LESSON 12

A target-oriented approach

Such a descriptive study “should start from the empirical fact, i.e. from the translated text itself” (Hermans 1985: 13). In what is one of his best-known formulations, Toury states: “Translations are facts of target cultures” (Toury 1995: 29). Statements such as this have operated a Copernican Revolution by reorienting studies on translation, which until then had concentrated predominantly on the source text as the yardstick for an evaluative analysis of the target text as a mere reproduction thereof. Toury therefore posits that the context framing a translation is that of the target culture, and, as such, the target text must always be interpreted as a result of the constraints and influences of such a target context, or as a cause for the introduction of changes into the target system. Such proposals for DTS amount to a shift of paradigm from the a-historical prescription of what translation should be to a description of what translation is in a particular historical context. As a consequence, attention is shifted from the comparison of source and target text to the study of the relations between target texts and between target texts and their context, the target culture (Rosa, 2010, pp. 98-99).

Reference: Rosa, A. A. (2010). Descriptive translation studies (DTS). In Y. Gambier & L. V. doorslaer (Eds.), Handbook of Translation Studies (Vol. 1, pp. 94-104). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.