The Role Of Translation In Politics Cultural Studies Essay

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Translation is a process in which a text in rendered from one language to another. It is a process that can be used to enable diverse cultures to establish mutual understanding and share culture. These diverse cultures often find themselves lying within diverse social and political systems. The influence of a translated news report or government agenda could potentially be huge. Consequently, the role of the translation within the social and political arena cannot be underestimated. It is within this social and political arena that translation can operate an internal orientated influence for example minimising the risk of social tension, providing educational resources and high technology exchange. Furthermore it is capable of providing an external orientated influence such as conflict resolution, international aid relief, international trade and international relations. The reasons for dividing these influences into two separate groups is demonstrate that a certain number of them have a more direct affect on the people. This way it is clearer when each are looked at in more detail. This essay will look to examine the ways in which translation is used to political affect by certain governments or organisations. It will also attempt to analyse the role of the translator in these instances and the strategies adopted including the reasons behind their decisions. And then describe these arenas in which translators are being forced to operate.

In order to present my argument

Tibet issue - The first situation that will be addressed is the relations between Mainland China and Tibet. In particular the Chinese central government's policies regarding Tibet that have been published in both Chinese and English. The document that will be brought into discussion is ....... The purpose of the both language versions is to show the intent of the Chinese government with adequate clarity. However, interestingly the extent to which the Chinese language version will be viewed or applied is relatively low in comparison with the English language version released. Although the original and the translation have different audiences, the translation is far more influential in the purpose that it serves. The way in which the translation has taken on a new life, a new means is similar to what Benjamin describes as the afterlife of the original. The echo has outgrown the original. Another example of this

Taiwan conflict

International relations - Brown use of vocab

The second case is the translation of Obama's inauguration speech on the . There was certain issues in the translation into Chinese. In the interpretation during the live broadcast the interpreter was cut off at the point when Obama mentions "earlier generations faced down fascism and communism". Elsewhere, in printed news articles the word "communism" was omitted. In the case of the interpreter it is extremely difficult to react responsibly in fitting in with the politically accepted norms of society. Irrelevant of how much training you go through, nothing can prepare one for this kind of situation. As a result it was the broadcaster who made the decision to cut the interpreter off. In terms of the printed articles the translation has obviously undergone proof-reading and has been through an editor who is tied to a government department responsible for the ensuring that nothing released is detrimental to the state. But any professional translator of a reasonable calibre should anticipate the restrictions on all media. So therefore it must assumed that these translators are operating in a unique political arena. It is accepted that the translator themselves may not be responsible for the omission, but the omission still falls within the overall process of producing a translation. It is highly probable that this will then will affect the strategies and decisions in translation practice.

In both the live interpretation and the printed translation of the Obama speech different strategies were adopted. The interpreter disregarded the fact that the translation of the suggestion the America "conquered communism" in the eyes of the Chinese government would be a potential risk to their stronghold, with high social tension and a number of uprisings in the last 2 years. The printed translation has coincidentally demonstrated characteristics of a functionalist approach. The 'skopos' has been acknowledged in the application of omission technique, appreciating that there was no actual intent. But this 'skopos' or function is similar to no other, because it's function as a piece of media in a socialist state is restricted. The functionalist approach ideal in this case due to its flexibility in allowing disloyalty. The problem with translation in the news is that there generally is no preface to explain to the reader the translators approach. From a cultural political perspective the Chinese has always been very sensitive towards anything political

In order to understand the situation more clearer it is important to mention hermeneutics. A theory based on the interpretation of text. Gadmer stated that it is inevitable that there is a gap between the meaning of the original author and the meaning interpreted by the reader. This caused by the way in which we place words into context that allows us try to understand. In this case the gap between the Obama's original meaning and the potential interpretation (- an indirect suggestion that China was an enemy of America) of the average low-educated person in China who occupy the majority of the population could create a threat to 'the regime'. Generally speaking it is the responsibility of the translator to ensure that the translator can place the text within a context that allows them to comprehend. This is often done by providing "additional elements" (B Czarniawska 2004). At the same time, this can reversed if the information is put into a negative context it can be omitted. The decision to omit was made on the grounds that there was never any intent in the speech other then to strengthen the fact that American's are proud of their past and what they believe in. However, if we analyse it in terms of Reiss's text type text it falls within the informative category. It would be suggested that any translation should be content-focused. This disappointingly is not the case.

