Slice Up My Veins

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Cultural Issues In Translation;
Compromise and Compansation

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Cultural Issues in Translation

Translation is not just a movement between two languages but also between two cultures. Cultural transposition is present in all translation as degrees of free textual adaptation departing from maximally literal translation, and involves replacing items whose roots are in the SL culture with elements that are indigenous to the TL. The translator exercises a degree of choice in his or her use of indigenous features, and, as a consequence, successful translation may depend on the translator's command of cultural assumptions in each language.

Cultural Transposition

We shall use the general term cultural transposition as a cover-term for the various degrees of departure from literal translation that one may resort to in the process of transfering the contents of a ST into the context of a target culture. The various degrees of of cultural transposition can be visualized as points along a scale between the extremes of exoticism an cultural transplantation:

Exoticisim--Cultural---Calque---Communicative---Cultural
Borrowing translation transplantation

a. Exoticism
Exoticism is an extreme form of SL bias. It imports linguistic and cultural features into the TL from the SL, with minimal adaptation so the TT signals the source culture and its strangeness. This may be one of the TT`s chief attractions, as with some translations of Arabic poetry that deliberately trade on exoticism. b. Cultural Borrowing

Cultural Borrowing is the transferral of a culturally-alien ST expression into TT or its introduction in a minimally modified form. It also can be said Cultural borrowing is taking ideas, customs, and social behaviors from another culture or civilization it is often used when it proves impossible to find suitable expression, such as an established borrowing, in the TL. Where a cultural borrowing is used, the term is usually taken over from the ST, adapted to TL spelling norms, and often italicized; importantly, its meaning must be clear from the context in which it is used or an exegetical explanation may be supplied. c. Calque

Calque respects SL syntax, but has the disadvantage of often being unidiomatic in TL. Like successful cultural borrowing, calque can become widely accepted in the TL as fossilized calque. In essence, then, calque is a form of literal translation. A bad calque imitates ST structure to the point of being ungrammatical in the TL; a good calque manages to compromise between imitating a ST structure and not offending againts the grammar of the TL. Calquing may also be called a form of cultural borrowing, although, instead of verbatim borrowing of expressions, only the model of SL grammatical structures is borrowed. Furthermore, as also happens with cultural borrowing poper, some originally calqued expressions become standard TL cultural equivalents of their SL origins. Clearly, there are certain dangers in using calque as a translation device, The major one is that the meaning of calqued phrases may not be clear in the TT. In the worst cases, calques are not even recognizable for what they are, but are merely puzzling to the reader or listener. But of course, it is not sufficient for the TT to make it clear that a particular phrase is an intentional calque. The meaning of the calqued phrase must also be transparent in the TT context. The most successful calques need to explanation; less successful ones may need to be explained, perhaps in a footnote or a glossary. d. Communicative Translation

In contrast with cultural borrowing, the translator may opt for communicative translation. Communicative translation is often mandatory for culturally conventional formulae. This is particularly true where a literal ST expression is inappropriate; and it is the usual method for proverbs, idioms, and clichés. Where a communicative...
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