Questions in the Sociology of Translation

Andrew Chesterman

[2006c. Questions in the sociology of translation. Jočo Ferreira Duarte, Alexandra Assis Rosa and Teresa Seruya (eds), Translation Studies at the Interface of Disciplines. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 9-27.]


Unpublished abstract


Translation Studies is seen as composing four levels: textual,  cultural, sociological, and cognitive. The sociological level can be divided into three: (a) the sociology of translations as products; (b) the sociology of translators; (c) the sociology of translating, i.e. the translation process.

The article surveys some of the approaches and theories currently used to investigate these areas. The notion of the translation practice is proposed  (following Alasdair MacIntyre) as a way of capturing much of what is central to translation sociology. A practice is regarded as a series of translation events. A list of potentially interesting research questions is offered, covering working conditions and procedures, agency, policy decisions, public perception of translator status, professionalization and accreditation. One section discusses the application of Actor Network Theory.



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