Approaches to Translation and Culture: A Study of the Published English Versions of Some of Gamal Al-Ghitani Literary Works

نوع المستند : المقالة الأصلية


Cairo University


This research paper is an attempt to evaluate Peter Newmark's semantic and communicative approaches that are commonly adopted by translators to impart the flavour of the Egyptian culture to the Anglophone readers. The two approaches are diametrically opposed: the semantic approach involves the transfer of the text literally without any alteration: it preserves the length of sentences, position and integrity of clauses and words. It is author-oriented in the sense that it closely pursues the author's thought process and disregards the response of the target readers. This approach does not pay heed to the message of the writer and the target readers may find it difficult to digest the target text. The communicative approach, on the other hand, sets great store on the target reader and the response of the receptor. It attempts to generate a meaning that will elicit a response from the target recipients that approximates the response of the SL readers. It also advocates the equivalent-effect principle of translation which tends to rule out the predominance of words and structure.   This paper attempts to address the vexed question of choosing an optimal translation approach and whether to represent the source culture in Target Text by highlighting the importance of the functional approach to translation which is based on the Skopostheorie, for it strikes a balance between Newmark's approaches by according priority to the function the translated text is intended to fulfill. Although this Skopostheorie has drawn many criticisms, some of them have been refuted; it is practically useful to adopt it provided the translator voices his/her opinion which is soundly based on his/her expertise and does not follow blindly what the commissioner/client dictates to him/her. Translation is not all about linguistic transcoding, or cultural transference, rather it is a communicative action determined by a purpose. Translators can safely produce skopos-based translation provided that they observe the principles of coherence and culture. Some of Gamal Al-Ghitani's literary works are selected to put theories into practice since they are replete with expressions that reflect the Egyptian culture hence pose a challenge to the translator.

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