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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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4. The Rich Sources of Robinson’s Theoretical Innovation:Multidisciplinary Theories 117

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117 CHAPTER 4 The Rich Sources of Robinson’s Theoretical Innovation: Multidisciplinary Theories Robinson’s theoretical construction is not just grounded in his pluralis- tic philosophical approaches; it is also built on his strategic employ- ment and reformulation of multidisciplinary theoretical sources.89 He developed his translation theories across a fairly wide multidisciplinary spectrum, including (postmodern) critical theories, (performative) lin- guistics, the somatic theory, church history, psychoanalysis, philoso- phy, literature, and social economics. His multidisciplinary approaches to translation research can be detected in his theoretical elaboration. Despite such a wide range of sources in Robinson’s theoretical innova- tion, this chapter, with the aim of offering theoretical resources for ad- vancing translation studies, will make a detailed explication of the three major branches of them – postmodern critical theory as theoretical and ideological inspiration, performative linguistics as a newly developed linguistic methodology, and somatics as a new humanistic paradigm – describing their history, revealing their theoretical foci, and explaining their roles in Robinson’s theoretical construction. 4.1 Postmodern Critical Theory Critical theory is the examination and critique of society and culture, drawing from knowledge across social sciences and the humanities. The term has two quite different meanings with different origins and histo- 89 Robinson’s employment of the multidisciplinary approach can be seen in his develop- ment of somatics and the performative linguistics in this chapter, and in the interpreta- tion of Robinson’s translator-centered theoretical models in Chapter 5. The argumen- tation on Robinson’s multidisciplinary consciousness can be seen in Chapter 6 (6.3). 118 ries, one originating in...

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