Douglas Robinson’s Translation Theories Explored
7 Pushing Theories Ahead: Robinson’s Critique of Western Translation Theories 181
181 CHAPTER 7 Pushing Theories Ahead: Robinson’s Critique of Western Translation Theories Robinson’s theoretical contribution to translation studies lies not just in his innovative translation theories but in his constructive critique of Western translation theories. His theoretical criticism traces the sources of metaphysical thinking about translation and exposes metaphysical influences in contemporary translation theories. Some contemporary translation theories that are seemingly revolutionary have never com- pletely broken from old patterns of metaphysical thinking. Robinson exposes the metaphysical influences in those seemingly radical theo- ries but also deepens our thinking about the complexity of translation problems (7.1). Robinson’s insight into contemporary translation studies can also be discerned by his critique of so-called centrifugal translation theories. Although centrifugal theories clearly represent a new direction in trans- lation studies, they still emerge with certain methodological and ideo- logical problems. So Robinson highlights both their advances and the weaknesses in their approaches in order to further them (7.2). Robinson also addresses the meta-theory of translation theory. He redefines translation theory as theory that can generate new knowledge and new understanding about translation. He argues that translation theory should be as creative and enjoyable for the reader as for the writer. He also argues for the anecdotalism of translation theory (7.3). This chapter will interpret these aspects of Robinson’s theoretical criti- cism, uncovering the theorist’s constructive ideas on theoretical develop- ment in the hope of advancing translation research. 182 7.1 The Critique of Metaphysical Translation Theories This section presents a detailed analysis of Robinson’s critique...
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