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 Developed in the 1970s by Itamar Even-

 A literary work is studied as part of a literary
 Polysystem is conceived as a
heterogeneous, heirarchized conglomerate
(or system) of systems which interact to
bring about ongoing, dynamic process of
evolution within the polysystem as a whole.
 Criticism of the polysystem theory. p 110
 Toury calls for the development of a properly
systematic descriptive branch of the discipline to
replace isolated free-standing studies that are
 A proposal of a three-phase methodology for
systematic DTS:
1. Situate the text within the target culture system,
looking at its significance or acceptability.
2. Compare the ST and the TT for shifts, identifying
relationships between ‘coupled pairs’ of ST and TT
3. Attempt generalizations, reconstructing the process
of translation for this ST-TT pair.
 Definition of norms:
The translation of general values or ideas shared by a
community – as to what is right or wrong, adequate or
inadequate – into performance instructions appropriate
for and applicable to particular situations.

 The norms that have prevailed in the translation of a

particular text can be reconstructed from two types of
1. The examination of texts, the products of norm-
governed activity.
2. Explicit statement made about norms by translators,
publishers, reviewers and other participants in the
translation act.
Toury’s initial norm and the continuum of adequate and acceptable

Initial norm

Subjection to source norms subjection to target culture norms

Adequate translation acceptable translation

Preliminary norms

Preliminary norms

Translation policy directness of translation

Operational norms

Operational norms

Matricial norms textual-linguistic norms

Laws of translation
1. The law of growing standardization.
2. The law of interference.

Toury’s model in action

Discussion of Toury’s work

 Gentzler, 1993 lists four aspects of Toury’s
theory that have had an important impact on
translation studies. p.115
 A proposal of another set of norms:
1. Product or expectancy norms:
a) Allow evaluative judgments
b) Validated by a norm- authority
2. Professional norms.
a) The accountability norm ethical
b) The communication norm social
c) The relation norm linguistic
 The paper by Jose Lambert and Hendrik van Gorp
(1985/2006) ‘On describing translations’
 They divided the scheme into four sections:
1. Preliminary data :
Information on title pages, preface, general
2. Macro-level :
the division of text, titles and presentation of the
3. Micro-level :
translation shift (lexical, grammatical patterns, word
4. Systemic context :
intertextual relations, norms