Volume 36, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0924-1884
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9986
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Norm conformity and violation constitute two sides of norm operation: the former maintains the stability of the system while the latter motivates its modification, evolution, and change. While previous studies have concentrated on the constraints of norms in translators’ behaviour and their conformity to them, few have examined norm violation, especially why translators choose violation over conformity and how they get away with the violation. This study explores motivation and risk management concerning norm violation based on a case study of two Chinese translators who violated the norm of standard Chinese and got away with it when translating a dialect in the source text. The case study shows norm violation is the result of an optimal trade-off between translators’ reward-seeking behaviour and risk management in their negotiation with multiple conflicting norms, rather than an abnormal behaviour involving negative consequences, as suggested in previous studies. Whether one can get away with the violation is often related to its impact on the system. The study contributes to norm studies by illuminating the complexity of norm-governed behaviours and norm violation, offering new insights on norm dynamics and risk management in translation.


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