Social norms, the customary rules that govern behavior in groups and societies, have been extensively studied in the social sciences. More recently, also legal scholars have touted social norms as efficient alternatives to legal rules, as they may internalize negative externalities and provide signaling mechanisms at little or no cost (Ellickson 1991; Posner 2000).
Anthropologists have described how social norms function in different cultures (Geertz 1973), sociologists have focused on their social functions and how they motivate people to act (Durkheim 1950; Parsons 1937, Parsons and Shils 1951; Coleman 1990; Hechter and Opp 2001), and economists have explored how adherence to norms influences market behavior (Akerlof 1976; Young 1998). Norms are mostly seen as a kind behaviour, although they are not only just behaviours, some of the most important differences are moral, social and legal norms and also the difference between conventions and norms are blurred. Because of that there is no confirmation of these rules. Because they are not written and they change from nation to nation, and also from person to person. They are also some kind of consciousness of the moral and conscience. And the cultural norms are considered to be on the center of the norms. However there are norms such as translational norms. They may be more comprehensible by providing information about their existence in some subjects and about the problems that are causing us to contemplate their existence.
The reason of the existence of norms is somewhat related with the over-socialization, being divergent from ourselves and merge as one as a group. But being in a group does not end your existence, it provides us to change that group with our thoughts or ideologies and it also changes the way how we think. But our thoughts and ideologies are not enough to be a part of a group’s ideology. It must be supported by other members of the group. There must be a consensus. And as we become a group as a society, we inextricably also proceed to have an another identity, which is is called as social identity. By ‘social identity’ we refer, in Tajfel’s own words, to “that part of an individual’s self-concept which derives from his knowledge of his membership of a social group (or groups) together with the value and emotional significance attached to that membership” (Tajfel 1981, p. 255) Toury reminisces social norms as values shared by a group with regard to approved behaviour.
Norms are the reason of the behaviour that are seemingly regular. Because norms regulates our behaviour. And norms are different in cultures and at different historical times. . According to Toury norms are pervasive in translation practice. Norms are notions of approved behaviour which have prescriptive force within a community. Toury mentions various kinds of translational norms, and one of them is preliminary norms. Preliminary norms are related with the translation policy, which means the choice of works to be translate, and related with the directness of translation.
And the another kind of the translational norms is initial norm. In?tial norm is considered to the most influential type of norms that is proposed by Toury, The initial norm determines the global approach of the translator. Global approach may vary between adequacy, in which the translator obeys into the textual relations and norms embodied in the source text, or acceptability, in which the translator follows the linguistic and rhetorical norms of the target language and culture. The initial norm is expressed through operational norms which direct actual decisions made during the translation process: this concerns omissions/additions, location of material, textual segmentation, and translational renderings (Toury 1995, 56-59). Toury relies upon the translated texts as a preference of a source of evidence for norms.
It is the regularities of phenomena in the translated texts that serve as evidence of normative force, since they indicate regularity of behaviour (Toury 1995, 65). The constitution of the norms concept by Toury is considered as major contribution to translation research. According to Andrew Chesterman, Toury’s introduction of the study of norms offered a solution to two problems. Firstly it provided an escape from the tradition of prescriptive approaches: norms were to be studied by scholars rather than prescribed, and secondly norms offered a way of explaining why translations have the form they do (Chesterman 1998a, 91). The focus on norms means that a source text is not considered to have one ‘correct’ translation (Gentzler 1993, 129).
One of the most controversial area in norms is the function of it. It can fulfill important social functions, morals, yet we cannot define some of the aspects of it, such as people are all different from each other. And that uniqueness come from the way we grew up, the way our surrounding had influenced us, the way society want us to be and the way that we chose to be. How we have chosen to be different effects our moral, our conscience and eventually our norms. It influences us, that we act accordingly, such as determination of translating a controversial book, such as Satanic Verses, Lolita, To Kill a Mockingbird, and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, illustrates the social inequality and moral education. And it was banned because of the reason of “promoting white supremacy”. However it was just describing the society of the America of that time. Maybe it was inappropriate to describe the reality. Or Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, was written in Ireland and banned at the same year of its publication with the reason of describing sex explicitly seen as an entertainment subject in the future.
