal interpreting, interpreting quality,
translation criticism, translation psychology or translation rights.

The full list of topics discussed in the volume is as follows: bilingualism
and translation; common grounds in translation and interpreting (studies);
court/legal interpreting; cultural translation; development and translation;
editorial policy and translation; equivalence; Eurocentrism; general
translation theory; ideology and translation; information, communication, and
translation; institutionalization of translation studies; interdisciplinarity
in translation studies; language philosophy and translation; media
accessibility; migration and translation; models in translation studies’ music
and translation; national and cultural images; postmodernism; quality in
interpreting; relay translation; representation of translators and
interpreters; rhetoric and translation; sociolinguistics and translation;
teaching translation/training translators; testing and assessment in
translation and interpreting studies; text linguistics and translation;
translation criticism; translation psychology; translation rights.

Being the third volume of the ‘Handbook of Translation Studies’, the book is
part of a large-scale project which has a very interesting and novel approach
– it is published in two versions: paper and online. Moreover, the editors
make it clear that the entries of the handbook are continually updated and
revised. The entries in the electronic version are additionally translated
into Arabic and the editors are considering translating them into other

The reviewed book aims at providing as wide an audience as possible (from
translation and interpreting scholars and experts through M.A. and Ph.D.
students of translation and/or interpreting to practising translators and
interpreters) through an overview of a variety of issues. Having such an aim,
the book is written in clear, understandable English and the majority of
concepts introduced in the entries are first defined so that even
inexperienced readers (i.e. students) could digest the contents.

For the purpose of the summary, all chapters have been arbitrarily grouped in
the three above-mentioned categories: basic and theoretical issues,
practice-oriented issues and up-to-date issues which raise different

The first group consists of the following entries: “Bilingualism and
translation” (by Gregory M. Shreve), “Common grounds in Translation and
Interpreting (Studies)” (by Nadja Grbić and Michaela Wolf), “Cultural
translation” (by Kyle Conway), “Equivalence” (by Alice Leal), “General
translation theory” (by Dilek Dizdar), “Ideology and translation” (by Stefan
Baumgarten), “Information, communication, translation” (by Roberto Valdeón),
“Institutionalization of Translation Studies” (by Daniel Gile) ,
“Interdisciplinarity in Translation Studies” (by José Lambert), “Language
philosophy and translation” (by Kristen Malmkjær), “Models in Translation
Studies” (by Anrew Chesterman), “National and cultural images” (by Luc van
Doorslaer), “Postmodernism” (by Ning Wang), “Rhetoric and translation” (by
Ubaldo Stecconi), “Sociolinguistics and translation” (by Sara Ramos Pinto),
“Text linguistics and translation” (by Juliane House) and “Translation
criticism” (by Outi Paloposki). The articles in this group deal with various
fundamental issues of translation and interpreting studies. Some of them
explore the already classic terms and phenomena inextricably intertwined with
translation studies (e.g. equivalence, bilingualism or ideology in
translation) or present approaches to translation from other angles (e.g.
philosophy, rhetoric, sociolinguistics or text linguistics), trying to show
how other fields influence and contribute to translation studies. Others focus
on translation studies as an institutionalized and interdisciplinary academic
field (with journals and translation scholars’ associations), in which
translation scholars have worked out some theories and models or have offered
criticism thereof. Generally speaking, this set of entries provides a
significant contribution to the understanding of the foundations of
translation and interpreting studies. Some of these basic concepts are used in
other entries in the volume presenting more practice-oriented or more
up-to-date aspects of translation and interpreting.

