Within the broad interdisciplinary field of Translation Studies, a title that has been used in the English-speaking world since 1972, translation is investigated from a wide array of theoretical perspectives drawn from disciplines as varied as Linguistics, Literary Studies, Cultural Studies, Language Engineering and Philosophy (Hatim & Munday, 2004: 8). There are almost as many formal definitions of translation as there are theories that endeavour to account for the multifarious nature and functions of this complex, language-based, socio-cultural phenomenon that is rapidly spreading in multiple directions within and across nations in the increasingly globalized, multilingual world, characterized by the constant movement of peoples, goods and cultures. The definition provided by the Dictionary of Translation Studies (Shuttleworth & Cowie, 1997: 181) makes a distinction between translation as a process (or translating) and translation as a product. Some of the major types of written translation are labeled: e.g., literary translation, technical translation, subtitling and machine translation. It is also pointed out that, although the term generally refers to the transfer of written texts, it sometimes subsumes interpreting, which refers more specifically to “the oral translation of a spoken message or text” (Shuttleworth & Cowie, 1997: 83). In this chapter, translation is used in the more restricted sense of written transfer. Moreover, in line with Hatim and Munday (2004: 6), the ambit of translation is intended as: 1. The process of transferring a written text from the source language to the target language, conducted by a translator, or translators, in a specific socio-cultural context. 2. The written product, or target text, which results from that process and which functions in the socio-cultural context of the target language. 3. The cognitive, linguistic, visual, cultural and ideological phenomena which are an integral part of ambit 1 and ambit 2. This chapter provides an overview of the theoretical, descriptive and applied aspects of the study of translation as they have been investigated since the late 1960s and early 1970s, when Translation Studies became established as a new field of scholarly enquiry in the West. The conclusion suggests the ways in which this rapidly expanding field might develop in the future.
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