People ban books because the way of how they see the world, their perspective is different, which means that their norms are also different. But this is not the only case, sometimes there are written rules explaining the reason of the ban. And the roots of written rules are also stem from the norms that we used to have. As another example, Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie was banned in Turkey and some other countries and also a clergyman gave death fetwas to the everyone that have a connection with this book, such as translators and publishers. Some Philosophers have taken a different approach to norms. In the literature on norms and conventions, both social constructs are seen as the endogenous product of individuals’ interactions (Lewis 1969; Ullmann-Margalit 1977; Vandershraaf 1995; Bicchieri 2006). Norms are supported by a cluster of expectations and beliefs.
Beliefs, expectations, group knowledge and common knowledge have become central concepts in the development of a philosophical view of social norms. And expectations and beliefs are the reason that the convention and norm differ from each other. Norms are not written and they are based with the expectations and beliefs. And in literature the relationship between normative beliefs and behaviour is blurred.
Some authors identify the norms as observable, recurrent patterns of behaviour. Others only focus on normative beliefs and expectations. But there is a consensus related with norms, that the normative beliefs alone cannot support a norm. By scrutinizing the books, we can perceive the norms, culture, and social structure of that nation and country. Although the explanation of the norms in written format is hard, we can still perceive the norms of that society by looking social interactions, how they talk with each other, or just how they react to the events in the book. However if we scrutinize a book that is written long time ago, the norms may differ from the today’s norm of that society.
It does not necessarily have to be written long time ago, because the norms may even change from a day to another day. Because, If norms can thrive and spread, they can also die out. A poorly understood phenomenon is the sudden and unexpected change of well-established patterns of behavior (Mackie 1996). And this is the reason why the norms are hard to be written.
They change, they adapt and they sometimes do not survive. For example, in Bodrum when my mother was a teenager, it was unusual to trim facial hair, such as trimming brow before getting married and it was even more unusual men to trim their brow. Or as another example from translation studies, it was unusual to translate the Bible as sense for sense or sensum de sensu until Nida’s translation and Martin Luther’s translation. And Etienne Dolet was executed because of the unexpected translation of Plato’s work. It was unusual to translate differently, and it was so unexpected that it eventually lead the execution of Etienne Dolet.
Martin Luther’s translation was also unusual and unexpected that because of the translation, he was judged. And he wrote the Circular Letter of Translation, to explain his translation method. They are free to translate however they want to, but in that society and in that time some of the norms, that according to Toury, we can call them as approved behaviours, were strict and they were the manipulations of the so called “supremes” such as Catholic Churches. They were selling indulgences and land in Heaven. The trials and executions related with the translation, was mostly because of the social norms, religious norms and expectations.
But these norms are not the only one that is related with translation. There is also Preliminary norms, that describes a translator’s selection of the theories and models and the way they translate a text. Or initial norms that determines the global approach of the translator. Or there are norms that are related with conscience of the translator, and the reason why they choose not to translate a book, because of his or her conscience. According to Toury norms are pervasive in translation practice. Norms are notions of approved behaviour which have prescriptive force within a community.
Norms affect translators by becoming part of an individual’ preferences and goals. Norms exist in the categories of social, cultural and translational norms. The norms may be arised by a group, by a nation, by a society, or by just one person. We can perceive them by looking into literary texts, but we cannot define them as an eternal subject, they may fade away.
They are a part of our behaviour, our belief, conscience and the way we execute things. And when we become a group member, they may change accordingly to the group that we are the members of. Although the norms do exist, their existence are may be frail and may be strong. And because they are not written they may change in an instant, if they do not have a strong structure. The term norms may indicate our common sense,behaviour, conscience, intention, social expectations, or expectations of self. Because it is not related just one subject and because it is not written and it changes from nation to nation and person to person, the comprehension of its existence is harder.
It is hard to comprehend the existence of norms, because it is something that is acquired like the abilities of perceiving, understanding, and judgement. Norm is similar to common sense when we take comprehension into consideration. And the word “normal” is derived from “norm” which means that something that is conforming the standard or the common type. The things that standard and common type in our life times are actually stem from the norms that we used to have and we still have. Thus norms exist, but they are not slightly visible and they may have some different names and meanings loaded to them, because they are not written and they may change from person to person. Norms are our social identity, our appearance, our abilities, and our choices. They are not just hypotheses.
Because hypotheses means that a proposition made as a basis for reasoning, without any assumption of its truth. However we can have some thoughts about the truth of the norms by our common sense.