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This is the standard way of coping with Russian and Chinese names in English texts.

How a name is transliterated may be entirely up to the translator, if it has never been put into the TL before. Or it may be necessary to follow a precedent established by earlier translators. Some names do not need transliteration at all, but have standard TL equivalents. Another alternative in dealing with names is cultural transplantation.

SL names are replaced by indigenous TL names that are not their conventional or literal equivalents, but have similar cultural connotations. This ingeniously anglicizes the two characters, retains the connotations of commonness of the names, and imitates the ST play on different spellings. Many of the names remain unchanged, however not least Harry Potter. Sometimes, they are best dropped altogether. We shall use the general term cultural transposition for the main types and degrees of departure from literal translation that may be resorted to in transferring the contents of an ST from one culture into another.


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Any degree of cultural transposition involves the choice of features indigenous to the TL and the target culture in preference to features with their roots in the source culture. The result is to reduce foreign features in the TT, thereby to some extent naturalizing it into the TL and its cultural setting. Whether this is desirable or not depends on the purpose of the TT.

The various degrees of cultural transposition can be visualized as points along a scale between the extremes of exoticism and cultural transplantation: Source-culture bias Exoticism Target-culture bias Calque Cultural borrowing Communicative translation Cultural transplantation 11 11 11 1 34 Thinking French translation Exoticism The extreme options in signalling cultural foreignness in a TT fall into the category of exoticism. A TT marked by exoticism is one which consistently uses grammatical and cultural features imported from the ST with minimal adaptation, thereby constantly signalling the exotic source culture and its cultural strangeness.

Nicholson A TT like this, however, has an impact on the TL public quite unlike any that the ST could have had on an SL public, for whom the text has fewer features of a different culture. Cultural transplantation At the other end of the scale from exoticism is cultural transplantation, whose extreme forms are hardly translations at all, but more like adaptations — the wholesale transplanting of the ST setting, resulting in the entire text being rewritten in a target culture setting.

Cultural transplantation on this scale is not normal translation practice, but it can be a serious option, as long as no points of detail have knock-on effects that make the TT as a whole incongruous. By and large, normal translation practice avoids the two extremes of exoticism and cultural transplantation. In avoiding the extremes, the translator will consider the alternatives lying between them on the scale given on p. Calque One alternative, even where the TT as a whole is not to be marked by exoticism, is to introduce a momentary foreignness in the form of calque.

Cultural issues in translation 35 A calque is an expression that consists of TL words and is acceptable as TL syntax, but is unidiomatic in the TL because it is modelled on the structure of an SL expression. This lack of idiomaticity may be purely lexical and relatively innocuous, or it may be more generally grammatical. There is no water worse than the water that sleeps. Do you feel a spirit of sculptor? She has seen herself to hand back the jewel by the thief himself. For most translation purposes, it can be said that a bad calque imitates ST features to the point of being ungrammatical in the TL, while a good one compromises between imitating ST features and offending against TL grammar.

It is easy, through haste or ignorance, to mar the TT with bad calques. However, it is conceivable that in some TTs the momentary foreignness of calque may be desirable or necessary, even if its effects need to be palliated by some form of compensation.


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We shall return to this point in a moment, when looking at communicative translation. Sometimes, what was originally a calqued expression actually becomes a standard TL cultural equivalent of its SL original. Cultural borrowing Another alternative introducing an element of foreignness is to transfer an ST expression verbatim into the TT. This is termed cultural borrowing. But cultural borrowing is different from exoticism and calque, because it does not involve adaptation of the SL expression into TL forms. As with calque, such borrowings sometimes become standard TL terms — think of all the English ballet terms that are loan-words from French.

However, caution needs to be exercised in translating SL words that have become TL loan-words, and vice versa. To begin with, they may be spelt differently, e. Communicative translation As we saw on p. Beware of the dog. Sens interdit. No entry. Une hirondelle ne fait pas le printemps.

