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The Translator- Centered Multidisciplinary Construction

Douglas Robinson’s Translation Theories Explored

Lin Zhu

This book embraces the epistemological and methodological issues of theoretical construction in the field of Translation Studies from a historical and global perspective. The theoretical stances are explained in detail through a systemic inquiry into the constructive aspects of theoretical innovation of the American translation theorist Douglas Robinson. In order to renew and promote theoretical thinking in the field of Translation Studies, this book aims to reflect on existing theoretical problems in translation, trace the translation theorist’s innovative and constructive ways of thinking about translation theory, and explore productive philosophical and theoretical resources of translation studies. This book will not only be helpful to a further and full understanding of Robinson’s thoughts on translation, but also offers a rethinking of how to advance Translation Studies epistemologically and methodologically.

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Preface 11

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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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