One important source of inspiration for research into the effect that institutions of prestige and power can have on the process of translation
has been the work led by the Tel Aviv scholars Itimar Even-Zohar and Gideon Toury on literary polysystems and translation norms . In turn, the polysystem model owes a considerable debt to the vigorous intellectual activity which Eastern Europe saw in the 1960s and early 1970s. A valuable insight to emerge from this body of theorising relates to the losses and gains in translation. So-called ‘shifts’ in translation are not considered ‘errors’, as many a translation critic has called them. Shifts are seen as part of the process which is naturally embedded in two different text-worlds , intellectually, aesthetically and from the perspective of culture at large. As the Slovak translation theorist Anton Popovic (1970: 79) put it, shifts may simply be seen as ‘all that appears as new with respect to the original, or fails to appear where it might have been expected’.