Translation And Culture

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2. Translation and Culture During the antiquity, translation became a prized skill of the educated. In Alexandria, which was the intellectual centre of the Mediterranean, Jewish scholars translated the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek. At this time many Greek classics, such as Homer's Iliad and Odyssey were also translated into Latin (Nida, Toward a science of translating 11). The need for the production of translations also caused an interest in the theory behind this process. Although there was no systematic study of the procedures and principles on which the translation as a discipline rests at the time, many ancient translators such as Cicero, Horace and Quintilian did spend their time contemplating the various translation problems…show more content…
This was the time when various institutions and scholarly associations began making efforts to develop Translations Studies as a scientific discipline that would make an attempt at explaining translation as a phenomenon. Since the 1950s, there have been many definitions of the term translation. The first Translation Studies scholars during the 60s and 70s subscribed to the theory of equivalence. Two of such scholars were Eugene Nida and Charles Taber who defined translating as "reproducing in the receptor language the closest natural equivalent of the source-language message, first in terms of meaning and secondly in terms of style" (12). Another scholar who supported this theory was John Catford who thought of translation as "the replacement of textual material in one language by equivalent material in another language" (20). As can be seen from these two definitions, proponents of the theory of equivalence regarded the source and target languages as being equivalent on some level; the absence of some kind of equivalence between the source and the target text meant that the target text was not a translation but rather a kind of adaptation. Equivalence was seen as the most important criterion to judge whether the translation was successful or not (Du 2190). These first…show more content…
At this point, it became clear that language is an integral part of every culture and that, as such, it serves as a medium of its expression. Consequently, many aspects of culture are embedded in language. The act of translation, thus, is not simply a matter of language, but it, in fact, constitutes a sort of compromise between two cultures. Mary Snell-Hornby calls this new development "the Cultural Turn" (The Turns of Translation Studies 47). This marked the shift from the traditional approach to translating, which was largely prescriptive, source-text oriented, linguistic and atomistic to an approach that was descriptive, target-text oriented, functional and systemic (Snell-Hornby, The Turns of Translation Studies 49). Consequently, the linguistic features of the source text ceased to be the central issue of a translation, focusing rather on the target text's function in the target culture. (Snell-Hornby, The Turns of Translation Studies 49). As a result, more and more scholar began discussing the notion of cultural translation in which culture inequivalences were the source of translation problems, rather than the formal, linguistic characteristic of a source text. For this reason, the emphasis shifted from the knowledge of language, i.e. the linguistic units, to the social context of the target culture. In other words, it was not enough for the translator to only be
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