Prescriptive Aspects of the Descriptive Translation Studies

Kunlun Liu

Abstract


Toury’s DTS has been playing a significant role in translation studies since the 1980s and it targets at establishing a general theory of translation, which is claimed to have quite different properties from those of traditional translation theories: pure objectiveness and descriptiveness. However, the descriptiveness of this theory is not so convincing as expected. On the contrary, its prescriptiveness is prevailing and deep rooted when closely examined. This thesis is intended to expose the descriptiveness of the theory and the thinking lines underlying it through critically analyzing several key concepts so important in this theory that they are virtually its backbone. This method involves checking Toury’s personal interpretation of Holmes’ great scheme of translation studies, the norm theory and translation laws. In this way one can clearly see that Toury’s theory has been heavily influenced by Russian Formalism and traditional translation paradigms.

The thesis does not stop at discussing the prescriptiveness of Toury’s translation theory. The above discussion triggers out other ones which shall be handled with equal importance in this thesis, including the dialectical relationships of prescription and description, and translation theory and practice. Therefore, the main focus in this thesis is extended from the particular to the general. This extension is natural in that it helps to enhance rethinking the evaluation of prescription: its value and function in theoretical learning, and discussions should not be ignored or lessened for the reason that some existent problems in present translation teaching should be faced up to and addressed timely.


Full Text: PDF DOI: 10.5539/ijel.v4n4p13

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International Journal of English Linguistics   ISSN 1923-869X (Print)   ISSN 1923-8703 (Online)

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