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Trust, Default and Contingency

Author: LiuXiangJun
Tutor: HeGangQiang
School: Fudan University
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: the institution of translation the system of translation trust default contingency mistranslation the translation out of the mother tongue
CLC: H059
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2008
Downloads: 534
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We focus in this dissertation upon the sociologically-oriented approach in translation studies, a close follow-up to the recent call for a sociological turn in the discipline. By drawing on theoretical resources from other disciplines such as sociology and philosophy, we follow the interdisciplinary tradition in translation studies and make an elaboration of the institution of translation from the abstract and macro perspective, focusing on its conceptual network - consisting of trust, default and contingency - and the internal cohesion within this institutional framework for the defense of the theoretical legitimacy of translation studies as an independent discipline. Using the neofunctionalist model of sociology as the main methodological framework, we adopt a problem-solving approach by combining functional and phenomenological analyses in the in-depth integrative researches into the above three key issues in translation studies with the purpose of pushing further the study of the sociology of translation.The basic argument is that translation is a social phenomenon operating within the institutional framework of trust, default and contingency. Or this view could be specifically paraphrased as follows. As a basic social activity, translation has its root in trust, an indispensable element in any human activity. And this trust, with its location in a specific cultural system, requires translation to conform to the norm of translation culture while guaranteeing a proper cognition of the translational cultural default. With this common ground of sociality, trust and default have their ontological support in contingency. Only by way of a recognition of the omnipresent ontological influence of contingency in the system-environment interaction could we understand the intricate relationship in translation. It is necessary to make a macro and abstract study of this trichotomous framework under the institutional framework of the sociology of translation, which could facilitate our reflection upon the hermeneutic perspective of translation studies and the dilemma of the translation out of the mother tongue in China, that is, Chinese-English translation. There are altogether 9 chapters. The 1st, 7th and 9th chapters are used for the structural cohesion, with the 1st as the introduction, the 7th as the transition and the 9th as the conclusion. All the other chapters make up the main body, with the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th chapters elaborating on the main theme of the institution of translation consisting of trust, default and contingency, and the 3rd and 8th chapters discussing the system of translation, a supplementary theme serving as a platform for the institution of translation. The thematic development can also be understood as progressing sequentially with the major part, covering the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th chapters, mainly on the institution of translation from the perspective of the translation into the mother tongue, that is, China’s English-Chinese translation, while the 8th chapter is mainly on the application of the above institutional framework to the dilemma of the translation out of the mother tongue, that is, China’s Chinese-English translation.The significance of this dissertation can be summarized as follows. First, on the basis of the past study of the institution of translation, we construct a threefold institutional model for the sociology of translation, paving the ground for further relevant institutional study. Second, we make a theoretical elaboration of the sociality of translation, an issue essential to translation but so far taken for granted, which helps to bring its studies out of the traditional impressionistic trap and onto the track of theorization. Third, the above study of the sociality of translation offers an effective theoretical tool for a critique of the prevalent hermeneutic perspective of translation studies, especially its emphasis on the translator’s subjectivity. Fourth, the case study of China’s exotropic translation offers theoretical support for the strategic management of the relevant Chinese sides in exotropic cultural translation and exchanges.In a word, this dissertation is an attempt at the construction of a threefold institutional framework for the sociology of translation so as to lay a solid foundation for the further development of translation studies. In the meantime, a series of new translation concepts have been developed and the hermeneutic perspective of translation studies has been critiqued. But due to the limited scope, we have not discussed other important institutional dimensions such as ideology and power, which are left to the more extensive future studies.

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