Translation and Interpreting in the 20th Century

Focus on German

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  • Author(s): Wolfram Wilss 1
  • View Affiliations Hide Affiliations
    Affiliations: 1: Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken
  • Format: PDF
  • Publication Date February 1999
  • e-Book ISBN: 9789027299765
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/btl.29


This book provides a historical survey of the unfolding of translation and interpreting (language mediation) in the 20th century with special reference to the German-speaking area. It is based first, on extensive archive research in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, second, on a large number of interviews with experts in the field of language mediation, and third, on the author's observations and experiences in the field of translation practice, translation teaching, and translation studies between 1950-1995. A specific feature of the book is the description of the social role of the language mediator through the prisms of communicative targets and technological developments and to determine his function as that of an indispensable bridge-builder between the members of differing linguistic and cultural communities.<br />Historically, it distinguishes between three main phases, the period from 1900 to 1919 with the dominance of French as lingua franca in international communication, the period from 1919 to 1945, which is characterized by English-French bilingualism, and the period from 1945 to approximately 1990 with its massive trend toward multilingualism and the development of language mediation into a &#8220;translation industry&#8221;. The book continues with chapters on the implications of globalization, specialization and automaticization for international communication and it closes with reflections on future prospects for the profession in a knowledge society, both from a practical and a pedagogical viewpoint.

Subjects: Interpreting; Translation studies


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