It has been told that the birth of Translation Studies (TS) was a success story. The question is now to what extent the new challenges of the globalizing world from the 21st century will find responses in the new discipline. Questions about the origins of disciplines have chances to be relevant from the moment they go beyond picturesque stories or pictures (but we have them!). In fact it is not unknown that translation is as old as the Garden of Eden, whereas Translation Studies (TS) is very young as an Academic Discipline (as stressed by Daniel Gile). James Holmes’ text on The Name and Nature of TS (Holmes 1972) as well as Toury 1980 or Hermans’ The Manipulation of Literature (Hermans 1985) need to be contextualized, e.g. in their dissatisfaction with many translation theories from the recent past, or with the unawareness of any translation conceptualization in everyday Academia. While many innovative initiatives developed from 1990 on, the impact of the networking around Holmes and others remains strong in the institutionalization of Target (https://benjamins.com/catalog/target ), Cetra (https://www.arts.kuleuven.be/cetra ), in the sudden boom of scholarly publications, etc. The growing interdisciplinarity and the recent globalization trends on five continents may look spectacular, but fragmentation, a well-known feature of academic traditions, is threatening also in TS.
The Birth of Translation Studies. A Recent Story?
José Lambert (born 1941) is a Professor of Comparative Literature best known for his work in Translation Studies. In 1989 he created a special research program in Translation Studies at KU Leuven. This was to become the basis of the Centre for Translation Studies (CETRA), a research summer school of which Lambert is Honorary President. In 1989 Lambert co-founded, with Gideon Toury, Target, International Journal of Translation Studies.