Zooming in on What Tymoczko Has Enlarged: English-to-Czech Literary Translation and the Holistic approach to Translating Culture

Title in English The paper reviews recent developments in cognitive approaches in translation studies research with a view to putting them in use in the translation classroom. The main focus is on cognitive styles and personality traits as factors to be incorporated into


Year of publication 2011
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description In her project on Enlarging Translation, Empowering Translators, M. Tymoczko has proposed a holistic approach to translating culture, pointing out shortcomings of what she calls linear approaches (2007, 232-249). The paper explores how Tymoczko’s more comprehensive and strategic approach, whose advantages are easy to see, interacts with current literary translation from English, the most translated language into Czech, both theoretically and on the level of specific texts. The paper focuses on two areas of translation of fiction from English to Czech: firstly, on contemporary literary fiction originating in those parts of the world which have left its mark on the current globalized world and constitute, consequently, cultures the gap between which and the Czech culture is rather small; and secondly, on translation of English texts mediating native, and more distant, cultures and sensibilities to the Czech readership. The questions the paper seeks to answer in connection with the first group of texts are such as: Given the relative proximity of the two cultures, is there anything left to translate holistically? What is it, typically or in specific cases? How often is this potential for strategic translation decision-making recognized by translators, or is holistic translation of culture an option which remains ignored? With the second type of literary translation mentioned above, of texts mediating cultures of native and aboriginal communities, an intuitive use of the holistic approach to translating culture/s seems much more likely – but is this really the case? How does translating culture holistically manifest in specific textual worlds? Are there lessons to learn for students of translation? And how do translators’ choices reflecting their holistic approach to culture interact with current translation norms?

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