Title

Translating cultural differences

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Perspectives: Studies in Translatology

Publication Date

2003

Volume

11

Issue

1

First Page

25

Last Page

36

Abstract

This article argues that untranslatability is part of the cultural incompatibility between the two languages involved in translation. Translation is borne out of a need to understand what is different in a foreign cognitive environment and it is cultural alienation that leads to breakdowns in communication. It is a paradox that translation must, at one and the same time, introduce and appropriate difference. Cultural incomprehensibility is a stumbling block, but translation theory also lacks a cogent theory of culture as part of communication. A multicultural appreciation of human diversity is indeed important, yet we should also be sensitive to cultural differences. Therefore we should not overestimate target‐audience's familiarity with the unique source‐language culture. Cultural appropriation is essential in facilitating assimilation which, in turn, bridges the communication gap between the source and target text. Translation confronts cultural differences by employing feasible and coherent strategies to accommodate the culture of the source text. Cultural awareness, identity, and subsequent appropriation are needed to help target‐language readers infer associations and relationship in translations.

DOI

10.1080/0907676X.2003.9961459

Print ISSN

0907676X

E-ISSN

17476623

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2003 Taylor & Francis.

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Recommended Citation

Sun, Y.(2003). Translating cultural differences. Perspectives: Studies in Translatology, 11(1), 25-36. doi: 10.1080/0907676X.2003.9961459