As has been stressed above, translation theory can be defined as a linguistic discipline which relies, to a great extent, on the findings of other disciplines. Since so, a natural question inevitably arises which concerns the place that the translation theory occupies in relation to other linguistic disciplines. This problem has several aspects: the position of translation studies in relation (a) to macro- and micro-linguistics, (b) theoretical (fundamental) and applied sciences, (c) descriptive and prescriptive (normative) studies.
The division of modern linguistics into micro- and macro-linguistics is based on the volume and size of the object of study. The former comprises linguistics that studies a language 'in itself and for itself' (in the terminology of F.de Saussure) irrespective of extralinguistic factors. Here refer such classical disciplines of language study as phonetics and phonology, grammar, lexicology and semasiology, as well as comparative-historical and contrastive typological linguistics.
To macrolinguistics, that is linguistics in a broad sense of the word, refer such compartments in language study which investigate a language in relation to extralinguistic factors that lie outside a language, but exert a certain effect upon it. There are at present a number of such interdisciplinary sciences as socio-linguistics (interaction of language and social factors), psycholinguistics (psycho-physiological mechanisms of speech activity), ethno-linguistics (language and ethnographic and cultural factors), geographic (areal) linguistics (territorial and geographic factors influencing a language), cognitive linguistics (language and cognition), etc. In the opinion of prof. L.S.Barkhudarov, linguistic theory of translation should be qualified as a macrolinguistic science for which he gives several reasons [Áàðõóäàðîâ 1975]:
1) an act of translation like any other act of communication refers to a speech event which involves apart from the language a number of objective and subjective non-linguistic phenomena: the topic of a message, the situation of communication (place, time, circumstances of communication, modality of intercourse), participants in a speech act. These factors interact with language and are used to create a certain speech event. The knowledge of these factors is absolutely essential in order to render properly a given message in any type of text / discourse. While translating specialist texts a translator is required to know the subject situation, dealing with fiction he is expected to be familiar with the author's world outlook, his / her aesthetic views and tastes, artistic method of literary work, etc.
2) an act of translation is always placed against a broader background exceeding the boundaries of a speech situation which embraces a translator's knowledge of a broader scope including the knowledge of various aspects of life within a certain community: literature, history, mythology, politics, sports, etc. Correct understanding and proper translation of a certain message depends on the knowledge of habits, traditions, life experience, stereotypes, speech etiquette, mentality of the people speaking a SL. Since this knowledge may be insufficient or absent on the part of the TLT addressee it is a translator's task to provide it using various techniques. For example, in rendering the following utterance a translator resorts to transformations in order to make the message clear, «Ãåíåðàë-ïîðó÷èê! Â³í ó ìåíå â ðîò³ áóâ ñåðæàíòîì! .. Îáîõ ðîñ³éñüêèõ îðäåí³â êàâàëåð! .. (À. Ñ. Ïóøê³í) - "Lieutenant - General - he was a sergeant in my regiment. And now, Cavalier of the two highest Russian orders "... (T. and I. Litvinov).
Thus, taking into account the reasons stated above it is possible to conclude that linguistic translation theory should be qualified as a macrolinguistic discipline that studies translation process as a complex phenomenon in which adequate translation of any speech event involves apart from language the knowledge of a lot of non-linguistic factors.
Another division of linguistic disciplines is made between theoretical and applied sciences, although the terms are rather arbitrary as it is obvious that any applied science is always based on some underlying theory, whereas a theory proves its validity through practical applications. As for LTT it came into being as an applied branch of linguistic studies. It is noteworthy to mention that one of the pioneers of LTT abroad J. Catford qualified his book as an essay in applied linguistics as, in his opinion, translation theory covers varied applications of the theory and categories of general linguistics that exceed the boundaries of explanations and descriptions in regard to a particular language or languages.
