Minority, languages and translation in Tibet

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Journal article

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minor Translating major

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Until relatively recently, research into minority languages and translation has been “largelyinvisible” in translation studies (Cronin 2003: 153). Of the studies that have been made, emphasishas been mainly on Western and European countries, with very little work done in Asian contextssuch as China. And although there are 55 different minority languages in China, studies of translation in minority communities there are thus far non-existent. This paper examines thesituation of Tibet, a colony of the People’s Republic of China for more than 50 years. The paper first defines Tibetan as a minor language using a number of critical approaches, then discusses theways in which the Tibetan language has been altered by the Chinese authorities. The subsequentimpoverishment of the language due to its minority status, as well as the fact that many Tibetans areabandoning their mother tongue, are presented. Three areas of translation activity in Tibet – pragmatic translation, literature, and the Internet – are analyzed to determine what is translated, bywhom, and in what direction translations are made. This study aims to contribute to our understanding of minority communities and the pressures placed on them to translate for, or betranslated by, the dominant power.

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Recommended Citation

Raine, R. (2010). Minority, languages and translation in Tibet. Minor Translating Major, 2, 35-53.