Maigre comme un clou.

As thin as a rake. Sometimes, however, the obvious communicative equivalent will not be appropriate in the context. Each of these has its own connotations; which if any is appropriate will depend on what nuance is required in the context. In cases like these, the translator has a genuine choice between literal translation and some degree of communicative translation. Pierre is discussing his daughter, a quiet, self-contained child, with a meddling neighbour. But in this case it does not work. Literally, the French proverb explicitly says that calm water is a bad thing, presumably because it gives a false sense of security.

Figuratively, it refers to quiet people who cunningly and treacherously hide their true nature behind a mask of reserve. It is clearly pejorative. Originally, the English proverb may have had similar force.

But nowadays it is clearly meliorative: it means that quiet people have deeper thoughts and feelings than noisy ones, even if it takes time to discover these admirable qualities. It is conceivable that in certain situations the TL proverb would overlap with the French one and be usable in the context: but it would have to be clear from the context that the person in question is dangerous or untrustworthy, and the proverb would have to spoken in a suitably critical tone of voice.


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However, this calque introduces an exotic element, and it also makes the neighbour into some kind of whimsical wordsmith or parodist instead of someone simply quoting a well-worn saying. Whether these effects were acceptable would depend on the context. In most cases, this would be the safest solution, and it does have the advantage of being an established saying. If that were the case, the solution might be a paraphrase stylized like a proverb and preceded by an exegetic clause making it clear that the neighbour is quoting an existing proverb, e.

Translators themselves clearly need to navigate ST waters with care. It is easy to spoil the ST message with ill-judged attempts at communicative translation. Here are two TTs for comparison and discussion. But you know what they say: still waters run deep. Cultural issues in translation i ii iii 39 Concentrating on the sorts of cultural issue introduced in Chapter 3, compare the texts, commenting on necessary changes that have been made in the TT. Sometimes, these changes will have been imposed by cultural differences, sometimes by linguistic differences.

You should discuss both types, because they may on occasion be connected. Originally they were made for crib sets at Christmas, but nowadays they represent people from all walks of life. The miniature village is situated in the village of Le Paradou, not far from Les Baux.

Manual Le Vallon (Nouvelle traduction révisée) (Masque Christie t. 11) (French Edition)

Toute une gamme de souvenirs, de cadeaux et de produits du terroir. A wide range of souvenirs, gifts and products from rural France. By reservation only. Coertens 3. The two STs below are representative of the booklet. Discuss the strategic decisions that you have to take before starting detailed translation of these STs, and outline and justify the strategy you adopt. Contextual information Each entry in the booklet comprises details of location, prices, specialities, etc. All the texts are written by the same person.

Cabon n. Mais que des bons plats! La GrandeBretagne est le pays exotique le plus proche de Paris. Schifres 70 5 10 15 20 25 30 4 Compensation In Chapter 3, we said it may be necessary to palliate certain TT effects by using compensation. To see what is meant by this, we can return to the meddling neighbour p. And giving it a quasi-proverbial style preserves the sententious tone, which would be lost in a literal translation.

These procedures together are a good example of compensation: that is, where any conventional translation whether literal or otherwise would entail an unacceptable translation loss, this loss is reduced by the freely chosen introduction of a less unacceptable one, such that important ST effects are rendered approximately in the TT by means other than those used in the ST.

In other words, one type of translation loss is mitigated by the deliberate introduction of another. And the pseudo-proverb is grammatically, rhythmically and phonically very far from the ST proverb; but this loss, too, is welcomed because it preserves the sententious tone, which a literal translation would lose.

Note that these departures from literal translation have not been forced on the translator by the dictates of TL grammar. The changes have been 11 11 11 1 44 Thinking French translation deliberately and freely chosen to compensate for the lack of a TL proverb that does what the ST one does. This question of choice versus constraint is vital to the understanding of compensation, as we shall see.