A Study on Lawrence Venuti’s Translation Theory Essay

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A Study on Lawrence Venuti’s Translation Theory

Lawrence Venuti is a distinguished translator, translation theorist and master of deconstruction whose works are included in two collections of stories by Dino Buzzati. Venuti is the recipient of a translation grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a Premio di Cultura for translation from the Italian Government. A former judge of the PEN-BOMC Translation Award, he teaches at Temple University as an Associate Professor of English. He is the editor of anthology Rethinking Translation:Discourse,Subjectivity,Ideology; the compiler of The Translation Studies Reader and the author of two major books on translation.

—The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation and The Scandal of Translation: Towards an Ethics of Difference. Lawrence Venuti has studied the translating practice with a critical eye since the 1660s and introduced the dominant position of the fluentness in translation strategies, which helps form the canons for translated literature in Anglo-American language and culture; he has analyzed the influence of the textual and non-textual elements to translation such as relationships between ST and TT and between writer and translator, etc., in hopes of finding a text that can load the foreignness and situate the translator in the foreground. Venuti’s theory has re-analyzed the connotation of translation.

He is strongly against domestication of translation, which embodies the ethnocentrism and cultural hegemony in essence. So he puts forward new translation methods such as “resistance”, “symptomatic reading” and “abusive fidelity”. He hopes to make a new position for translation that should be read as a translation with its own value, which not only puts post-modernism in translation but also leaves enough space for Chinese scholars and students to rethink translation.

Beside Introduction and Conclusion there are five chapters in this thesis: Introduction briefly introduces the present situation of translation studies and the theme, the structure and goal of this thesis; Chapter One collects and briefly introduces the most important parts of Venuti’s translation theory, trying to find the essence and key points from either textual or non-textual aspects; Chapter Two tries to analyze Venuti’s theory from both diachronic and synchronic perspectives in hope to find the properties in the modern times; Chapter Three integrates theories of different schools and focuses on analyzing the functions of Venuti’s translation theory in translating practice and review through comparative studies.

Chapter Four briefly analyzes the backgrounds and ways of introduction of Venuti’s theory and its influence on translation studies and practice in China, as well as the present status of its misreading and mistranslating; Chapter Five analyzes the merits and demerits of Venuti’s theory from both positive and negative aspects, hoping to generalize his contribution to translation studies and draw attentions to the void space for rethinking translation; Conclusion sums up the whole thesis.

Key Words: Lawrence Venuti power relationships resistance foreignness rethinking

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