29(2) - 2017

Les fonctions de la traduction en sciences humaines et sociales

Rafael Y. Schögler


Functions of translations in the social sciences and humanities


The academic field strongly relies upon national institutional structures for its reproduction. Hence, internationalization and international collaboration cannot be taken for granted. Translation is one practice contributing to internationalization in the social sciences and humanities and the circulation of ideas. To uncover the boundaries and functions of translation in and for these fields, this article advocates a pluridisciplinary approach to the study of translation in the social sciences and humanities. From this perspective translation becomes more than a mere linguistic exercise as it is seen to provide a space for interpretation, reinterpretation and embedding of (new) ideas. Translation functions as positioner that agents may use to position themselves and others – theories and people alike – in the social spaces of disciplines. Also, patterns of selection indicate where translations turn into ice-breakers or on the contrary into a conservative force within academic fields. New elements, theories and ideas might be transmitted, and/or on the contrary, established strings of thought reinforced. Starting with a discussion of internationalization in the social sciences and humanities more generally, the article goes on to offer a theoretically driven typology of functions of translation in these fields illustrated by two cases.


Translation in the social sciences and humanities, sociology of translation, circulation of ideas, functions of translation

DOI 10.17462/para.2017.02.03

October 26, 2017
  29(2) - 2017