Cultural Characteristics That Should Be Considered in Literary Translation
Writing an international literature piece is one of most exciting experiences you can have. With the right methods in place, you have the ability to travel to the most diverse cultures of the world, bringing your reader along with you. In order to compose an effective cultural piece, there are some cultural characteristics that you should be informed of.
Being a good translator takes much more than being really good at at least two languages. Each type of translation acquires different writing skills, so, if you are not one of the professional business writers online, it is advisable to broaden your background knowledge before starting to translate this type of texts. You can’t be a great novelist, a lawyer, an experienced doctor and a professional speech writer the same time, but you still might want to get the basics.
What is Translation?
Translation is the act of “bridging the gap” between two diverse languages, cultures, and customs. This involves so much more than understanding the various linguistic rules that each culture entails. It also involves communicating holistic values to a different system. This provides a whole world of problems for translators who desire to treat both cultures with the respect required. For example, how can one translate Punjabi dialect into the Italian language? Performing such an action will require bridging both the cultural and linguistic gaps. In order to break down the barriers, we must first understand what language is.
What is Language?
According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, it is the regular way of life and patterns that identify it to belong to a certain geographical location. This also includes a means of which to offer expression. When learning a certain language you will find that it contrasts from another because each country contains its own character traits.
Translating languages had been described as engaging in a cautious activity. It is not easy to express a thought in your native language for a diverse culture to understand. In this way, it is essential to understand the lexical rhetoric but also the way in which your reader translates your text.
Theories in Language
Newmark’s theory gives an account concerning language in society. The perspective argues that Language and culture are closely related. However, he does not agree that language is a component of culture. Other theories have since established the connection and its significance. For example, Lotman’s theory expresses that language is a result of culture. According to this theory, culture cannot exist without a natural dialect of some form. Both are needed in order to clearly translate a thought or idea.
This theory suggests that when attempting to translate cultural words and phrases, translators should consider two methods. In the first method, transference is emphasized in order to maintain local language flavor, which includes names and beliefs. Transference preserves culture, however, is extremely confusing for those who are not of that particular place and time. In the second method, a componential analysis is taken into consideration. This method emphasizes proper translation as according to a rigid linguistic system. The componential analysis goes against the cultural implications and maintains traditional laws in language that is more general than the transference method.
Who is Your Targeted Audience?
While considering translating a text, it is important that you understand who your targeted audience is. Who are the group of people in which you are directing this information to? How do you wish to reach them? What experiences are required in order that they may understand what you have to say? In addition to such questions, here are just a few other facts you may consider for your audience:
- Prior Knowledge.Suppose you are writing a French romance novel based in the 1940s. There are certain facts that you may naturally include from that specific time period. However, if your audience does not understand French history and culture, your translation may fail. In this situation, it is ideal that your audience has a basic understanding of the idea you are conveying.
- Opinions/Prejudices.If your French romance novel is centered around forbidden relations at that time, you may imply certain opinions rooted out of this time in history. In order to reach your reader effectively, it is ideal that they also share in the novel’s opinion on these relations as well.
- Specific Explanation.Unless you clearly state the type of audience to which your literary piece is directed to, your readers may need more understanding with underlying facts. In this French romance, this will include French history along with the culture and language of the opposer. It is important that you allow your readers to comprehend all details in order to enjoy what you are presenting to them.
When considering your target audience, you may also think of certain aspects of culture. As you know, food is one of the most efficient ways to express a certain culture. It will be an excellent choice to add in national dishes to convey your point. If the novel is based on a royal French family, you may want to include footnotes about the French haute cuisine. In addition to food, including a detailed description of cultural gestures and actions are essential. If not, your text may not exude the strength you desire.
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