Non-Linguistic Factors

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  • Topic: Translation, Source text, Dynamic and formal equivalence
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  • Published : January 6, 2013
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Alexander Kostov
Group 4, fac. number: 25452

The Role of Non-Linguistic Factors in Translation

Beyond the Linguistic Realm of Translation –
The Interaction between Translation and Culture.

Translation is by all means a process which aims at cross-cultural transference of sense and messages. It is a specific type of communication which aims at throwing a bridge between the source culture, which is responsible for generating the text for translation; and the target culture, whose aim is to prepare its receivers for the text that is to come in the form of a translated variant. In the middle of this bridge stands the translator, who is balancing the two ends – he is tightly holding the bridge’s ropes and his job is further complicated by the difference not only in the two languages which he has to master in order to succeed, but also in cultural framework, which has to be very delicately touched upon in order for the translation to be accepted as a reliable and good text. Very often the cultural element of the target language plays its role on the translation, thus altering the original culture’s aim – and this is inevitable, because if the translator wants to be a reliable chronicler, so to say, he has to adopt this “new” culture and all its peculiarities and problems, in order to be able to strengthen the above-mentioned bridge. And what is more, a society can play nasty tricks upon the translator’s mind – for example, in the post-war European countries, which were within the Iron curtain, it was considered almost a high treason to speak or promote anything that had come from the Western civilization. In the following paper, I would briefly touch upon this subject, because I think it is very important when it comes to translating a text from a different culture and I will also highlight the changes it brings to the translated text and how the culture at which the text is aimed, accepts and alters it.

When we speak of culture as a basic unit in the translation theory, we just cannot go without mentioning the Cultural Turn that Translation studies underwent in 1990. We associate this ‘turn’ with the names of Susan Bassnett and André Lefevere, one of the most outstanding and renowned translation studies scholars. In their opinion, “neither the word, nor the text, but the culture becomes the operational ‘unit’ of translation” (Lefevere and Bassnett 1990:8). According to them, the translation studies of the 1990s has in many ways been influenced by the so-called cultural turn, which, as Bassnett puts it, shows a close connection between cultural and translation studies, all of this due to the effort of these studies to explain in more detail and to become more acquainted with the status of the global world and the identities of the different social groups. In other words, this Cultural Turn was nothing more than a metaphor adopted by the translation oriented towards Cultural studies to refer to the analysis of the translation in its political, cultural and ideological context. Why I chose this field of inquiry is because I wanted to pigeon-hole some problems that may occur in translation when the Source text (ST) gets in direct confrontation with the Target Culture (TC) due to some restraints on behalf of the TC. And the text that I have chosen for this study is an early Bulgarian translation of one of the most popular children story – The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. Of course, I won’t go into too much detail about the problems that occur in this translation and the possible solutions to them, but will focus my attention on the choices that the translator has made in order to incorporate the text in the culture of the days. However, the text poses different problems, so to say, to the translator and gives us different pictures of the cultural framework in which it has to fit. Now, let’s move to the Beatrix Potter’s children story The Tale of Peter Rabbit and the anonymous translation,...
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