chapter  4
Applying the Methodology (Part 1)
The Translation of Culture
WithRoy Youdale
Pages 23

The translation of a literary work involves an act of intercultural mediation. Within the framework of the foreignising approach outlined in Chapter 3, three specific cultural elements are analysed in this chapter: culture-specific items (CSIs); the use of different languages in the source text (ST), including the target language (TL); and the use of usted and its formal interpersonal register. The same methodological approach is applied to all three, namely the recursive use of close and distant reading to inform and revise the translation. In all three cases the specific cultural elements in the ST were identified through reading and initial translation. The extent and location of their occurrence was quantified using corpus linguistics. This data facilitated an assessment of the functions and narrative and stylistic importance of each element, carried out by close reading. On the basis of this assessment a review of scholarship in the field and examples of how translators of Latin American fiction had approached the problem are brought to bear in order to arrive at a number of possible translation strategies. Choices of strategy are explained and illustrated by example, their application frequently resulting in a revision of the initial draft translation.