Controversy of Whether Translation is an art, Craft or Science | April 2018 | Translation Journal

April 2018 Issue

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Controversy of Whether Translation is an art, Craft or Science

Despite the fact that translation and interpretation these days are rapidly increasing world wide and playing a crucial role in the world affairs due to the fact that the globe has turned into a small village, the issue of translation -  whether it is an art, craft or science - has along history and still remains controversial. Ordudari (2006, an article, website) claims that: "Theoretically, one can consider translation as a science; practically, it seem rational to consider it an art, and that some scholars regard translation as a creative process.

To other scholars, translation is a second–hand art. Belloc (1931:6) believes that translation " has never been granted the dignity of the original work and has suffered too much on the general judgment of letters".

 Savory (1969:49) points out that " there are no universally accepted principles of translation, because the only people qualified to formulate them have never agreed among themselves. This implies that Savory does not tend to consider translation as  a science.

While Chukovski (1984:93) confirms that that "translation is not only an art, but a high art ". Newark (1988:7) refers to translation as "a craft ".

Additionally, some scholars think that translation is both craft and science . Gabr (2001: 2) argues that " translation being a craft on the hand requires training, i.e. practice under supervision, and being a science on the other hand, has to be on  language theories" .

Azizineshad (200:4) goes in the same line pointing outs that "translation has a lot in common with arts as well as science. It sometimes becomes highly dependent on the idiosyncrasies and intuition of the translator. Like composers and painters, translator often find their own moods and personalities reflected in their work".

Another view point is that of Baker (1993:5) who claims that translation is academically a new born discipline and just starting to find its way as a subject in a increasing number of universities and colleges world wide. She stresses that translation, like any discipline, has to approach the findings and theories of other related disciplines so as to develop itself and find its own methods and principles, but which disciplines can serve this purpose is still a controversial issue .


Aziznezhad , M .(2004) . IS Translation teachable? Retrieved April (7) 2007 from http:// bedu.htm.

Belloc, h(1931) On Translation . Oxford : University press. 

Chukoviskii , K (1984) . The Art of Translation. London: Oxford University  press.

Jabr ,M (2001) Daleal Almotarjem fi Almabadi Alasasia Alakbar Alsahfia Wa Alnosos Alegtesadia (The translators  dictionary of translation Basic , Journalistic news and economic (texts) Faculty of Arts, in Shams University Cairo.

New Mark, P (1988) Text Book of Translation. London and New York, prentice Hall international (UK) Ltd .

Ordinary , M (2006) Good Translation Art/craft/ or science ? http://www. Translation directory. Come/article 1589 .php.

Savory , T(1969) . The Art of  Translation .London;jornal Cape Ltd.

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