Domestication and Foreignization in Translation

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  • Topic: Translation, Source text, Machine translation
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  • Published : April 26, 2011
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Domestication and Foreignization
1. Introduction
Translation does not only involve giving the equivalent meaning in the Target Language (TL), rather it involves considering the values of the TL and the Source Language (SL) whether they are linguistic values or cultural ones. Some translators prefer changing the SL values and making them readable for the TL audience. This is termed Domestication. Others, on the other hand, prefer keeping the values of the SL and exposing audience to them. “Domesticating translation” and “foreignizing translation” are two terms coined by Lawrence Venuti based on his investigation of western translation history and theories. The roots of the two terms can be traced back to the German philosopher Friedrich Schleiermacher’s argument that there are only two different methods of translation,” either the translator leaves the author in peace, as much as possible, and moves the reader towards him; or he leaves the reader in peace, as much as possible, and moves the author towards him.” [2] [2] Venuti, L. The Translator’s Invisibility: History of Translation[M]. 上海: 上海外语教育出版社, 2004: 19-20. 2. Definitions

* Definition to domesticating translation (or Domestication) in Dictionary of Translation Studies: “A term used by Venuti(1995) to describe the translation strategy in which a transparent, fluent style is adopted in order to minimize the strangeness of the foreign text for TL reader.”[3] [3] Schuttleworth & Cowie. Dictionary of Translation Studies[M]. 上海: 上海外语教育出版社, 2004: 43-44. Theoretically, domesticating translation takes language as a tool of communication. In translation practice, it will make a translated text as readable as possible in the TL, without any traces of the source text linguistics or unfamiliar expressions, making it fluent and, as Venuti puts it, transparent. * Definition to foreignizing translation (or foreignization): “A term used by Venuti(1995) to designate the type of translation in which a TT is produced which deliberately breaks target conventions by retaining something of the foreignness of the original” [4] [4] ibid. 59. Foreignization actually isn’t a translation, but a kind of transplantation. It aims to keep the peculiarity of SL’s culture and itself. It tries to constantly remind the reader that the text is not in the original by for example allowing some words and expression to stay in the SL, changing the syntax or in other ways making the reader feel that the text is foreign. Through a foreignized translation text, the TL reader gets to know an exotic atmosphere, a new culture and the characteristics of a foreign language, which can enrich the expressions of their own language and even wipe away the weak points of their culture. 3. Domestication or Foreignization

The debate on whether to use Domestication or Foreignization has attracted the attention of translation theorists for long time. All experienced translators know that if you want to keep the foreignness of the original, the translated text will be bound to lack smoothness, and if the translated text is needed to be smooth and idiomatic, the cultural peculiarity in the source text will be removed. How to make a choice? In fact, neither domestication nor foreignization is a complete strategy. They are concepts to bear in mind. They are relative. Domestication in translation is one of the goals pursued by every translator because it can make the target text idiomatic and easy to accept by the TL reader. However, domestication in translation is relative. It can not go beyond the usual limits to be disapproved by most people, namely, domestication in translation cannot go to extremes. If it is used excessively, it will remove the peculiarities of style, art, and culture in the original text. The spirit of the original text cannot be reflected in the TL text. As a result, TL reader cannot get to know the external world through the translation. The real...
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