needs to under less pressure and more clear on

government filter out this form of potential propaganda

Smaller nations

Another example of how translation strategies have been influenced by political elements is the translation of Kurlantzick's "Tibet Now", a travel review of Tibet. Due to so called political incorrect references to the Dalai Lama, the cultural revolution and certain websites inaccessible to residents in mainland China the translator was forced to render the text to guarantee it was Chinese reader friendly. Modulation was used to deal with elements unsuitable in the target language. Adaptation techniques were also applied as certain information would be unknown to the target reader. Furthermore, the Chinese government would not want these unknown items left in with supplementary explanations. The translation was published in the Can Kao Xiao Xi 参考消息 a well recognised Chinese language digest of the global news front. The translator almost completely rewrote the text as part of a domestication process like Venuti labelled as "ethnocentric reduction of the foreign text to target-language cultural values". It is favoured by many translators as it goes against the language and values of the dominant culture (English). This balances the culture exchange. In this case the translator is left with no other choice. This simply due to the strict regulations on many translations published within China. This text would inevitably fall into Reiss's 'special case' category as it crosses over the borders more than one category, it has clearly been translated upon someone-else's order which has allowed for the function to change. This method of translation is incompatible with Chinese translation theories like Yan Fu's xin, da, ya as well as others. But if the omission of the information is taken as ensuring beauty within the target language then one may draw similarities to the Laozi statement that beautiful words or not honest and honest words are not beautiful.

Another example is a Reuters new report regarding the earthquake in which a Tibetan monk was ignored. The Chinese translation failed display large amounts of the information; the death-toll, the fact that it was mainly ethnic minorities that lost their lives, the fact that there was people paying respect on Tiananmen square and the fact that the interviewee was a monk. Obviously there was other information that was simply not relevant. Strangely if the translation was of a disaster outside of China then there would certainly be no qualms about revealing the death toll. It is upsetting that this lack of transparency can be shown in the publishing of a translation.

It is unmistakable to see that China and its unique social and political system has bred an equally unique form of translation. The state acts as a restrictive element in the translation process. Therefore the application of translation theory is not straightforward. The are a number of complications that mean this form of translation practice cannot be recognised fully. Chinese translation has therefore been described as being characterised by its social and political features (Liu). The fluctuation of translation activity that has been dictated often throughout China's history by a kind of 'tap' controlled by the government that has both allowed and restricted the influx of foreign influence. In stages of intense sinocentrism translation studies have suffered in order to repel the aggressive movements made by the West towards China. Often the Chinese have preferred to adapt anything foreign with Chinese characteristics. Translation is one of the many disciplines that have been affected. It has, however, been crucial to those non-dominant nations that translation is employed to ensure they are heard and recognised as an identity. In the case of China, who's relationship with the west has been rocky of the years, the has been proven reliance on translation. It is true that nations like Iran and China that stray politically and ideologically away from the west are highly dependant on translation.

But yet again it is a Nation that has relied heavily on translation following the 'opening up' in the 1980s. As part of influx that what was called '', to study from the west. The translation of western theories and literature become relatively more accepted and dialogue with the west was established. In particular, previously, their was a phase of translation of western literature at the time when Britain invaded China. This translation was supposed to have been conducted in order for the Chinese to 'know their enemy better'. In later stages, translated western literature was seen as the key to possible reform of values that were outdated and the ideas provided by literature of Western military powers were seen as valuable. And in more recent times as mentioned above it has enabled the the government to a certain extent to achieve part of their remarkable 'opening up' plan.

On a global basis, it is evident that politics can be seen as one of the primary predisposing factors in translation practice and development. The translation activity has normally been more intense within smaller nations who may suffer cultural oppression. This similar to what Spirak describes the only way to get around the confines of ones identity is through working with languages that belong to others. The emphasis on being able to translate into English language has always been huge in relation to the survival of a Chinese person. International politics has always been reliant on translation. Williams discusses the way translation was used by minorities to form political alliances and ensure that the minority culture remains in the sight of the oppressor.

The strength of a country on the world scene tends to dictate to the translation activity taking place. Dominant countries like America tend to be ethnocentric. This minimises the translation taking place. In the case of Obama above, it can be argued that China illustrated that they themselves are showing signs of ethnocentrism. Translation serves a purpose that Qian zhongshu discusses in 'Lin shu's translation' that it entices the reader to gain more interest in the topic in question. this is not just limited to literary translation. This enticement function also contributes to deeper the cross-culture understanding that encourages more effective international relations between various nations.

The way in which TRY TO LINK IN Social narrative theory (BAKER)

Translation as a discipline has gone from simple linguistically based to a highly complex discipline that receives influences from disciplines such as sociology, psychology, philosophy which requires Bassnet describes as a multidisciplinary approach

The next case of translation illustrates translation of a speech made by a political leader from a Western nation. It was the translation of Gordon Brown's speech in...date on SUBJECT. It was translated into Chinese as it obviously will attract interest from the Chinese population as it establishes the relationship between China and the United Kingdom. A nation who's government and people are very sensitive towards the whole 'brand China' which means the speech therefore is of reasonable significance. Notably within this translation their is frequent use of specialised formal vocabulary such as words like . .. meanining with the highest respect. The original was released in the UK in which the text made no marks of respect towards Gordon Brown. This key difference can be stem from social differences between the two cultures. The translator has produced a piece that is compliant with the norms of society. Translating into a language of a nation where a politician or a teacher for example will gain great respect from a language where both a looked upon lightly. The translator exercises transposition techniques that suggest the original text has not been ideally represented. It emphasises the differences in sensitivity towards political figures in source and target cultures.

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