Domestication versus foreignization: translation of culture-specific items in a work of historical documentation (Leogang 1938-1945: Zeitzeugen berichten)

Holliday, Sheila (2008) Domestication versus foreignization: translation of culture-specific items in a work of historical documentation (Leogang 1938-1945: Zeitzeugen berichten). MA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    This dissertation incorporates a translation of Chapter 1 of Leogang 1938-1945: Zeitzeugen berichten by Alois Schwaiger, published by Bergbaumuseum Leogang in 1998. Schwaiger's work consists of eyewitness testimonies from residents of the Austrian village of Leogang, in Salzburg Province, juxtaposed with extracts from the minutes of the local council, school log book and other official documents, which present a picture of life in the period leading up to the Anschluss. The author has also added some contributions of his own in order to help the reader understand the historical background to the documents. The text contains many culture-specific items, including historical and political events and persons, Austrian customs, and the local Pinzgau dialect. Translation theorists have, over the years, posited a number of different dichotomies in their approaches to translation strategies. In recent years there has been increasing interest in the question of translators' attitudes to cultural hegemonies when cultural features and values expressed in a Source Text (ST) are different from the translator's, and target reader's, own. Lawrence Venuti's work, particularly in The Translator's Invisibility, has focused on the dichotomy between what he terms 'domesticating' and 'foreignizing' translation. 'Domestication' implies here that the translator's aim is to give the readers of the Target Text (TT) the illusion that it was originally written in the Target Language (TL), whereas 'foreignizing' translation aims to challenge the TL reader by confronting the dissimilarities between source and target language cultures. Behind Venuti's unease at the prevalence of 'domesticating' translation in the Englishspeaking world is a suspicion that it reflects an attitude of superiority, even colonialism, towards cultures whose language is not English. Bearing in mind the differences between ST and TT audiences, not only in their previous knowledge of the subject matter, but also in their relationship with and attitude to the events referred to in the text, I address in this dissertation the extent to which such culture-specific items should be either domesticated or foreignized. The different strategies which are available to the translator are outlined and discussed, and the dissertation shows how a compromise can be reached between the imperative to make the TT clear and easy to read, and the desire to help the TL reader to an appreciation of the cultural differences of another country and another time.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Languages and Area Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:14

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