Culture Default Case Study

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A Study of Cultural Default and Translation Compensation in Hawkes’ Version The Story of the Stone Volume I
1 Introduction

1.1 Background Information
With the development of globalization and the increase of international impact of China in the world, more and more western countries are attaching importance to the study of Chinese culture. As an ancient civilization with more than five thousand years of history, China has formed its own unique and splendid culture and language. Language cannot exist without culture while culture cannot be conveyed without language. Translation plays an essential role in cross-culture communication, which is not only the exchange of two languages, but the exchange of two different cultures. The differences
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With same culture background, readers of source language can easily understand the metaphors or omitted meanings of the author. However, when they are translated word by word into another language, they become confusing for the target-language readers for lack of the same culture background knowledge, which causes the failure of communication.
This phenomenon was first proposed as a theory of “culture vacancy” by the Russian scholar Sorokin in late 1980s. He defined it as “something that exists in one culture and defaults in another culture”. (He,1997). The concept of culture default in China was first proposed by Professor Wang Dongfeng, who defines the “culture default” as “the omission of relevant cultural background knowledge which is shared by the author and the intended reader.” (Wang, 1997,).
In Nida’s Toward a Science of Translating (1964), culture can be categorized into ecological culture, social culture, religious culture, material culture and linguistic culture. So the cultural default can be classified as ecological cultural default, social cultural default, religious cultural default, material cultural default and linguistic cultural
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