From norms to macro-norms? The translation of classics seen in a global, diachronic framework


Abstract – Recently, Descriptive Translation Studies has been busying itself with single case studies rather than general surveys, with individual translations rather than normative tendencies. Ostensibly, this has been done in an attempt at avoiding the pitfalls of excessive ‘globalism’, and in order to shift the focus from the pressures exerted by society to the contributions given by translators, each according to his/her habitus. While recognizing the value of these ‘localizing’ studies, the present article argues that there is still scope within the discipline for developing universal concepts capable of connecting different forms of behaviour. Whenever the translation scholar aims at describing a field rather than an individual effort, it may be useful, and indeed necessary, to extend Toury’s concept of ‘translation norms’ both synchronically and diachronically. In the field of classical translation, in particular, the significance of single contributions may be lost if it is not seen in the context of international tendencies with deep historical roots – what the author proposes to call ‘macro-norms’.

Keywords: Descriptive Translation Studies, classics, comparative literature, norms, macro-norms

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v11p177

Keywords: Descriptive Translation Studies; Norms; Macro-norms; Classics; Comparative Literature


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