Douglas Robinson’s Translation Theories Explored
11 Preface This book addresses epistemological and methodological issues as- sociated with theoretical construction in the discipline of translation studies.1 It presents my perspective as a Chinese scholar with a holistic way of thinking about those issues. As the title indicates, translator centeredness and multidisciplinarity characterize my positions on theo- retical construction in the field. This book explicates these positions by conducting a systemic inquiry into the constructiveness of the transla- tion theories of the American translation theorist Douglas Robinson, not only because my theoretical thinking has been influenced by them but also because I anticipate that the development of translation studies could be inspired by them on many levels. “Contemporary Translation Theories: Approaches and Propositions” was a course of study for Ph.D. students in English linguistics and litera- ture (translation studies) at Nankai University. That course, which I took in the first semester of 2008, acquainted me with Robinson’s transla- tion theories. At that time, his theories, because of their originality and versatility, were particularly unusual and therefore interesting. His think- ing about translation was not restricted to any existing school or ap- proach and hence it was difficult to categorize or characterize his trans- lation theories as a whole. Before my exposure to Robinson’s translation theories, I had been bewildered by the epistemological and methodological perplexity of translation research as a result of the miscellaneous “schools” or “ap- proaches” that had mushroomed with the “cultural turn” in the less- established field of translation studies. Looking back today, I...
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