Title

Voices from the periphery : further reflections on relativism in translation studies

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice

Publication Date

3-5-2018

Volume

Advance online publication

Publisher

Routledge

Keywords

Cultural relativism, Eurocentrism, Post-colonialism, Discipline-centrism, Polysystem theory

Abstract

This paper critiques the relativist and post-colonialist view that blames the under-representation from peripheral cultures in international translation studies on Eurocentric biases. Western scholars who propound such a view underestimate the difficulties faced by scholars working in peripheral cultures, where freedom of information and of speech is often limited, non-conformity is discouraged, and the Western academic repertoire is not entirely available or acceptable. Their accusation that non-Western scholars who accept Western repertoires have drifted away from their cultural predecessors shows a lack of understanding of peripheral cultures. While Western relativists think that they are speaking on behalf of peripheral cultures, many scholars in peripheral cultures reject cultural relativism as a selfish, reactionary theory that justifies the refusal to help the weak, and see it as their duty to become cultural and academic dissidents striving to create new traditions. Radical relativists and post-colonialists in Western translation studies are Eurocentric in their criticisms of non-Western scholars. They are also guilty of ‘discipline-centrism’, by borrowing theories simplistically from central disciplines to edge out theories indigenous to translation studies itself, thus leading the discipline back to normativism and perpetuating its peripheral position in the humanities.

DOI

10.1080/0907676X.2018.1443731

Print ISSN

0907676X

E-ISSN

17476623

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Chang N. F. (2018). Voices from the periphery: Further reflections on relativism in translation studies. Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/0907676X.2018.1443731

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