Translation within Cultural Perspective

Febrina S.L. Lumbantobing, Hotnida I. Simanjuntak, M. Husnan Lubis


Cultural untranslatability poses one of the most difficult challenges for translators. No single culture is exactly similar to one another because the culture itself is affected by a large number of factors. Culture in one region can hardly be found in another region. The culture is reflected in a language and this is where cultural untranslatability occurs. Language is an inseparable aspect between culture and the translation process where culture serves as a critical aspect in forming a language. In other words, culture cannot be separated from the process of translation. Culture is a part of human life that appears in our daily lives in the form of words, actions, or certain habits. As a means of communication, language is used by interlocutors for the purpose of exchanging information, minds, ideas, experiences, feelings, and others. When communicating, people reflect various perspectives and norms applicable to their community. Translation as a form of communication not only faces linguistic obstacles but also cultural obstacles. The process of translation can be carried out depending on its translatability level. The translatability of a text is determined by (A) similarities or differences in the structure of the SL and TL; (b) levels of contacts of both languages; (c) levels of similarities between SL and TL; (d) the meanings underlying the production of the translated text. Practical implications caused by the cultural gap are reflected in the application of a certain strategy or procedure in translation. Notwithstanding that there are various applicable alternatives, there is one equivalence method highly determined by the typological closeness of language and cultural differences between the source and the target language. There is a tendency of meaning equivalence model culture context from Indonesian into English, namely: (1) Borrowing; (2) decentralization, and (3) adaptation or cultural substitution.


culture, translation, translatability, borrowing, deculturalization, adaptation.

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