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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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6 Framing Theoretical Approaches: the Featuresof Robinson’s Theoretical Thinking 171


171 CHAPTER 6 Framing Theoretical Approaches: The Features of Robinson’s Theoretical Thinking Robinson’s theoretical construction, as interpreted above, has been based on the theorist’s pluralistic philosophical approaches and multidisciplinary theories. In addition, it has presented a revolutionary theoretical theme of translator liberation. This chapter will formulate the constructive fea- tures of Robinson’s theoretical thinking, which involve (1) pluralis- tic philosophical awareness, (2) humanistic concern for the translator, (3) multidisciplinary consciousness, and (4) practice-oriented theoriza- tion. It will demonstrate that the theorist’s constructive theoretical ap- proaches will enable us to advance translation studies in more philo- sophically credible and methodologically sensible ways and in humanistic and practice-oriented directions. 6.1 Pluralistic Philosophical Awareness Robinson’s theoretical construction has always been guided by certain philosophical ideas. His theoretical thinking about language and trans- lation is grounded in his pluralistic philosophical epistemology and methodology. In fact, the history of scientific development (including the development of the social sciences and humanities) has proven the close relationship between philosophy and other disciplines. In addi- tion, the theoretical development of each discipline was inevitably in- fluenced by its contemporary philosophies. Translation studies, as a newly developed discipline, is no exception to this rule: its philological approaches were mainly influenced by ancient ontological philosophy; its structuralistic approaches were mainly influenced by modern episte- mological philosophy; its (deconstructionist) cultural approaches were 172 mainly influenced by the postmodern philosophical movement (espe- cially deconstruction). Robinson’s comprehensive knowledge of the history of Western philosophy contributes to his philosophical approach. His philosophi- cal approach...

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