‘Auto-Translation’ and/or ‘Self-Translation’ for Translation Students’ Assessment and Applicability

Imen Mansour Khazri


         In a modern world full of divisions and differences, of broken bridges, let us revive the story of the Tower of Babel (meaning ‘confusion’) to retell the history of translation origin.  The American academic scholar, translator, and fiction-writer, Douglas Robinson stated that “[t]he biblical story of Babel [...] has long fascinated translators and students of translation. It contains the Old Testament story of the fall into linguistic diversity, which has often been read as the myth of the origin of translation”[i].

       According to the story, in Shinar or Babylonia, Babylonians wanted to construct a tower that reaches the heavens. So feeling a menace to His authority, God prevented them from finishing the construction by confusing the peoples’ language [so] “that they may not understand one another’s speech”[ii]. As such, the translator conjured up to remedy the scattering of tongues and to restore linguistic unity; he “becomes the World Saviour”[iii].

        Away from mythology, translation has always been a vital activity needed by the different nations essentially to trade and communicate. The old practice of translation developed leading to the emergence of ‘translation studies’ as a discipline standing by itself in the second half of the twentieth century. There appeared different approaches to translation ranging from the communicative/functional, through the linguistic, to the psycholinguistic/cognitive and interpretive ones. Along with the different approaches emerged different types, too; ‘auto-translation’ was one among these many subcategories.

        We will see the different meanings that the word ‘auto-translation’ carries from the most noticeable to the least recognized, its importance in translation teaching and learning and a measuring of its applicability in King Abdul Aziz University (KAU), Rabigh Branch, College of Science and Letters, English Department.

[i]Tower of Babel’, in Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies, p.21

[ii] Ibid , p.21

[iii] Ibid , p.21


auto-translation, meanings, importance in translation teaching and learning, applicability.

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