Cultural Translation

The notion of “cultural translation” (“cultural consultancy”) is used in many contexts and meanings. Sometimes it means a metaphor questioning the traditional parameters of translation; in others – in a narrower sense, as a synonym of those literary translation practices smoothing cultural differences. In this case the cultural translation somehow resembles linguistic or grammatical translations raising different technical questions concerning dialect forms, polysemy, verbal allusions, and specific cultural phenomena.

In a precise sense, the cultural consultancy is used in the cultural anthropology. The middle 20th century witnessed the translation of cultures theory that supposed the existence of internal consistency within different peoples.

Throughout its existence, the cultural consultancy and its ideas have been highly criticized, because human societies in it have been represented as homogeneous and solid unities with strict national frameworks. Evidently, this model excludes any internal conflicts and historical cultural changes.

Despite this fact, the theory of cultural translation has obtained its further development in the form of hyphenated identity. Here the translation does not imply linguistic cooperation, but is used metaphorically to determine interchangeable discourses. The result is a language hybridism and a cultural identity.

According to this point of view, the translation is not cooperation among discrete components but processes of moving and mutual blending. Moreover, this moving takes place not “from source to aim” but in the third space. To this extent, the cultural translation constitutes combination of the most important categories of the translation industry including concepts of source and target languages and cultures.

In accordance with many linguists, the notion of cultural consultancy can harshly devaluate linguistic differences and coexistence of languages – basic ideas of the translation in more traditional comprehension. The fact is that they occupy only the role of suppositions for multilingual cultural diversity in this theory.

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