Mapping Culture

In formulating a model for mapping culture, the first step is to draw up the source linguistic-cultural constellation (SLCC). This involves identifying and categorising cultural features represented in the ST, and clustering them into the culture(s) and subculture(s) they represent. These categories of cultural features constitute the tertium comparationis in a descriptive translation studies (DTS) framework (Kruger and Wallmach 1997). The more complete the set of categories identified, the more holistically the SLCC is mapped.

Based on the discussion above, the present model identifies features either as explicit (visible, tangible), or implicit (invisible, intangible). Explicit features are grouped into two ‘environments’: physical and social. These environments contextualise the setting and invoke conno-tative meaning (see Nord 2003; Jaleniauskiené and Cicelyté 2009). The physical environment includes landmarks, flora and fauna, foodstuffs, clothing, physical artefacts, artistic products (CDs, magazines, literary works in either digital or print media) and cyber products (internet sites, search engines, etc.). Social environment categories include measurements (currency, mass, distance, etc.), vocations, institutions (e.g. educational systems, local businesses), organisations (e.g. religious and political groupings), rituals (e.g. customs, festivals), heroes, historical events and ethnicity (references to specific social groups).

Implicit features constitute the communicative and value environments. Communicative environment categories include discourse forms related to genre, language use, personal names, nicknames, praise names, forms of address, figurative expressions, literary devices, exclamations/

Mapping Culture in Literary Translation 115 ideophones, conversational norms, intertextual references, vulgarity and meaningful paralinguistic communication. Value environment categories include values, beliefs and norms expressed (negatively or positively) in proverbs and idioms, events, characters’ actions, narrative perspective, internal monologues and dialogue between characters (Wehrmeyer 2010). These are analysed using Hofstede’s (2011) differentials (‘power’, ‘uncertainty’,‘individualism’,‘gender’ and ‘restraint’), to which four others are added to accommodate the African context: ‘tribalism’ (the extent to which the clan or nation is prioritised), ‘spirituality’ (beliefs and attitudes towards religious systems), ‘family’ (composition and roles within the nuclear family), and ‘morality’ (attitudes to actions performed with or on others, e.g. sex, violence, theft, etc.).

The second step involves mapping the target linguistic-cultural constellation (TLCC). In the case of translation production, translators should first plan the overall cultural framework of theTT (which cultures? which cultural categories?), and then draw up translation principles for each category (Toury’s (2012) initial and preliminary norms). This top-down approach ensures that a holistic, coherent TLCC is created. For research, this process must be bottom-up: the researcher first identifies and categorises the individual cultural elements, then clusters them. Compensation strategies (Baker 2018) should also be taken into account, i.e. the possibility that translators add culture-specific items elsewhere.

Drawing on House (2015), the third step of the model comprises comparing source and target LCCs in order to give a descriptive account of cultural shifts and translation norms.

To determine cultural shifts, I draw on Venuti’s notion of the remainder and Toury’s notion of the ideal invariant, which I propose (Wehrmeyer 2014) is simply a full componential analysis (Lyons 1981) of the ST.

The Notion of Shared and Unshared Cultural Aspects

Translation (or, for that matter, interpreting) can be defined as the mapping (transformation) of a ST concept (c.) on to a target concept (ct), i.e. c. -> c(. Depending on the degree of cultural contact (Even-Zohar 1990), three possibilities exist (see Baker 2018). First, cs and c( could constitute identical concepts, i.e. Toury’s ideal invariant is realised. For example, vehicle models (e.g. Audi) and technical equipment (e.g. iPad) culturally represent their countries of origin but have become artefacts of the global village. Second, c. and c( could share some meaning components. For example, an article of clothing might be culturally tied, e.g. isidwaba = [clothing][woman’s][skirt][animal hide][Zulu]. Using a target cultural equivalent potentially introduces new meaning components, whereas using a more general or neutral word might only convey superordinate notions of clothing. Third, cs and c( could share no meaning components (the ST concept is completely foreign to the target culture),

e.g. the ANC freedom cry “Amandla” and its answer, “Ngawethu” (Meyer 2011:333). Translators can import the concept—and thereby the ST culture—through borrowings or caiques (with or without indigenisation or explanation), or through word-for-word (direct) translation (Vinay and Darbelnet 1995; Pan 2018), e.g. “‘Ngawethu', said Mbali, the response to the Struggle cry an instant reflex” (Meyer 2012:263). Alternatively, translators may choose to use a target concept (e.g. “viva ANC”), a concept foreign to both source and target cultures (e.g. “salaam alichem”), a shared (general, neutral, functionally equivalent) concept (e.g. “hello”), or even omit it. Hence, the most creative decisions involve the translation of unshared concepts.

Because the connection between a word (‘signifier’) and its associated concept (‘signified’) is not unproblematic (see Guillot 2018), the model focuses on identifying meaningful concepts, which include nonverbal communication (Taylor 2018), e.g. actions in drama or illustrations in children’s literature. Similarly, a single word may represent whole schemas of concepts (Nord’s 1997 ‘presuppositions’). Notwithstanding, in the corpus-based analysis below, concepts must have some form of lexical representation.

The SLCC therefore constitutes all cultures represented in the ST text. Some concepts are shared with the target language culture (set K), whereas sets Rp R„ R„ etc. represent cultures potentially foreign to the target culture:

SLCC = K + R1+R2+R3 + ... = K + Rs (1)

Rs represents the constellation of unique cultures represented in the ST, which, adapting Lecercle’s (1990/2016) term, I call the ‘source remainder’. Which elements constitute set K depends on cultural contact (trans-culturality), e.g. eating with a knife and fork is a shared cultural practice between European cultures, but not between Asian and European cultures. Because languages are dynamic, set K changes over time. Therefore, when analysing literary translations from a previous era, it is useful to distinguish a set T (representing concepts previously shared by the target culture but currently regarded as foreign). Set T therefore occupies a fuzzy relationship to the otherwise mutually exclusive K and R sets.

Similarly, the TLCC constitutes all cultures represented in the TT. These potentially include ST cultures (R's), target cultures (Rr) and introduced cultures (X), i.e.

TLCC = K + Rs + RT + X (2)

R's indicates that the target audience’s perception of the source culture(s) differs from the source audience’s perception. RT corresponds to Venuti’s (2004/2012) concept of domestic remainder in the narrow case of a TT

Mapping Culture in Literary Translation 117 representing a single domestic culture. Adapting Lecercle’s (1990/2016) term, I call the set of cultures represented in the TT the ‘target remainder’. Using Venuti’s (1995/2008) terms, a TT can be defined as domesticated if Rs elements are mainly mapped on to K or R.p and foreignised if Rs elements are mapped onto R's or X. However, Equation (2) exposes the limitations of Venuti’s terms: they are based on the assumption that the ST and TT represent single cultures, and therefore are simplistic and binary.

 
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