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Culture in translation: a comprehensive study


K. A. Nagodawithana

University of Kelaniya, LK
About K. A.
Faculty of Graduate Studies
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The process of translation involves rendering a text written in one language with the use of the symbols of another language. This act of translation is governed by a myriad of textual and extra-textual elements. Amongst them, culture has a profound impact on the process of translation. The succulent dishes catering to an individual’s taste palate to clothes donned; culture showcase a unique combination of attributes that construct a formidable deterrent for the translator. Hence, the present study seeks to clarify the position of the culture within the translation process, the magnitude of impact on translators and readership, and the strategies adopted by translators to overcome the obstacles posed by cultural distinctions to reap a productive translation. A highly qualitative approach consisting of in-depth, semi-structured interviews was conducted with six individuals actively involved in translation. The garnered data were evaluated and reviewed under the Thematic Analysis method to reach conclusions. The analyzed data revealed that during translation, the contact between two different cultural systems inevitably leads to a confrontation amid two heterogeneous value systems deeply embedded within the respective communities. As a result, culture portrays a dominant figurine, inadvertently endorsing the translators to act as cultural –mediators during translation. In the course, translators adopt a plethora of techniques manipulating culture-specific dimensions up to a certain extent to achieve a translation where the message received by the receptor is substantially the same as the message received via the Source Text.
How to Cite: Nagodawithana, K. A. (2020). Culture in translation: a comprehensive study. Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities Review, 5(4), 210–224. DOI:
Published on 30 Dec 2020.
Peer Reviewed


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