Translation Studies: Language, Literature and Culture


  • Hussein Mollanazar


This paper discusses the distinguishing features of two major approaches to translation that have been dominant during the second half of the 20th century and are still the most influential ones: linguistics-based and culture-based translation approaches. The two approaches have their own characteristics that have led them to move in two opposing directions. Some major features of linguistics-based translation approaches— usually known as ‘scientific’— are source-orientedness, use of linguistic models, paradigms and findings in devising translation theories, a reluctance for analysing literary texts, development of the concept of ‘equivalence’ and replacing it for the old traditional dispute between the translator’s ‘faithfulness versus freedom’ and a general tendency towards prescriptiveness. Culture-based approaches to translation studies have different features that have put them at odds with linguistics-based translation approaches. These features include the ‘empirical nature’ of translation studies, the recognition of different interpretations as well as several possible translations of a single text, target-orientedness and descriptive study of the ‘actual translational behaviour’ (the product and function of real translated texts). It also explains the cultural views towards translation as a subsystem of the target-language (literary) polysystem that study translation in its historical context of situation and relate the translated texts to the socio-cultural norms and constraints. This paper also deals with the concepts of ‘norms’, ‘domestication’, ‘foreignization’, ‘heterogeneity’, ‘analogy’, and ‘opacity’ developed by culture-based translation scholars such as Susan Bassnett, André Lefevere, Theo Hermans, Gideon Toury, Andrew Chesterman, Lawrence Venuti and Tejaswini Niranjana.



How to Cite

Mollanazar, H. (2003). Translation Studies: Language, Literature and Culture. Iranian Journal of Translation Studies, 1(1). Retrieved from



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