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Durham University

Chinese Studies

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Publication details for Dr Sergey Tyulenev

2014 'Translation as a Social Fact', Translation and Interpreting Studies 9, pp. 179-196

Author(s) from Durham


This article proposes a reading of classical works of Emile Durkheim, one of the founding fathers of sociology, in light of their applicability to translation research. It is argued that, since translation is a social phenomenon, Durkheimian sociological thought may be of considerable help to Translation Studies (TS). The sociology of translation should be methodologically distinguished from the psychology of translation. In the sociology of translation, even studies of individual translations and translators should be conducted within a social context. In accordance with Durkheimian theory, it is argued that methodology for a sociologically-informed study of translation should avoid relying on common sense, which more often than not turns out to hamper, rather than help, the perception of translation as a social phenomenon. In other words, translation is presented as a social fact and the need to study it as such is strongly emphasized. Examples are borrowed from present-day translation research.