Publication details [#12831]

Meylaerts, Reine. 2006. Conceptualizing the translator as a historical subject in multilingual environments: a challenge for Descriptive Translation Studies. In Bastin, Georges L. and Paul Fadio Bandia, eds. Charting the future of translation history (Perspectives on Translation). Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press. pp. 59–79.


The article deals with the role of the translator as a historical subject in multilingual environments. To do so, the author makes use of the idea of agency, looking particularly at field theory's habitus concept. She intends to grasp the dynamics of literary translation from Flemish into French in interwar Belgium by using a sociological approach. Answers to the question 'who has the right to be (or become) a translator?' and 'Who has the obligation / mission to remains a translator?' require an analysis of the relations between structure and agency. The author observes that texts and discourses can cross so-called linguistic and cultural boundaries, disrupting the analytical pertinence of a clear-cut distinction between sources and targets. Consequently, she argues the need for flexible definitions of source and target, definitions which need to integrate the concept of agency with communication-oriented models. [Source: A. Matthyssen]