Translation: Economic and Sociological Perspectives

  • Johan Heilbron
  • Gisèle Sapiro


Translating and interpreting, the process by which verbal utterances in one language are expressed in another, takes on a variety of forms and functions depending on the context in which it takes place. The translation of sacred texts has traditionally been a source of social concern and religious controversy. Negotiations between rulers and states have, just like international trade, routinely involved forms of translating. The international circulation of movies and television programmes is accompanied by dubbing and subtitling. Literary debates frequently engage with translations as well, either as models to be followed or as examples to be resisted. Since it is impossible to do justice to this variety of translation practices in a single chapter, we shall restrict ourselves to one major form of translation: the translation of books. Book translations leave public traces; in the modern era they imply a transfer of property rights, are registered, appear in book statistics, and are publicly evaluated and debated. As such they represent an observable and interrelated subset of translation practices, which has only recently begun to attract attention from social scientists.


Language Group Translation Study John Benjamin Symbolic Capital Book Market 
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© Johan Heilbron and Gisèle Sapiro 2016

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  • Johan Heilbron
  • Gisèle Sapiro

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