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Introducing Grounded Theory into translation studies

Jennifer Wehrmeyer


This article introduces tenets of Grounded Theory into a reception-oriented model for translation studies, in which the basis of comparison (tertium comparationis) between source and target texts is constructed from target audience expectancy norms. The model is primarily designed for projects where conformity to target audience norms plays a large role in the translation’s acceptance. It is not restricted to Translation Studies, but can also be used in Interpreting Studies, as is demonstrated in an evaluation of signed interpretations on South African television news broadcasts.

The basic steps of the model comprise the extraction and testing of expectancy norms, the development of a tertium comparationis (TC) using Grounded Theory principles, translation analysis in terms of the TC and evaluation in terms of target audience expectancy norms, and using iterative and mixed-methods triangulated research. Although the model primarily envisages a collaborative, multi-disciplinary effort, it can be also used by individual researchers. Similarly, although primarily intended for reception-oriented evaluation, its principles can be adapted for translation production or evaluation using other norm bases.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9461
print ISSN: 1607-3614