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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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2 The Ideological Impetus to Robinson’sTheoretical Innovation: Deconstruction 49

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49 CHAPTER 2 The Ideological Impetus to Robinson’s Theoretical Innovation: Deconstruction “Paradigm shift” was first used by Kuhn to describe a change in basic assumptions within the ruling theory of natural science. The Routledge Companion to Postmodernism argues for the cultural paradigm shift: “Kuhn’s paradigm shift can be applied outside the natural science. The notion of cultural paradigm shifts is now widely accepted. One such shift might be from modernity to postmodernity” (Sim 2001: 298). Deconstruction, as a main branch of the postmodern movement, has contributed significantly to the cultural paradigm shift from moder- nity to postmodernity. Deconstruction has revolutionized longstanding metaphysical and logocentric approaches and has provided radical ways of studying the social sciences and humanities, including translation studies. The breakthroughs in translation studies have been accompa- nied by cultural paradigm shifts – from the philological paradigm to the structuralistic paradigm and then to the deconstructivist paradigm. De- construction, along with other postmodern approaches, pushes trans- lation studies into a new “cultural turn” stage and helps translation studies break through the confinement of the structuralist paradigm. However, due to the limitations of both deconstruction itself and the cultural ap- proaches to translation studies resulting from deconstructive applica- tions, translation studies must seek to develop beyond deconstructive paradigm. Robinson’s research on translation benefits from the postmodern philosophies including Derrida’s deconstruction.20 In view of the exist- ing misinterpretation of Robinson’s translation theory as deconstructive, which inevitably blurs the distinction between the two theorists’ phi- losophies, this chapter aims to clarify the complex...

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