Dissertation
Dissertation > Language, writing > Linguistics > Translation Studies

Entering the World of Cultural Other

Author XuZuo
Tutor ShenLianYun
School Changsha University of Science and Technology
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords Interpretative Anthropology Manipulation Cultural Other Thick Translation
CLC H059
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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Translation is a continuous process of bringing certain ideologies fromone culture to another one. The culture that it brings from is called the sourceculture; and the culture that it brings to is the target culture. The developmentof translation has seen three different paradigms in which translation theorieshave prospered and matured. In the 1970s under the influence of culturalstudies, translation studies and theories have also reached its new high bytaking a turn on the cultural perspective. Manipulation, an element that existsubiquitously in the process of translation became the main impediment underthe cultural perspective for the exchange and communication between twocultures, no matter whether it is from ancient to present, or from one societyto another. The questions must be asked and answered: facing manipulation,what should we do to translate works from other cultures to better aidereaders for a mutual understanding? What exactly is the model for aneffective cross-cultural communication? Answers to theses questions wouldresult in better value of translation studies, and would promote a balancedand healthy cultural interaction between the mainstream cultures and themarginal ones that struggle in more and more globalized society. Byintegrating translation studies with interpretative anthropology, the authoraims to provide answers to the above-proposed questions through thecomposition of this thesis.Firstly, the author discusses the history and development of the situationon ethnographical studies and their potential problems. Because of theproblems arisen, the world of anthropological studies experienced crisis forwhich Geertz proposed his interpretative anthropology theories, and broughtthe studies into a high level. Among all the beliefs and grounds of Interpretative Anthropology,“from the native’s point of view”,“thickdescription”, and“local knowledge”are three of the most basic andimportant methods.Secondly, the author looked into the brief development of thetranslation theories, tracing the cultural turn of the studies of translation, anddiscovered the disadvantage in the translation practices—namely,manipulation—and discussed the factors leading to the phenomenon.Ideologies, the author found, have been the main factors of manipulation intranslation. Moreover, the manipulation is carried out by domestication, ameans of manipulation under the disguise of fluency and transparency tocover cultural differences to the readers. Further, the author looked intodefinition and the manipulative nature of domestication ,and discussed somecase studies concerning the topic. Limitations and disadvantages ofmanipulation in translation were also discussed at the end of the chapter towarn the academe of the imperial and colonial natures of manipulation intranslation.Thirdly, the author offers her perspectives on the questions proposed intranslation studies by integrating Interpretative Anthropology and translationtechniques. The new technique under such combination is“thick translation”which was inspired by Geertz’s concept of“thick description”. Thicktranslation calls for the respect for the cultural“other”because of the dangersand disadvantages ignored in the manipulation of translation; it also focuseson providing the readers of the translated works annotations, comments,footnotes or even prefaces for the historical and cultural contextualization ofthe original text, in the hope of promoting readers’awareness of theexistence of the cultural“other”, and respect with their full heart the preciousculture of an independently diverse culture. Finally, as the development of globalization goes on, marginal culturesare faced with challenges of the disappearance of their unique and valuableculture. The author restates the importance of the findings of this thesis toawaken the world’s citizen’s awareness of a culture“other”, calls for thereverences that are supposed to be given to those marginal cultures who arebold enough to protect their own cultural heritage, and reinforce the idea thatonly through seeing the historical and cultural perspective could the humanrace see through the manipulation that hinders the communications amongequally beautiful cultures. Translation works as the linkage between thecultures during the exchange of two different cultural parties, bearing thetask of advancing mutual communication, eliminating manipulation, andprotecting the marginalized cultures. Therefore, Thick Translation should bean effective means of translating, for the purpose of protecting the weakercultures, thus keeping the cultural diversity of the world.

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