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Unformatted text preview: THE ʻCULTURAL TURNʼ IN TRANSLATION STUDIES [FOUNDATIONS] • Part of this increasing interest in studying the EXTRA ­TEXTUAL and CONTEXTUAL factors beyond the traditional ‘word, sentence, text’ • Part of a general trend across the humanities [CULTURAL STUDIES, 1980s] • CS is grounded in critical theory which generally concerns the political nature of contemporary culture • CS aims to examine its subject matter in terms of cultural practices and their relation to power • CS connects the study of culture to a larger political project). • CS is a diverse and unstructured field of study encompassing many different approaches, methods, and academic perspectives [CULTURE TRANSLATION] THE CULTURAL TURN IN TS  Mary Snell ­Hornby is the first author proposing this term, in her essay in the book Translation, History, Culture, edited by Susan Bassnett and André Lefevere (1991) • Dismissal of all previous linguistic theories of translation which had moved the TRANSLATION UNIT from word to text, but not beyond • The TRANSLATION UNIT should move from text to culture  The translation of a (literary) text became a transaction NOT between two texts,  BUT rather a more complex negotiation between two cultures. Once upon a time the questions that were always being asked were ́How can translation be taught’ and ‘How can translation be studied?’ Those who regarded themselves as translators were often contemptuous of any attempts to teach translation, while those who claimed to teach often did not translate and so had to resort to the old evaluative method of setting one translation alongside another and examining both in a formalist vacuum. Now, the questions have changed. The object of study has been redefined; what is studied is a text embedded within its network of both source and target cultural signs. (Bassnett and Lefevere 1991: 11 ­12, emphasis added) [CULTURE TRANSLATION] THE CULTURAL TURN IN TS  ­which foreign texts are selected for translation  ­what’s the translator’s/publisher’s/reader’s stance towards the text  ­which text strategies and translations are canonized or marginalized and which social groups are served by them  ­how a translator may canonize a book that hadn’t been acclaimed before in its source system  ­etc. [TRANSLATION CULTURE] THE TRANSLATION TURN IN CS WHAT IS STUDIED IS ALSO THE POLITICAL ROLE THAT TRANSLATION PLAYS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF CULTURE  ­different status of two texts in their different systems  ­relationship between the two cultural systems in which those texts are embedded [COMMON AGENDA for TS & CS] a) an investigation of the way in which different cultures construct their images of writers and texts b) a tracking of the ways in which texts become cultural capital across cultural boundaries c) and exploration of the politics of translations d) a pooling of resources [MUTUAL BENEFITS]  ­TS investigates the textual realizations through which cultural exchange takes place, offering to CS examples in more than one language (i.e. in more than English)  ­CS brings to TS an understanding of the complexities of culture [POSITIVES for TS]  Revitalisation of the discipline, widening the research scope of TS and thus liberating it from the relatively mechanical tools of analysis (typical of linguistics and comparative literature)  Translation as “cross ­cultural understanding” (Rubel and Rosman 2003: 1).  Complexities of textual transfer: there is no total equivalence between cultural systems, and therefore the alignment between source and target text is necessarily skewed [NEGATIVES for TS]  Limited to literary texts !  Lack of engagement with detailed analysis, overlooking of the linguistic and textual realities of translation [CULTURAL STUDIES]  ­All migrants are translated beings > they do not remain the same throughout the process > they do not integrate completely into the new culture  ­TRANSLATION: metaphor of the hybrid cultural identities of migrants = translated beings who must endlessly negotiate the cultural meanings produced between the different cultural systems they inhabit IN-BETWEEN SPACE, THIRD SPACE “The production of meaning requires that these two places (the I and the you) be mobilized in the passage through a Third Space [...] the space ­in ­between, that is, a fertile and at the same time disquieting space where the dynamic interaction of at least two cultures takes place” (Bhabha 1994: 38) [APPLICATION TO TRANSLATION STUDIES]  ­Michaela Wolf (2000) Culture as Translation – and Beyond  ­Culture is not a stable unit, but a dynamic process, which implies difference and incompleteness  ­TRANSLATION is not only a matter of transfer ‘between cultures’, but also a place where cultures merge and create new spaces (the in ­between space, the third space)  ­Translations: > they do not remain the same throughout the process > they do not integrate completely into the new culture IN-BETWEEN SPACE, THIRD SPACE in TRANSLATION “The concept of ‘culture as translation’ thus projects culture as the site of interaction of the components of translational processes and as the space where translation is conceived as the reciprocal interpenetration of Self and Other”. (Wolf 2003: 186) “Cultures themselves do not appear as original lifeworlds, but as translations in the sense that they are already the results of translations activities” (ibid: 186) “In this hybrid view of culture, translation is seen as a crucial activity” (ibid: 186). ...
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