Structuralism from the Viewpoint of Saussure, Lévi-Strauss, and Propp, and Traces of Structuralistic Thinking in Contemporary Translation Theories

Document Type : Research Paper


Faculty Member / Department of English Translation Studies, Faculty of Persian Literature and Foreign Languages, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran


The present paper is a theoretical research with a view to explicating “structuralism”-as a major intellectual paradigm of the twentieth century. Through presenting a brief account of the fundamentals of structuralism, attempt has been made to explore its relation with translation, and to identify traces of structuralistic thought in two of the most important contemporary translation theories proposed. There are two major sections to the present paper, the first of which is centered upon explaining the most basic theoretical underpinnings of structuralism relying primarily on the concepts proposed by certain renowned structuralist thinkers such as Ferdinand De Saussure, Claude Lévi-Strauss, and Vladimir Propp in the fields of linguistics and anthropology. These tenets include scientism, positivism, and reductionism. The second section addresses the relation between structuralism on the one hand, and translation, equivalence, and (un)translatability on the other. It seeks to demonstrate how some of the most outstanding 20th –century translation theories (in particular those proposed by Catford and Nida) have been, knowingly or otherwise, affected by structuralistic thinking.


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