The article is introduced by a brief account of the basic principles of skopos theory, a general theory of translation and interpreting (‘translational action’), its epistemological groundwork, and its application to translator training and translatological research, which is usually characterized as ‘functionalism’, because it is the intended function (or functions) of the target text which guides the translator’s decisions in the translation or interpreting process and is therefore as central in research methodology as cultural aspects and audience orientation. After defining the concept of ‘skopos’, the Greek word for ‘purpose’, and its roots in social action theory, the article refers to the literature and the main research methods, before going into the details of functionalism in translator training, for which it was designed in the first place, and functionalist research on various fields, such as norms and conventions of behaviour in intercultural interactions, the translation not only of appellative texts (e.g. in tourism), but also of literary and even biblical and other religious texts, legal translation, and such practical issues as the translator’s working conditions. A brief section with some suggestions for further reading concludes the article.