Lost and Found in Translating Tourist Texts

Topics: Translation, Culture, Source text Pages: 18 (6252 words) Published: October 16, 2012
Lost and Found in Translating Tourist Texts
Domesticating, Foreignising or Neutralising Approach
He Sanning, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology

Domesticating and foreignising strategies are popular in translation studies and each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages in translating tourist texts. The advantages for domesticating include maintaining the terseness of the text, obtaining the reader‘s understanding of the translated text, and gaining the interest of the reader. Its biggest weakness is that the cultural and historical elements of the original could be lost in translation. The advantages for foreignising are revealing the cultural and historical factors of the Source Text (ST), and disseminating the cu lture and customs of the original. Its disadvantages are neglecting the reader‘s understanding, and the function of attracting the tourists may be lost. This paper argues that neither of them can solve all the problems associated with translating tourist t exts from Chinese to English. The major focus of this paper is to find a new translation strategy that can highlight and introduce Chinese culture to the target audience and keep Chinese culture intact. This neutralising strategy with its information-oriented, association-applied and concept-based principles can be employed to ensure the equivalents in information, concept and aesthetics. KEYWORDS

Domesticating and foreignising, advantages and disadvantages, neutralising, informationoriented, association-applied, concept-based.

1. Cultural Translation and Translating Culture
When we discuss the translation of tourist texts from Chinese to English, it is very important to make a distinction between the two terms ‗translating culture‘ and ‗cultural translation‘. Translating culture, in a narrow sense, refers to the act of transferring meaning from one specific culture -bearing language to another. Cultural translation refers to a dynamic process where everyone and everything that are a part of the interact ion in translation undergo change, where notions are constructed about other cultures and about oneself. That is to say, translating culture is an act only in translation and cultural translation is the understanding and rendering of cultural concepts. Translating tourist texts is not simply translating culture, but also involves cultural translation. In a sense, translating tourist texts means translating the source culture to the reader. It is known that culture is the ―integrated pattern of human knowl edge, beliefs, and behaviour that is both a result of and integral to the human capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations. Culture thus consists of language, ideas, beliefs, customs, taboos, codes, institutions, tools, techniques, works of art, rituals, ceremonies, symbols.‖ (Stevens et al 2008: 430). Tourist attractions are often deeply rooted in the culture of a country. Every society, on every level, has its own culture influenced by its history and geography.

Therefore the aim of tourist text translating should not be only to perform cultural rendering but also to translate culture from Chinese to English. 2. Qualities of Tourist Texts
Tourist texts are designed to introduce the scenic spots to the viewers, and to convey the related information to them in order to enable the viewers to understand and enjoy the spots. They mainly offer the expressive, the informative and the vocative functions. The expressive function works as the mind of the speaker, the writer, or the originator of the text. He or she uses it to express his or her feelings irrespective of any response. The core of the informative function is an external aspect, the facts of a topic, that is, reality outside language, including reported ideas or theories. The core of the vocative function is the readership, the addressee. The term ‗vocative‘ is used in the sense of ‗calling upon‘ readership to act,...

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