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Comparative Translation Studies

Translation and Interpreting Studies (TIS) today is a discipline that has accumulated a large body of knowledge, both theoretical and empirical, about translation and interpreting. Starting from the last decade of the twentieth century, TIS has also overcome its original focus on the praxis and theories of translation and interpreting in Europe and North America and embraced postcolonial approaches. Yet there is another step to be made - a methodology for overcoming area-restricted isolationism needs to be developed. Today, translation/interpreting practices and their theoretical conceptualizations are limited to a specific language combination, a country or, at most, a region. This restricted view, however, is only an ancillary stage which should lead to a generalized comparative study of translation/interpreting.

So far, no all-encompassing and methodologically consistent approach to research has been attempted in TIS. At best, different diachronic and synchronic manifestations of translation have been merely juxtaposed. This project intends to consider whether a multidisciplinary approach to investigating the phenomena of linguistic and cultural transfer could be established by beginning to ‘think comparatively’. A year of seminars has initiated debates on what it would mean to consider translation and interpreting through the lenses of new approaches that compare data, phenomena, and methodologies in broader contexts. The output of this project is an edited journal special issue of Translation and Interpreting Studies (John Benjamins) titled "Toward a Comparative Translation and Interpreting Studies".