He was appointed Professor of General and Applied Linguistics at the University of Mainz in Germersheim (1971–1983). After that he held the chair of Translation Studies with special reference to Portuguese at Heidelberg University (1984–1992). He was also a visiting professor at Leopold Franzens University in Innsbruck (1999–2002), Bosphorus University in Istanbul (2002–2003) and Okan University in Istanbul (2004–2008). He finally returned to the universities of Mainz and Heidelberg to teach in his final years.
He established the skopos theory.
- Untersuchungen zum Bau zentral-süd-asiatischer Sprachen (ein Beitrag zur Sprachbundfrage). Heidelberg, J. Groos, 1969.
- Aufsätze zur Translationstheorie. Heidelberg, 1983.
- (with Katharina Reiss) Grundlegung einer allgemeinen Translationstheorie. Tübingen, Niemeyer, 1984.
- Skizzen zu einer Geschichte der Translation. Frankfurt, 1991.
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