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

Nam Fung CHANG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

1 Scopus Citations

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-477
JournalPerspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice
Volume26
Issue number4
Early online date5 Mar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

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relativism
centrism
cultural relativism
freedom of information
dissident
speaking
criticism
Relativism
Translation Studies
lack
trend
Relativist

Cite this

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Voices from the periphery : further reflections on relativism in translation studies. / CHANG, Nam Fung.

In: Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice, Vol. 26, No. 4, 08.2018, p. 463-477.

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

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