chapter  2
38 Pages

History of translation theory

No introduction to Translation Studies could be complete without consideration of the discipline in an historical perspective, but the scope of such an enterprise is far too vast to be covered adequately in a single book, let alone in a single chapter. What can be done in the time and space allowed here is to look at the way in which certain basic lines of approach to translation have emerged at different periods of European and American culture and to consider how the role and function of translation has varied. So, for example, the distinction between word for word and sense for sense translation, established within the Roman system, has continued to be a point for debate in one way or another right up to the present, while the relationship between translation and emergent nationalism can shed light on the significance of differing concepts of culture. The persecution of Bible translators during the centuries when scholars were avidly translating and retranslating Classical Greek and Roman authors is an important link in the chain of the development of capitalism and the decline of feudalism. In the same way, the hermeneutic approach of the great English and German Romantic translators connects with changing concepts of the role of the individual in the social context. It cannot be emphasized too

strongly that the study of translation, especially in its diachronic aspect, is a vital part of literary and cultural history.