Grad Workshop

Friday, April 1st

9:00 – 11:00 am

Location: Green Collage, Coach House

Translation Theory Workshop with Lawrence Venuti

“Translation Theory and Practice: Instrumental vs. Hermeneutic Models”


Although the history of translation theory and practice has been distinguished by a range of concepts and strategies, two approaches have recurred so frequently as to be considered dominant models. The first can be called instrumental, treating translation as the reproduction or transfer of an invariant contained in or caused by the source text, whether its form, its meaning, or its effect. The second can be called hermeneutic, treating translation as the inscription of an interpretation, one among varying and even conflicting possibilities, so that the source text is seen as variable in form, meaning, and effect. This seminar will explore the continuing pertinence of these models for the study and practice of translation by examining the work of various theorists and commentators, including Jerome, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Eugene Nida, Gideon Toury, Antoine Berman, and Jacques Derrida. The discussions will be grounded in analyses of translations into and out of English from a variety of humanistic genres and text types, including the lyric poem, prose fiction, the screenplay, and philosophy. Attention will be given to various theoretical concepts, including equivalence, norms, and ethics, as well as the fundamental relationship between theory and practice.

Theoretical Texts:

Jerome, “Letter to Pammachius” (395CE), trans. Kathleen Davis

Friedrich Schleiermacher, “On the Different Methods of Translating” (1813), trans. Susan Bernofsky

Eugene Nida, “Principles of Correspondence” (1964)

Gideon Toury, “The Nature and Role of Norms in Translation” (1978/1995)

Antoine Berman, “Translation and the Trials of the Foreign” (1985), trans. L. Venuti

All these texts are available in The Translation Studies Reader, Ed. Lawrence Venuti


Download the material for the workshop:

Download poster for the internet (low resolution)

Download poster for print (high resolution)