Douglas Robinson’s Translation Theories Explored
5 Liberating the Translator: Robinson’sTranslator-Centered Theoretical Models 141
141 CHAPTER 5 Liberating the Translator: Robinson’s Translator-Centered Theoretical Models The translator-centeredness of Robinson’s translation theory can be clearly demonstrated by its constant theoretical theme: translator lib- eration. As the name suggests, translator liberation means freeing trans- lators from oppression. Translators in the West have been oppressed by the dominant or mainstream ideology of translation, especially by the Augustinian ideosomatics of translation, which was characterized by the principles of dualism, rationalism, instrumentalism, and perfection- ism (Robinson 1991). In fact, in both Western and Chinese translation history, translators in many cases were described with various passive and lowly images, like servants, slaves, matchmakers, dancers with bondage, a shadowy presence, traitors, and so on. Translators often felt guilty, incapable, and even despairing under these conditions and under the conventional Augustinian ideology. This assumption of the translator’s passive, invisible, or humble status not only runs counter to the important roles translators play in society but is harmful to the development of the translation industry. On the basis of his in-depth reflections on the historical and present situations of translation and the translator, Robinson has established his translator-centered and practice-oriented translation theories, with the aim of breaking the bondage imposed upon translators by the longstanding ideosomatic assumptions. His translation theories describe and explain the real states of the translator’s emotional and psycho- logical process from different perspectives, and the social influence on the process. They reconstruct the contemporary active images of the translator and present the theorist’s translator-centered theoretical mod- els and progressive social-constructivist...
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