In order to describe translation fully, it is necessary to distinguish between the following three types of observation: (1) translation observes the difference between the system, for which it translates, and the system’s environment; (2) translation observes its own operations; (3) translation observes its own observations. To describe translation enables us to (1) explain its history, evolution, and origin; (2) describe its operation (the laws or, one may say, nature of its operation); (3) make informed predictions about its likely developments; (4) equip its practitioners with a comprehensive view of what they do and provide them with a possibility to adapt to changes in working conditions and requirements. Yet fi rst, the concept ‘observation’ should be clarifi ed.