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Cultural Elements in Translation Essay

Different languages result in different world views. Different languages direct their speaker to a certain way of thinking and paying attention to certain aspects of the world around them. So translation is not only finding the best equivalent but also finding appropriate ways of saying things in another language. The main problem for a translator is to maintain the local color of source text (foreignization) or to adjust the text according to the culture of the target audience (domestication).

One of the main goals of literary translation is show the sensibilities of the source-language culture to the target-language audience. Transmitting cultural elements is not an easy task. The translator should not only be a bilingual but also a bicultural. S/he should be familiar with the author’s intentions and readers’ expectations. S/he should study the history, social structure, religion, traditional customs and norms of both source and target texts which s/he is going to translate. Some of the problems which an Indian translator (or maybe any translator) faces during translating culture-specific items are as follows:

* Translating proper names

* Translating grammatical forms which show respect and euphemism * Translating social relationships
* Translating life-style and values
* Translating symbols
* Translating habits
* Translating national or religious ceremonies
* Translating customs and traditions
* Translating religious acts, myths and legends
* Translating geographical and environmental phenomena
So the translator should not stick to word-by-word translation but s/he should substitute certain elements in the work. S/he should attempt to transmit cultural quality from one language to another.

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