Translation and History: A Textbook


By Theo Hermans
Copyright Year 2023
ISBN 9781138036987

Published July 7, 2022 by Routledge

This concise and accessible textbook is a comprehensive introduction to the key historical aspects of translation. Six chapters cover essential concepts in researching and writing the history of translation and translation as history.

Theo Hermans presents and explains fundamental issues and questions in a clear and lively style. He includes numerous examples and case studies and offers suggestions for further reading. Four of the six chapters take their cue from ideas about historiography that are alive among professional historians. They pay attention to the role of narrative, to the emergence of transnational, transcultural, global and entangled history, and to particular fields such as the history of concepts and memory studies. Other topics include microhistory, actor–network theory and book history.

With an emphasis on methodology, how to do research in translation history and how to write it up, this is an essential text for all courses on translation history and will be of interest to anyone working in translation theory and methodology.

Table of Contents




Chapter 1. Stories and Histories

Chapter 2. Translation History

Chapter 3. Questions of Scale

Chapter 4. Concepts

Chapter 5. Memory

Chapter 6. Translation as History







Theo Hermans is Emeritus Professor at the Centre for Translation Studies, University College London (UCL), and the author of, among other titles, Translation in Systems (1999, reissued as a Routledge Translation Classic in 2019) and The Conference of the Tongues (2007).




“Theo Hermans has written the book we need in the wake of the historiographic boom in Translation Studies and the translational turn in the humanities. Drawing deeply on teaching and research experience, this textbook avoids all pedagogical pedantism and simplified manual-like instructions for research. Instead, it provides inspiration for future researchers to ask decisive questions about the field: how is translation history even possible, what translations can teach us about history, and what historiography has to offer translation research.”
Lavinia Heller, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Germany


“A fascinating study of the significant role played by translation in history, particularly in relation to narrative and memory. The book makes a new and innovative contribution to the disciplines of both history and translation studies and provides an invaluable source of material for postgraduate students and established researchers alike.”

Judith Inggs, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa