Translation And Culture

1 Definition of Translation

Previously, translation was defined with a special emphasis on its linguistic aspect because it was taken for granted that translation merely took place between languages.

In fact, difficulties in translation stem from cultural discrepancies, which exert a great threat to the translator. For truly successful translating, biculturalism is even more important than bilingualism, since words only have meaning in terms of the cultures in which they function. (Nida, 1993:110)

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A good translation should be characterized by a relatively proper, full and perfect transference of culturally related messages from the source language to the target language. There are various methods of translation, such as metaphrasing, paraphrasing, explanation, adding, analogy, deletion and rewriting are exploited to attain the end of presenting fluent, comprehensible and informative tourist materials in the target language.

2 Translation and Intercultural Communication

Intercultural communication refers to the communication activities done by people of different cultural backgrounds. It is a dynamic process characterized by continuous information exchange between people of different cultural backgrounds, with language being the medium. Message source, encoding, message, channel, receiver, decoding, response and feedback are eight major communicative elements.(Jia Yuxin, 1997:23) Intercultural communication tries to solve these problems by probing into the causes of communicative barriers and cultural conflicts and into the effective ways of avoiding communicative breakdowns. In this sense, translation of tourist materials is an intercultural communication process between translators representing the source language culture and foreign readers representing the target language culture; the purpose of translation is, therefore, to effectively transfer information, including culture-loaded information to foreign readers.

3 Cultural Distance and Translation

Translation is an activity in which the exchange of two cultures takes place. Apart from bilingual competence, which has always been regarded as an essential requirement for translators, intercultural consciousness is a must for translators. This is particularly true of the translation of tourist materials. Tourist materials offer not only the basic information of a place, but its cultural background as well. If translators were not familiar with the discrepancies between two cultures, it would be impossible for them to achieve an efficient and appropriate communication through translation. Therefore, it is necessary to make some study of the cultural discrepancies from the angle of translation.

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Aunes Oversettelser ASAuthor: Carmen Wang

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