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Review of  Translation Research and Interpreting Research

Reviewer: Vittoria Prencipe
Book Title: Translation Research and Interpreting Research
Book Author: Christina Schäffner
Publisher: Multilingual Matters
Linguistic Field(s): Translation
Issue Number: 16.1283

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Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 17:46:01 +0200
From: Prencipe Vittoria
Subject: Translation Research and Interpreting Research: Tradition, Gaps
and Synergies

EDITOR: Schäffner, Christina
TITLE: Translation Research and Interpreting Research
SUBTITLE: Tradition, Gaps and Synergies
PUBLISHER: Multilingual Matters
YEAR: 2004

Vittoria Prencipe, Department of Linguistics, Università Cattolica "Sacro
Cuore" di Milano.


The volume, resulting form a one-day seminar held at Aston University in
February 2002, is a collection of papers about the differences and the
synergies between Translation Studies (TS) and Interpreting Studies (IS).
The discussion investigates and compares the disciplines or subdisciplines
(cf. Gile, p. 23) from different points of view: historical, (how they
were born and developed), situational, ideological, cultural and
sociological. Daniel Gile takes all these questions in the first and the
main contribution of the book: he gives an overview of the history of
research in translation and interpreting, he reviews the differences
between translating and several forms of interpreting, he explores the
causes of differences, also highlighting also their deep common basis.

The Debate (chapter 2) immediately after Gile's contribution gives an idea
of the main issues of that seminar. The other contributors, indeed, use
Gile's chapter as a starting point for their considerations, in order to
introduce new perspectives or to deepen some of his arguments.

In the second contribution (chapter 3) Public Service Interpreting:
Practice and Scope for Research, Jan Cambridge examines the Public Service
Interpreting characteristics, describing it as an independent branch of IS
and he concludes hoping for an improvement in interdisciplinary
understanding and collaboration.

Chapter 4, Paradigm Problems?, by Andrew Chesterman, focuses on the
different approaches and aims, from a research point of view, between TS
and IS. He discusses different opinion of relation between theory and data
in empirical and hermeneutic research and he supports the Popperian
approach to research, based on the testing of hypotheses, that might also
help the researchers in understanding claims of translation research.

Janet Fraser, in her essay titled, Translation Research and Interpreting
Research: Pure, Applied, Action or Pedagogic (chapter 5), first highlights
different approaches between traditional translation research (TR) based
on literary translation, and interpreting research (IR) whose paradigm "is
practice in the booth rather than a more abstract theoretical model" (p.
57). Then, particularly in the paragraph "From Practice to Theory" (p.
59), she shows TR and IR have much in common and much to learn from one
another. So she wishes for future generations "a more effective
partnership between TR and IR, coupled with a change of focus and
paradigm" (p.61).

In Chapter 6, Translation Studies: A Succession of Paradoxes, Yves
Gambier, analyses the development of Translation Studies (TS) focusing on
the diversity of context in which translation is practised (pp. 62-64); on
the variety of disciplines addressed with it (pp. 64-65); on the diversity
of research relevance (pp. 65-68) and research discourses (pp. 68-69) of
the studies conducted. His aim is shedding light on several paradoxes of
TS and show how "the consensus and the possible unity in the diversity of
approaches and of these paradoxes cannot be stable and definitive" (p. 69).

In the next contribution, Aligning Macro- and Micro-Dimension in
Interpreting Research (Chapter 7), Moira Inghilleri, put forward her point
of view, as a sociolinguist engaged in research on norms in interpreting,
also about the role of interdisciplinarity in translation/interpreting
research; and on the relation between approaches to TR and IR; and the
relevance on norm theory to IS.
Particularly, she points out the necessity of a conceptual framework for
interpreting norms "intended to provide a means to conceptualise the
relationship between the interpreter and the social world and to consider
how sociological and ideological determinants function within interpreting
contexts" (p. 75).

In A Way of Methodology: The Institutional Role in Translation Studies
Research Training and Development (Chapter 8), Zuzana Jettmarova' focuses
her attention on the role of the academic institutions in the development
of TS "in terms of research and methodology, as well as for the production
of 'informed' researchers" (p. 77). In detail, she concentrates on the
institutionalisation of TS in the Czech Republic, and on national course
programmes and methodology.

In Chapter 9, Conduits, Mediators, Spokespersons: Investigating
Translator/Interpreter Behaviour, Ian Mason pursues the Gile's idea
that "besides the autonomous investigation of [the] respective features
[of TR and IR], each step in the investigation of one can contribute
valuable input towards investigation of the other". In so doing, Mason
shows how "the interactional pragmatic variables of footing, politeness
and relevance are central to the concerns of translator and interpreter
alike" (p. 89). This approach might lade to fragmentary results, but
descriptive studies should take into account of "socio-pragmatic studies
of the interpreter/translator in situ and pragma-linguistic studies of
whole texts and discourses" (p. 95).

Mariana Orozco, in The clue to Common Research in Translation and
Interpreting: Methodology (Chapter 10), focuses on a common research
methodology by scholars in both translation and interpreting fields. She
puts forward a scientific model that can be applied to any field of TR and
IR (cf. figure 1, p. 99); then she highlights the advantage of using this
model (pp 100-101), and she discusses the issues of applying the model
proposed (p. 102); finally she concludes wishing for an open-mindedness
that allows the researchers to "take as [their] point of departure the
work of others" (p. 102) and permits to "undertake research together with
colleagues from other specialities / languages / disciplines in an
interdisciplinary holistic approach to interrelated topics" (ibid.)

Chapter 11, I in TS: On Partnership in Translation Studies, by Franz
Pöchhacker, attempts to give an analysis that highlights "the general
theoretical core that unites translation and interpreting studies" (p.
104). The author's points of departure are "Kade classic definition and
the 'map' of the discipline by Holmes" (p. 104); his aim is to show how TR
and IR can appear as parallel structures like a "tree, with a strong
common trunk rooted in various types of soil... and with a number of
boughs which support larger and smaller branches and many little twigs"
(p., 114).

In the last contribution (Chapter 12), Doorstep Inter-subdisciplinarity
and Beyond, Miriam Shlesinger, examines the relation between IS and its
parent disciplines focusing principally on three types of collaboration:
in terms of alternative approaches, between theoreticians and
practitioners, between IS / TS and neighbouring disciplines, between IS
and TS in narrower sense. Her analysis leads to new questions rather than
solutions and with the encouragement to keep focusing on "the effort to
highlight kinship, differences and prospects for partnership" (p. 121).

The volume ends with Daniel Gile Response to the Invited Papers (Chapter


The collection is rich with suggestion for translation and interpreting
researchers due to its focusing primarily on the sociological dimension of
TS and also because it keeps suggesting a necessary collaboration between
translation (in its generic sense) researchers and all the disciplines
related to translation studies.

The lack of interdisciplinary communication, in fact, denounced already by
Holmes in 1980, - like the lack of communication between (literary)
translators and theoreticians - is the main cause of 'stagnation' in TS.
These contributions may be a good starting point for the application of a
renewed and broader research method.


Vittoria Prencipe, Ph.D. works as a postdoctoral researcher in the field
of Translation Studies at the Università Cattolica "Sacro Cuore", Milan
(Italy). Her current research deals with the application of a Sense-Text
model to the field of linguistic translation.

Format: Hardback
ISBN: 1853597341
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 136
Prices: U.K. £ £29.95
U.S. $ 44.95