Discussion

In Figure 6.1, the LCCs of the two works and their translations are depicted graphically, the cumulative contribution of the four cultural environments (physical, social, communicative and value) determining the diameter of each sphere, e.g. in Izibonga zikaDingana, the RZUIU

TT: The Praises ofDingana

Rrus

ST: Sewe Dae

Figure 6.1 Linguistic-cultural constellations

Reast

contribution =0.68+0.90+0.97+0.84 =3.4 units or 85% of all cultural elements. (Similar mappings can be undertaken using Excel’s Treemap or pie graph functions.)

In Izibonga zikaDingana, the Zulu culture dominates all four cultural environments, whereas shared cultural elements (K) feature rarely (K diameter «0.4 units). Other South African cultures (RSA diameter «0.2 units)—shaded to illustrate relative foreignness to the Zulu culture—only occasionally dot the communicative environment. The degree of trans-culturality is indicated by the relative proximity of spheres. The SLCC therefore presents a predominantly familiar culture to its Zulu reader, with the few foreign elements not at a large cultural distance.

By contrast, the LCC of The praises ofDingana presents to the average English reader more that is unfamiliar than familiar, since the culturally distant Zulu culture dominates (R'ZULU diameter =2.7 units), and shared elements are few (K diameter =0.9 units). Elements pertaining to other South African cultures (which the shading depicts as familiar to South African but not to foreign English readers) are even fewer (R'SA diameter = 0.3 units), and the translator has introduced some British elements (RUK diameter =0.1 units). The reader, who has to rely on the accompanying commentary to understand almost every line, is accordingly distanced and confused. Unsurprisingly, outside Zulu language courses, the translation is unknown (peripheral), even within the South African literary polysystem.

7 Dae presents a culturally familiar LCC to a contemporary Afrikaans reader. Besides Afrikaans elements (R,™,.. diameter =2.45 units), all envi-ronments also contain many shared cultural elements (K diameter =1.05 units). Furthermore, other South African (RSA diameter = 0.15 units) or other English (Roe diameter =0.14 units) cultures are partially familiar (designated by shading). The few foreign elements represent “Russian”, Eastern and EU cultures (Rrus +Reast +Reu =0-2 units).

Seven days differs from The praises ofDingana in that Seegers creates a relatively familiar (K diameter =1.82 units) albeit somewhat inconsistent LCC (through the insertion of other English subcultures, R0E diameter =0.24 units). Adopting the perspective of an English-speaking South African narrator would have been more consistent. Her apparent initial norm to foreignise the physical and social environments but domesticate the communicative and value environments creates roughly equal distributions of foreign (R'sa, Reu, Reast, Rrlis) and familiar cultural elements (K, Roe) to a contemporary English reader outside South Africa. To an English-speaking South African reader, the text is 92% domesticated, with only Reu, Reast and Rrus being transculturally distant. This balance between shared and unshared cultural elements possibly explains why the translation occupies a central position in the South African English literary polysystem, and is also recognised in the global crime fiction market.

The application demonstrates the importance of translators planning an intended TLCC coherently in a top-down approach instead of focusing on individual cultural elements. The study also shows that while Venuti’s (1995/2008) classifications are adequate for describing translations of monocultural literary works, they are limited in describing the LCCs of multicultural literary translations, where foreignisation occurs at some levels and domestication at others, and where the act of translation potentially introduces new cultural elements. Foreignisation can imply the introduction of ST cultures, or of cultures foreign to both ST and TT cultures, whereas domestication in terms of lingua franca such as English begs the questions: to which dialect or subculture should the translation be domesticated? And, to what extent does including elements from related subcultures qualify as domestication? Venuti’s (1995/2008) argument indicates the contrary, and surely, if the hegemonic cultural norm of the twenty-first century is Americanisation, then including South African elements is already a counter? In our contemporary multicultural, digital, global age, Venuti’s terms can be regarded simply as poles between which a continuum of solutions can be found. By contrast, the LCC model is complex, potentially incorporating any number of cultures, including cyberspace culture. I further propose that the model could be extended to explore the degree of foreignisation of a literary translation in terms of poetics, e.g. by mapping different sociolects or styles.

No model is without limitations. In mapping LCCs, one cannot categorise all cultural elements with the same degree of certainty. For example, while experience and research make it relatively easy to decide to what extent a particular item of clothing is familiar to TT readers, determining to what extent cultural values are shared, or are evident in figurative language, is more challenging. In this study, Pederson’s (2011) notion of transculturality, Even-Zohar’s (1990) laws of cultural interference and Hofstede’s (2011) value dimensions served as guidelines rather than as rigorous frameworks, and more systematic models for analysing value environments in literary works and their translations are suggested as avenues for future research.

Assumptions must also be made in modelling who the primary target audience is, especially when translating into global languages such as English or Spanish, where the translation may be accessed by different cultures. As the study demonstrates, this perspective influences the TT’s overall degree of foreignisation or familiarity, e.g. Seven days is domesticated to South African readers, but foreignised to international audiences.

 
Source
< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >