Translation and Culture
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Articles for Translators and Translation Companies
Translation and Culture

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The Transposition of Form
A derivative describes a work that is related to a previously existing original. We currently have two common types of derivatives: adaptation and translation. Adaptation uses the original as a rough template for a new text. Translation is more or less a direct copy of the original in a different language. Somewhere between these two types is transposition…
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Funny but Costly Localization Mistakes
You want to increase your market share, profits, and presence, so you decide to expand into a new market. Your team spends an incredible amount of time and money determining which market to enter. Your brand is molded to fit into your prospective market while maintaining its integrity, and the research backs that it is relevant, appropriate, and remarkable…
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Blunders Made by Cross-Cultural Businesses
We often get many emails from visitors to our sites saying how much they enjoy the article on cross cultural blunders - Results of Poor Cross Cultural Awareness. We are constantly asked for more. Bowing to pressure we have therefore complied some more examples of how cultural ignorance can and does lead to negative (and much of the time humorous) consequences…
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Leadership across Cultures
With the march of globalisation and internationalisa-tion growing louder and stronger, few successful businesses can now escape the need to work across cultures. Even if businesses or organisations are not working abroad or with foreign entities, it would be a challenge to identify any that have a mono-cultural workforce. Even in the South West, businesses ranging from manufacturers to farms to care homes are employing foreign personnel in order to operate at maximum efficiency…
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A Typology of Derivatives: Translation, Transposition, Adaptation
What would The Nose be if Nikolai Gogol were an American writing in the twenty-first century?
Certainly we would see a different text: The content wouldn’t include a horse and carriage or cobblestone streets; the form, in all likelihood, would consist of shorter sentences with fewer clauses; the position of the narrator would move closer to the protagonist(s)...
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From the Colonial to the Anti-Colonial: Marathi Reception of American Literature
The first phase of American literature in Marathi translation begins with the entry of American Missionaries establishing the American Marathi Mission in Bombay in 1813, starting the first press in Maharashtra, running English and Marathi schools and producing and publishing Marathi tracts and textbooks through translation. American literature took some time to emerge, but when it did at the turn of the century, it appeared in various forms such as faithful translations, free renderings, adaptations and abridgements during the second phase from 1901 to 1950...
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Into Brazilian Portuguese: Culture and the Translation of The Glass Menagerie
The present article aims at discussing the cultural aspects involved in the translation of the play "The Glass Menagerie," by Tennessee Williams, into Brazilian Portuguese. Anchored by the definitions of culture (Albó, 2005), interculturality (Walsh, 2001), and translation (Arrojo, 1992), we intend to demonstrate how the concepts of "the fourth wall" and "cultural domains" influence the way translators convey the meanings from one language to another...
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Ideological Interference in Translation: Strategies of Translating Cultural References
This research investigates the differences in the strategies of translating cultural references in western novels before and after 2000 in Taiwan. The findings are used to explore the close relevance of strategic differences to ideological impacts as one of the variables that affect the translation result. A total of 200 cultural references, extracted from two sets of seven novels published before and after 2000 in Taiwan, are analyzed to demonstrate the strategic difference...
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Cultural Approach to Translation Theory
In 1990 André Lefevere and Susan Bassnett move theory beyond linguistic studies and ST/TT comparisons to examine the way culture effects translation. Translation, History and Culture takes into account the influence of the publishing industry on ideology, discusses feminist writing, examines translation in the context of colonization, and sees translation as rewriting...
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The Untold Sixties - When hope was born an Insider's Sixties on an International Scale
When Alex Gross suggested that I review his book, I told him about my misgivings: I was not in the US during the 60s, I've never participated in radical political movements, and know nothing or almost nothing about most things Alex is an expert in—art, theater, journalism, and Chinese medicine, among other things. He sent me the book anyway and, to my surprise, I found it spellbinding to the point that I could barely force myself to put it down before I had gone through its 700 pages...
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Translation – tool in the process of cultural globalisation
People have always been living in a world governed by changes, either self-imposed, as the direct or indirect result of evolution and progress or externally imposed, by different social, historical, cultural factors. Each of the cases implied people understanding the need of circulation, communication of ideas, information, knowledge from one culture to the other and back, i.e. synchronisation to the „atmosphere” of the epoch, from all points of view that actually make a difference...
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On the Translation of the Taboos
Translating the cultural terms can be a difficult task. Facing cultural differences in translation, Nida (1964, p. 130) believes in equal importance to both linguistic and cultural differences between the SL and the TL and concludes that "differences between cultures may cause more severe complications for the translator than do differences in language structure". Taboos are the cultural terms, translation of which is definitely difficult and controversial to some translators. This difficulty may be because of the differences between different cultures, religions, and beliefs. There are different ways to translate a taboo from one language into another one. This paper suggests some ways to translate the taboos...
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Cultural Untranslatability
This paper proposes a possible concept of 'cultural untranslatability' in translation, focusing on what it is, how important it is, and when it occurs. The paper first explores cultural concepts for understanding of culture. The second part examines Hofstede's cultural dimensions and establishes an experimental definition of cultural difference. Drawing on actual translations between English and Japanese, the third part discusses the importance of the concept. Finally, it considers under what circumstances such untranslatable items are de facto culturally untranslatable, borrowing the concept of translation norms...
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The Cultural Transfer in Anime Translation
Nowadays the term anime, meaning cartoon in Japanese, has become of common usage in the international context. Originally it was coined from the English term animation, and then adapted to Japanese phonetics. Since the U.S. début of "Astro Boy" in 1963, the anime industry has continued to expand all over the world. It is no longer a sub-culture for a small group of fans…
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Cultural and Linguistic Equivalence in Translation
This study is to find those factors which determine the equivalence in translation. The ideas of the prominent and distinguished scholars will be defined and elaborated. On the basis of those ideas, the final conclusion will be made …
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Translating Culture-Bound Elements in Subtitling
One of the most challenging tasks for all translators is how to render culture-bound elements in subtitles into a foreign language. Indeed, not much attention has been paid to this problem by translation theories. According to Newmark: "Translation is a craft consisting in the attempt to replace a written message and/or statement in one language by the same message and/or statement in another language" (Newmark, 1981:7). However, with culturally-bound words this is often impossible. Indeed, the meaning which lies behind this kind of expressions is always strongly linked to the specific cultural context where the text originates or with the cultural context it aims to re-create…
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The Contact between Cultures and the Role of Translation and the Mass Media
This paper aims to discuss several questions related to the relationship between culture and the role of audiovisual translation and the mass media. In our time most cultures do not constitute closed entities. They are rather entities that, to a greater or lesser extent, are interrelated partly thanks to the mass media. The fact that different cultures get in touch with each other by means of, for example, the audiovisual media allows a cultural contagion…
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Linguists and Culture Experts at a Crossroad: Limitations in Formulating an Experimental Translation Theory
Theories of translation linked to linguistics and cultures have been proposed to take care of an adequate mediation in translating. These theories attempt differently to remove cultural and linguistic barriers between languages and communicate appropriately the intended message of the source text. In view of the differences and similarities between the linguistically and culturally oriented approaches, we shall attempt to study the limitations of these theories to help translation and the emergence of alternative theories…
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The tradition of Translating the Rubaiyat of Khayyam - An Approach to Culture Specific Terms
As the linguists and the translators argue, there are some words- calling culture specific terms which are rooted in the culture of any nation and country. Since there are often so many culture specific terms in poems, translating these terms and transferring them from one language to another one having two different cultures is a difficult process. Transferring of culture specific terms from one culture to another and understanding them by the target audience in the target culture is dependent on having familiarity with the source culture and traditions…
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Cultural Translation
Culture and intercultural competence and awareness that rise out of experience of culture, are far more complex phenomena than it may seem to the translator. The more a translator is aware of complexities of differences between cultures, the better a translator s/he will be. It is probably right to say that there has never been a time when the community of translators was unaware of cultural differences…
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April is Multicultural Communications Month
Multicultural communications may seem difficult at first - differences in languages, backgrounds, customs and the like all seem a challenge. By learning more about our different cultures, it becomes easier to interact. We are dedicating the April issue of E-Buzz to this cause…
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Connotation and Cross-cultural Semantics
Connotation is one of the most pervasive categories of literary and non-literary discourse, and is, therefore, strongly enmeshed with culture. In this paper, connotation will be tackled from as board a perspective as possible so as to include literature, art and linguistics - in other words, culture at large…
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Translating Law Texts is Translating Culture
A good translator of legal texts must not only master legal jargon, he or she will also be required to know the history of continental Europe and of England. The common law and civil law legal systems are the two main systems of the western world. No literal interpretation of these terms would be comprehensive, as it is impossible to embrace all of the associated meanings, concepts and cultural heritage in a mere two words…
English Portuguese

Culture et espéranto
Le terme «culture» exprime une notion complexe, recouvrant des éléments qui appartiennent au domaine des connaissances, à celui de la sensibilité, esthétique ou affective, et à celui de la mentalité. Il peut s'appliquer à une personne ou à une vaste collectivité. On dit d'un être humain qu'il est cultivé lorsqu'il a atteint un niveau suffisamment élevé dans les trois domaines. Si ce n'est pas le cas, on parlera d'érudit, d'expert, d'esthète, d'esprit ouvert, mais non de personne cultivée
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The Implication of Culture on Translation Theory and Practice
Related to translation, culture manifests in two ways. First, the concept or reference of the vocabulary items is somehow specific for the given culture. Second, the concept or reference is actually general but expressed in a way specific to the source language culture. In practice, however, it is suggested that a translator should take into account the purpose of the translation in translating the culturally-bound words or expressions. The translation procedures discussed should also be considered…
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Results of Poor Cross Cultural Awareness
Having a poor understanding of the influence of cross cultural differences in areas such as management, PR, advertising and negotiations can eventually lead to blunders that can have damaging consequences …
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Internet and Cultural Concepts from a Translation Perspective
In the past 14 years Romania has witnessed a constant technological boom that has had an impact on a variety of domains, such as industry, economy, education, mass media, politics and other important systems. A case in point is the personal computer, which has become an irreplaceable tool involved in almost all activity areas, among which educational and mass media systems are continuously benefiting. Consequently, new concepts, such as the well-known multimedia technology, user-friendly systems, Internet, Web technologies, cyberspace communities and virtual reality, have been introduced to Romanian culture…
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Linguistic and Cultural Issues in Literary Translation
The article is a discussion of a case study of translating a short story from Arabic into English. The discussion revolves around the translation process and its reconstruction focusing on some of the linguistic and cultural issues encountered in the original and how they were resolved in the translation …
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Cultural Elements in Translation - The Indian Perspective
One language cannot express the meanings of another; instead, there is a distinction between the meanings built in and the meanings that must be captured and expressed. In this sense, different languages predispose their speaker to think differently, i.e., direct their attention to different aspects of the environment…
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Translation and Culture
The term 'culture' addresses three salient categories of human activity: the 'personal,' whereby we as individuals think and function as such; the 'collective,' whereby we function in a social context; and the 'expressive,' whereby society expresses itself. Language is the only social institution without which no other social institution can function; it therefore underpins the three pillars upon which culture is built…
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Technical Transference or Cultural Adaptation: Songs in Translation
Werner Winter has defined the work of a translator as the work of an artist who is asked to create an exact replica of a marble statue but who cannot secure any marble. The challenges and frustrations are indeed great, and these might be doubled in size when the translator has to work with song lyrics for these represent a crossover between oral and written genre. As Hervey tells us, the translator will have to start with a recorded ST in an oral medium, then transfers it to the use of written transcript, and ultimately composes a TT which has to be a script suitable for oral performance…
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