By starting with the classifications of the approaches to translation studies, the paper reviews the discipline mainly from the following perspectives: 1) the research levels; 2) the research objects; 3) the research approaches; 4) the understandings of the nature of translation or translatology; and 5) the understandings of the relationship between the TT and the ST. It argues that, from the perspective of research levels, translation studies can be classified as philological approach, linguistic approach, cultural approach and philosophical approach; seen from the research objects, it can be divided into ST oriented approach and TT oriented approach; in terms of research approaches, it can be classified into prescriptive approach and descriptive approach; with respect to the understandings of the nature of translation or translatology, the debate whether translation is an art or a science is in fact a false proposition; as regards the understandings of the relationship between the TT and the ST, we have the equivalence school and the non equivalence school. The equivalence school can be sub categorized as the absolute equivalence school and the relative equivalence school, the latter of which, lying between the absolute equivalence school and the non equivalence school, can be used to account for the overwhelming majority of the existing translation theories, though theorists of the relative equivalence school have different opinions regarding the degrees, levels and aspects of equivalence between the TT and ST.
We further discusses the overlapping relationship among all these approaches or schools, with the attempt at correcting some prejudices prevailing in the field of translation studies nowadays while dealing with this subject. For instance, we point out that not all the contemporary translation theories are TT oriented; and that the prescriptive approach is used not only by the traditional translation studies but also by the contemporary translation studies.