Some strategies of translating culturally bound expressions and words

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Some strategies of translating culturally bound expressions and words

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Some strategies of translating culturally bound expressions and words

  1. 1. Some strategies of translating culturally- bound expressions and words BY Dr. Montasser Mohamed AbdelWahb An Assistant Professor at Al Imam Muhammad Bin Saud Islamic University
  2. 2. Translatability of Cultural Terms • It goes without saying that culture is one of the most difficult topics to deal with in translation. • Cultural problems is an umbrella term that includes various problems in the process of translation such as problems arising from mixing between the denotative and connotative meanings of words, forms of address, and the problems associated with idioms and metaphors. • No culture can exist without having at its centre, the structure of language(Mc Guire,1980). Language, then, is the heart within the body of culture. • Despite the fact that this last view is opposed by those who believe not everything is determined by the relation of language to culture and that many aspects of translation transcend cultural boundaries (Wilss 1994: 38), culture remains a central element in translation. • The translator who ignores this interconnection between language and culture will commit a serious mistake.
  3. 3. Translation, Language and Culture • If we consider language as a culture specific activity, translation is mainly a transference of one culture into another. • Translation is culture bound so when we translate we transport not only words from one container to another, but rather one entire culture into another, including the social, political and other conditions that surround the translator in his/her own environment .
  4. 4. What a Translator Needs to Translate CultureBound expressions and words? • A Translator is required no only to be bilingual or multilingual but also to be bicultural, or multicultural, armed with good knowledge of as many cultures as possible (Vemeer 1986). • A Translator is required to assume a cultural stance towards translation. He/She should adopt a culture-biased approach towards translation. • A Translator is required to make culture familiar to readers, by means of changing the Source Language culture into the Target Language culture in translation (Fawcett, in Baker, 1998)
  5. 5. Categories of Culture • According to Newmark, there are five categories of translation: (1) ecology: plants, animals, mountains, plains, etc. (2) Material culture : food, clothes, housing, transport, etc. (3) Social culture: work and leisure (4) organizations, customs, ideas: (political, social, legal, religious, artistic) (5) Gestures and Habits: (non linguistic features)
  6. 6. strategies of Translating culturalSpecific Items The following strategies are put in order of preference: (1) Cultural Equivalent (2) Cultural Correspondence (3) Accepted Standard Translation (4) Naturalization (5) General Sense (6) Transcription/Transference (7) Literal Translation of Meaning (8) Translation Couplet (9) Translation Triplet (10) Classifier (11) Neutralization (12) Componential Analysis (13) Paraphrase (14) Translation Label (15) Deletion (16) Gloss, Notes and Footnotes
  7. 7. (1) Cultural Equivalent • The idea of this strategy is to find an equivalent in the target language that could be used exactly in the same context to give an identical meaning to that of the source language • Examples: (1) The British Council (2) Romeo and Juliet (3) as beautiful as a lark (4) Parliament (5) Horse’ s mouth
  8. 8. (2) Cultural Correspondence • The Source Language cultural term has the same correspondent term in the target language. Examples: (1) Meat Pies (2) To hit two birds with one stone (3) Security Council (4) House of Representatives
  9. 9. (3) Accepted Standard Translation It refers to Source Language terms that have become standard terms in the Target Language. It has become perfectly understood in the target Language. All these expressions are new in the Target Language as they are imported from the Source Language but they have become a part of the standard everyday Target Language expressions. They have become contemporary Target Language terms although they were not found in the Target Language lexicon.
  10. 10. More Examples Examples: (1) The end justifies the means. (2) To throw all man’s cards. (3) Car park /car lot (4) To sign on the dotted line/ To sign on a carte blanche (5) Software (6) Hardware (7) Spare parts (8) Ring road
  11. 11. (4) Naturalization • According to Ghazzala (1995), naturalization is the attempt to adopt the English terms to the morphology of Arabic word structure and can be seen as evolution of the transcription method. • It represents culture-specific terms that stand half between the Source language and the Target Language although their origin is found in the Source Language. • Such terms are adapted to the Target Language grammar, spelling and pronunciation. • The reason behind the existence of this phenomenon lies in the constant interaction among peoples and cultures.
  12. 12. Drawbacks of Naturalization • This method consists of adding new affixes to the foreign terms leaving their roots unchanged. The added affixes are to adjust the terms into the Arabic morphology as is the case of verbs, nouns, gender, adjectives and adverbs • According to Baker (1987) transcription and naturalization have not received acceptance from the Arabic language theorists because they threaten the identity of Arabic. Thus, translators are likely to come across a situation where they need to be more creative by following certain methods that may ensure the high quality and smoothness of translating scientific terms.
  13. 13. Examples • 1. Technology → • a. Technologist (n) → • b. Technological (adj.) → • 2. Oxide • a. Oxidised (adj.) • b. Oxidizer (n) • 3. Biology • a. Biologist (n) • b. Biological (adj.) → → → → → → Naturalization is considered by Ghazzala (1995) better than transcription, although it is still not convenient. Thus it is not pure Arabic, the basic or the roots of terms remain English even if they are naturalized.
  14. 14. Other Examples • • • • • • • • • 1. Democracy 2. Olympics 4. Tamarind 5. Hercules 6. Alcohol 7. fellah 8. Jubbah 9. dervish 10. monsoon ( )

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