Constructing Cultures: Essays On Literary Translation by Susan Bassnett

By Susan Bassnett

This assortment brings jointly prime figures within the self-discipline of translation reviews. The essays disguise a variety of fields, and mix thought with sensible case reports related to the interpretation of literary texts.

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Cultures that are relatively homogeneous tend to see their own way of doing things as 'naturally', the only way, which just as naturally becomes the 'best' way when confronted with other ways. When such cultures themselves take over elements from outside, they will, once again, naturalise them without too many qualms and too many restrictions. When Chinese translates texts produced by Others outside its boundaries, it translates these texts in order to replace them, pure and simple. The translations take the place of the originals.

It is easy to see why: anyone can match words from word lists. Yet from Sumer and Akkad onwards, a translation always remained what the Germans call a 'Fremdkörper', a foreign body in the receiving language, as it first was in the Akkadian language, because it was always marked as a translation, and the original < previous page page_16 next page > < previous page page_17 next page > Page 17 always remained a foreign body in the whole culture because it remained inaccessible to a majority of those who were, after all, included in that culture.

It should be stressed that these questions need to be answered in the translating of all kinds of texts and the analysis of all kinds of translations. The relative power and prestige of cultures is extremely relevant for the selection of texts to be translated. < previous page page_8 next page > < previous page page_9 next page > Page 9 Dominance shows itself in how translation changes the ways in which people write in the target culture. Advertisements written around the world now look much more like American advertisements than they did a few years ago.

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