Translation Universals

Kirsten Malmkjær

in The Oxford Handbook of Translation Studies

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199239306
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

Translation Universals

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  • Linguistics
  • Translation and Interpretation



According to Gideon Toury, there exists a universal translation theory. Baker suggests that patterns that are found across all such sets of translated versus non-translated corpora would suggest a hypothesis for universal features of translation. Baker reflects that translation universals are cognitive phenomena. However, Toury speaks of universals of translational behaviour. Segmentation is essential in translation and interpreting and it is a kind of segmentation that has no counterpart in unilingual activity. It involves simultaneous suppression and activation of the right features of the linguistic systems at the right time in the right proportions to each other before the translator or interpreter can get started on the conscious parts of the translation process. This can be termed as ‘translation unit segmentation’. With the confirmation of predictions arising from these hypothesized universals, new insights into translation studies will be gained.

Keywords: universal translation theory; hypothesis; translational behaviour; segmentation; translation unit segmentation

Article.  4839 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Translation and Interpretation

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