Split loyalties: The translator between translating institutions' norms and translation theories

Omar F. Atari*, Abdul Gabbar Al-Sharafi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates the conflict between institutional and translation theory norms. It analyzes an English translation of the publishing policy of a refereed journal in an Arab university and contrasts it with comparable English texts belonging to the same genre, i.e. contributor guidelines and style sheets from a number of refereed English journals. The analysis reveals the conflict in expectations and standards between translation institutions and translation theories and the need for translator training classrooms to open up to professional norms operating in the marketplace. A multi-layered approach to text analysis, motivated by the complex and dynamic nature of the translation process, is adopted here. The analysis - which examines translational choices, the text type, the client, the commission and the relevant institutional norms - gauges the impact of institutional norms on translators' decisions and the relevance of such norms to translator training and pedagogy. The data drawn from this case study shows that institutional norms in this academic setting do exert pressure and constrain translators' decisions, generally leading towards a literal and foreignized target text. The study also shows that the current state of translator training in the institution under scrutiny has not been responsive enough to the role of these norms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-217
Number of pages23
JournalInterpreter and Translator Trainer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Foreignization
  • Functionalist approaches
  • Hegemony
  • Institutional translation norms
  • Linguistically-oriented approaches
  • Translator's loyalty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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