The second group of papers included in the reviewed volume consists of entries
presenting more practice-oriented issues. These are: “Court/Legal
interpreting” (by Debra Russell), “Editorial policy and translation” (by
Gisèle Sapiro), “Migration and translation” (by Loredana Polezzi), “Quality in
interpreting” (by Sylvia Kalina), “Relay interpreting” (Martin Ringmar),
“Representation of translators and interpreters” (by Klaus Kaindl), “Teaching
translation /Training translators” (by Yves Gambier) as well as “Testing and
assessment in Translation and Interpreting Studies” (by Claudia Angelelli).
Many of these entries focus on different aspects of interpreting (e.g.
interpreting in the court setting or interpreting quality and its assessment).
This is particularly important as the body of literature on interpreting is
rather meagre in comparison to literature on translation. From these overview
articles on interpreting, the reader can realise that this is an extremely
vital social service which facilitates intercultural communication and which
is much more than merely a purely linguistic process. Other articles in this
set touch upon a variety of translation-related issues such as the translation
and book market, educating future translators or the connections and
interdependencies between translation and migration processes (i.e. people’s
mobility across geographic and linguistic regions). One paper on the manners
in which the motifs of translators and interpreters are involved in literary
plots (“Representation of translators and interpreters”) shows that these two
activities have gained wider and wider recognition both in literature and in
real life. On the whole, the papers grouped under the heading of more
practice-oriented issues clearly indicate that the awareness of the importance
of translation and interpreting and the intricacies of the
translation/interpreting process among communities in the world is continually
growing and that translation/interpreting comes to the fore in facilitating
intercultural communication.

The third set of entries includes: “Development and translation” (by Kobus
Marais), “Eurocentrism” (by Luc van Doorslaer), “Media accessibility” (by
Aline Remael), “Music and translation” (by Marta Mateo), “Translation
psychology” (by Riitta Jääskeläinen) and “Translation rights” (by Salah
Basalamah). These entries could be classified as belonging to one of the two
previously discussed groups but because they present relatively new aspects of
translation studies which have not yet been fully covered in scholarly
literature, they constitute a third, separate group of entries. The topics of
these papers concern, among others issues, the interdependencies between
translation studies and development studies, with the latter being understood
as “(…) an interdiscipline in which economics, political science and sociology
combine to study the phenomenon of development” (pp. 26-27). One can see that
there are at least three major areas in which the two disciplines interact.
Another issue covered in the entries is Eurocentrism in translation or – in
other words – an approach to translation issues from the European or Western
perspective. However, many scholars view this approach as introducing certain
kinds of limitations to translation studies. Other topics discussed in the
entries of the third group are about media, music and audiovisual translation
(in particular, audio-description and audio-subtitling), and access to them,
which is becoming more and more of an important issue in translation studies.
The remaining two entries are related to translation psychology (which deals
with a whole array of psychological aspects of the translator’s attitude,
personality, education, etc.) and translation rights (mostly related to
copyright of translated material). In conclusion, the issues covered in those
papers relate to very new and up-to-date aspects of translation and are rooted
in the newest trends in translation practices.


As mentioned above, the reviewed volume is a carefully chosen collection of
overview articles about different aspects of translation and interpreting. Out
of those many entries, from the reviewer’s point of view, of paramount
importance are the following: “Common grounds in Translation and Interpreting
(Studies)” (by Nadja Grbić and Michaela Wolf), “Institutionalization of
Translation Studies” (by Daniel Gile), as well as “Translation rights” (by
Salah Basalamah). The first of the three, in a systematic way, links
translation with interpreting, even though they are quite frequently regarded
as two separate activities. This is evident in the discussion of the terms and
definitions which the authors of the entry provide. Grbić and Wolf neatly show
that translation and interpreting overlap in many respects, especially in
terms of their research methodologies and studied topics.

The second paper “Institutionalization of Translation Studies”, by Gile, shows
the importance of the institutionalisation of translation studies in the form
of various professional associations, scholarly journals, schools and research
centres. This overview article sketches the development of translation studies
as a scholarly discipline through its academic representations (e.g.
universities, university centres), forums for exchanging views and opinions
(e.g. journals “The Translator”, “Interpreting”) or societies (e.g. European
Society for Translation Studies, Canadian Association for Translation
Studies). Of course, the presentation of major developments within
institutions of translation studies is made with reference to the history of
the world because events such as the establishment of the European Union, the
opening of borders, and the increased flow of information have indeed
contributed to the foundation of many institutions of translation studies,
which is what is sometimes neglected in the treatment of translation history.
This paper succinctly presents what the institutional world of translation
studies looks like, making readers aware of the existence of so many
professional institutions which engage in studies on translation and

The third entry which the reviewer found particularly interesting is
“Translation rights”, by Basalamah. The author shows the links between
translation and copyright, saying that “(…) international copyright law
resulted from the issue of translation” (p. 198). What is especially
commendable is the discussion of translation rights in the context of
copyright, which involves references to concepts such as intertextuality or
translator (in)visibility (i.e. the status of the translator).

