A foot in both camps: Redressing the balance between the ‘pure’ and applied branches of translation studies


  • Federica Scarpa University of Trieste
  • Maria Teresa Musacchio University of Padova
  • Giuseppe Palumbo University of Modena and Reggio Emilia


Applied Translation Studies, Descriptive Translation Studies, Theoretical Translation Studies, Translation teaching, Professional translation


The aim of this article is to argue for an approach to translation research integrating/bridging the divide between the descriptive, theoretical and applied branches of Translation Studies (TS). Based on a perspective of translation as cross-cultural communication centred on language and as a professional activity where the translator makes decisions, the branch of Applied Translation Studies (ATS) is seen not just as an “extension” of the “pure” branches of TS (Theory and Description), or one where theoretical statements based on the results of descriptive studies are transmitted in a unidirectional way (Toury 1995: 17-19). Rather, the applied strand of TS covering translation teaching and practice, translation quality assessment, the development of translation aids etc. is effectively incorporated in the disciplinary core of TS, providing a site for testing theoretical statements, identifying problems and providing explanations to be fed into the theory.