Hypotheses about translation universals  


Andrew Chesterman


2004d      Gyde Hansen, Kirsten Malmkjaer and Daniel Gile (eds), Claims, Changes and Challenges in Translation Studies. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 1-13.




Contemporary proposals about universals are descriptive hypotheses about (a) the relation between translations and source texts (the equivalence relation), and (b) the relation between translations and comparable non-translations in the target language (the relation of textual fit). The article analyses the main trends in the thinking about translation universals, pointing out connections between the prescriptive tradition, work in literary translation criticism, and current corpus-based research on universals. In order to characterize some of the main similarities and differences between these different approaches to universals, I use a classification of different kinds of hypotheses. After introducing these central notions, I place modern descriptive research in its historical context and then consider some of the terminological, conceptual and methodological problems of this kind of research.