Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

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From submissiveness to agency: An overview of developments in translation studies and some implications for language practice in Africa

Jacobus A Naudé


Since the 1980s, discourses about translation have broadened steadily. Beginning with a discussion of the name and content of the discipline, an overview of some translation approaches focusing on the source text, the process of translation, the reception of the translated text, and the culturally and  socially bound character of translation are offered. Within translation studies, the pendulum has swung from normative and prescriptive approaches to a descriptive approach. Translation theorists attempt to account not only for textual strategies used to solve translation problems in the translated text, but also for the way in which the translator functions as an agent of cultural mediation in the target cultural system. The move is towards  the ways in which translation transcends Eurocentric views and contemporary dominant Western translation practices. This article thus describes some implications of recent developments in translation studies for language practice in Africa.

Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 2011, 29(3): 223–241
AJOL African Journals Online