European Society for Translation Studies

Vladimir Ivir, Croatian linguist and translation scholar, dies at 76

Croatia’s renowned linguist, lexicographer and translation scholar, Professor Emeritus Vladimir Ivir, died in Zagreb on Monday 21 February 2011 at the age of 76, after a long illness.

Vladimir Ivir was born in Zagreb, Croatia, where he graduated from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Zagreb in 1958, obtaining a PhD in Linguistics in 1965. He went on to pursue his academic career at the same institution, becoming a full professor in 1982 and serving as the head of the English Department (1978-1980), head of the English Language Section (1981-93), vice-dean (1975-1977), and dean (1987-1988).

During his long and fruitful career Vladimir Ivir taught as a visiting professor at universities around the world, including Trieste, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Provo, Taipeh, Berkeley, Graz, Ljubljana, Sarajevo, Novi Sad and Skopje.

Professor Ivir was the author of the first book on translation theory and practice to be written in the Croatian language (published in 1978), and he introduced translation theory as a subject in the Department of English. He taught this course, as well as courses in English syntax, semantics and lexicology, until he retired in 2004, upon which he was appointed professor emeritus.

His research in the field of Translation Studies was done mainly within the theoretical framework of contrastive analysis. He is best known for his communicative model of translation. He published extensively in Croatia and abroad.

In addition to his academic and scholarly work, Vladimir Ivir was one of Croatia’s leading interpreters, frequently appearing on radio and television as a simultaneous interpreter during broadcasts of important world events. Older generations of Croats remember his voice from the NASA broadcast of the landing on the moon in 1969. With a group of colleagues he founded the Croatian Association of Conference Interpreters in 1974.

Vladimir Ivir was also the author of several Croatian-English dictionaries of business and administration.

He won many national and international awards and honours, including the British “Member of the Victorian Order” and the Danish “Ridder af Dannebrogordenen”.

His vast bibliography includes the following titles:

Ivir, Vladimir. 1998. “Linguistic and communicative constraints on borrowing and literal translation”. In: Beylard-Ozeroff, Ann, Jana Králová and Barbara Moser-Mercer (eds.), Translators’ Strategies and Creativity. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 137-144.

Ivir, Vladimir. 1996. “A Case for Linguistics in Translation Theory”. Target 8(1). 149–157.

Ivir, Vladimir. 1996. “Elżbieta Tabakowska. Cognitive Linguistics and Poetics of Translation”. Target 8(1). 179–183.

Ivir, Vladimir, and Kalogjera, Damir (eds.). 1991. Languages in Contact and Contrast: Essays in Contact Linguistics. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Ivir, Vladimir. 1989. “Translation and backtranslation”. In: Radovanović, Milorad (ed.), Yugoslav General Linguistics. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 131-144.

Ivir, Vladimir. 1987. “Functionalism in contrastive analysis and translation studies”. In: Dirven, René and Vilém Fried (eds.), Functionalism in Linguistics. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 471-481.

Ivir, Vladimir. 1987. “Procedures and strategies for the translation of culture”. Indian Journal of Applied Linguistics 13(2). 35-46.

(Natasa Pavlovic)

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