What is the importance of culture in translation?importance of culture in translation?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree completely with the first answer.  But I would like to add just a little bit to that answer.

You certainly have to take culture into account when the word in one language does not translate to the other language.  But you also have to be very careful in understanding the nuances of various words that all mean the same thing.  Many words have very similar denotations (dictionary meanings) but very different connotations (meanings that people understand).

For example, I remember embarrassing some friends of mine when I used the wrong word for "thanks" or "thankfulness" (in Japanese) when speaking to them.  It made them uncomfortable because I used a word that conveyed too much thanks for the situation.  The same thing happens when you are translating, rather than just talking.

kc4u | Student

Translation is always a cultural process and it is nothing but a dialogue between two cultures at the level of language. It establishes a relation between the host and the target language and language is a kind of carrier of culture.

Translation opens up cross-cultural dialogues and if studied diachronically, it also goes to show the tradition of a culture and its transmutation in course of years through the evolution of its language.

Another important way to look at this interface is the role of translation vis-a-vis the imperialist hegemony of culture whereby translators operate as mimic-men or mediators between the colonizer and the colonized. But as recent postcolonial thought has gone on to show, translation has a complex political process which may well turn out to be subversive where a translation may as well be used to counter colonial hegemony of culture.

epollock | Student

One of the most important considerations in translating something is: What happens when a word has no translation to the language you are translating into? When one understands that not everything translates perfectly, then one must consider intention, tone, and other factors. It's not simply translating words, but rather ideas from one culture to the next. Also many cultures have similar traits, such as an introduction, but the techniques or characteristics, a handshake, a bow, are different. The most important cultural considerations are ideas, meanings, and intentions. That is something that can be problematic but takes years of experience to determine.

donslar | Student

It is very important when translating to understand the idiums of the language. Also, in some cultures one word may have many meanings and change with intonation or action. You cannot translate correctly if you do not have a full understanding of the culture and language.