Just the three above-presented entries should suffice to make the claim that
the volume is definitely a rich source of information and ideas that might be
further developed within translation studies.

As has already been stressed, the third volume of the ‘Handbook of Translation
Studies’ has a number of merits. First of all, the selection of themes is
praiseworthy. In the reviewed volume, the readers can find overviews of topics
which are already well established within translation and interpreting studies
(e.g. bilingualism, equivalence or text linguistics and its relevance to
translation studies) as well as new concepts which have recently emerged
within this discipline (e.g. translation rights or translation and
interpreting testing and assessment). All of them are presented without any
theoretical bias, which is evidenced by the diversification of themes and
approaches to them. Such a selection is thus consistent with the editors’ aim
of reaching as wide a target audience as possible.

Another asset of the volume is its topicality and the fact that its electronic
version is regularly updated and revised. In the era of the Internet and
computer technology, when science and scholarship become more and more
available, the electronic version of the Handbook, which allows searching for
entries by means of cross-references (marked by asterisks in the printed
version), among other ways, constitutes a perfect solution for all scholars,
students and practitioners who need an updated source of information on
different aspects of translation and interpreting studies in English as well
as in other languages, to which the project will also extend its resources
(e.g. Arabic, Chinese, French, German). One might hope that the project grows
in size so that it eventually becomes one of the most important places on the
Internet for translation and interpreting scholars. As far as the written
version is concerned, it includes a rich subject index which lists all entries
from all three volumes; the ones that are included in the reviewed volume are
bolded. This is of great help for readers of the written version, as they can
easily find cross-references and their location in one of the three volumes.

Thirdly, the ‘Handbook of Translation Studies’ may become one of the
fundamental sources for anyone interested in translation and interpreting
thanks to the engagement and participation of nine prominent scholars (Cecilia
Alvstad, Claudia V. Angelelli, Dirk Delabastita, Edwin Gentzler, Jacobus A.
Naudé, Robin Setton, Robert A. Valedón, Judy Wakabayashi, Michaela Wolf) who
make up the International Advisory Board of the Handbook, as well as to the
support obtained from leading universities (Bloemfontein University, Graz
University, University of Leuven, Oslo University, Hogeschool-Universiteit
Brussel, Oviedo University).

Fourthly, the editors are open to comments and feedback from readers, which is
clearly stated in the “Introduction”. Such openness might help the editors
enrich the next volumes and improve the entries from the already published
volumes in the electronic version of the project.

Being so commendable in so many aspects, this volume, along with other volumes
of the ‘Handbook of Translation Studies’, is a perfect reference and textbook
for different university courses in translation theory and history. Not only
does it present various problems of translation and interpreting in a coherent
and succinct manner, but it also provides references to more detailed studies
of particular translation and interpreting issues.

Generally speaking, the variety of the topics discussed, the functionality of
the ‘Handbook of Translation Studies’ as a printed and online project, as well
as the involvement of so many translation and interpreting scholars in
providing entries for the project are all praiseworthy. Without a doubt, this
Handbook has a chance of becoming one of the most important sources of
information on a variety of topics from translation and interpreting studies,
and therefore, I happily recommend it to anyone interested in translation and
interpreting, regardless of their experience and expertise in this field, as a
way of familiarising him/herself with this project. It is certainly a
must-read volume for all students and beginning translation and interpreting
scholars looking for an explanation of key terms in translation studies or for
ideas for their own further research.


Marcin Walczynski is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Translation Studies
of the Institute of English Studies, Wroclaw University, Poland and lecturer in the Section of
Business English of the Institute of Modern Language of the University of
Applied Sciences in Nysa, Poland. His current research interests include:
specialised languages and their teaching, specialised (business and legal)
translation and interpreting, intercultural communication, pidgins and

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