With respect to this division translation theory viewed as part of translatology embracing a set of disciplines studying translation process from different angles [Áàðõóäàðîâ 1975] is regarded as an applied discipline which like any other applied science is connected with a specific kind of human activity. Some of the disciplines that refer to theoretical translatology have a descriptive force as they are concerned with the investigation of translation as a means of interlingual communication which should be described and explained, while those relating to applied translatology are characterized by prescriptive focus. For this reason, according to A.V.Fedorov [Ôåäîðîâ 1963], translation theory has a prescriptive or normative aspect as it not only establishes objectively existing regularities of translation process, but on their basis it prescribes for a translator certain rules and norms of equivalent translation following which it is possible to achieve desirable results. The author argues that in terms of applied disciplines translation theory can be qualified as a descriptive-prescriptive science as, on the one hand, it describes and analyses materials drawn from translation practice and, on the other hand, it formulates normative recommendations and rules ( 'prescriptions') that can help a translator in his work.
Other linguists treat the notion of translatology differently and accordingly suggest another understanding of the descriptive and prescriptive aspects of translation theory. VNKomissarov interprets the term 'translation theory' in two senses: in a broad sense 'translation theory' coincides with the term 'translatology' embracing all concepts, statements and observations connected with the investigation of translation practice, namely, linguistics of translation, psychology of translation, ethnology of translation, etc. In a narrow sense it includes only a theoretical part of translatology which is opposed to its applied aspects [Êîì³ñàð³â 1973 1990]. In keeping with this understanding of translatology the author refers to theoretical (fundamental) translatology such problems of this discipline as the creation of theoretical models of translation, the study of the questions connected with translation equivalence, the investigation of an act of translation as a process of producing a translation text and some other issues. From this approach it follows that applied translatology is concerned with the study of matters which are of practical interest and, above all, with the translator who occupies a central place in this process. The range of problems discussed includes a translator's knowledge and skills, the content and methods of training translators and interpreters, skills required for different types of translation and some others related to a translator's job. Another set of issues are related to mechanical translation and the possibility of formalizing a translator's job, the investigation of correlation of a translator's and other kinds of speech activity, the place of translation in second-language teaching, etc. Such an understanding of theoretical and applied aspects of translatology underlies the difference between theoretical (descriptive) And normative (prescriptive) Sections of linguistic theory of translation. Prescriptive studies work out practical recommendations, formulate a list of requirements set for measuring the quality of translation, elaborate the notion of translation norm.
The authors of many recent works on translation theory stress a descriptive, rather than a prescriptive approach to it based on the study of concrete language data collected from real translation acts as any a priory demands set for translation can hardly be accepted [Ðåâç³í, Ðîçåíöâåéã òèñÿ÷ó äåâ'ÿòñîò ø³ñòüäåñÿò òðè]. We can refer to Th.H.Savoury who tried to compare various requirements made of translation by different authors proving that most of them are mutually exclusive, cf.
i. a translation must transfer words of an original text,
ii. a translation must convey thoughts of an original,
iii. a translation must read like an original,
iv. a translation must read as a translation,
v. a translation must retain the style of an original,
vi. a translation must reflect a translator's style, etc.
(T. Savory. The Art of Translation).
In the opinion of V.N.Komissarov, the absence of scientifically grounded unified criteria set for adequate translation is an important argument against the normative approach to translations [Êîì³ñàð³â 1973].
The founders of modern foreign translation studies which comprise "all research activities taking the phenomenon of translating and translation as their basis or focus" [Routledge .... 2001] not only stress its descriptive rather than prescriptive character, but point out a diagnostic nature of translation studies. J. Holmes developed the most comprehensive division of translation studies into branches in his book "The Name and Nature of Translation Studies" [Holmes 2003] which he called the map of translation. According to J. Holmes, translation studies can be divided into pure and applied, The latter being concerned with practical tasks of translator training, various translation aids, translation criticism. Pure translation studies are further subdivided into theoretical and descriptive. Theoretical translation studies include general and partial branches the difference between which is conditioned by a wider variety of problems of general character considered in the former that refer to any translation, and a restricted character of the latter (cf. medium, area, rank, text type, time, problem restricted translation studies). Descriptive translation studies focus on the three main aspects of translation: product-oriented (analysis of target texts aimed at establishing their differential features), process-oriented (the study of mental processes in a translator's mind) and function-oriented (analyzing the functioning of a TT in another socio-cultural environment accepting this text).