AWEJ. Special Issue on Translation No.3 May, 2014                                                                      Pp. 53 – 64

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Communicating Culture

Zalfa Rihani
Translation Studies Department
United Arab Emirates University

 standard in the evaluation of any translation is accuracy and clarity.  When a translator comes across a source-text word that does not exist at all in the target language, the tendency is either to substitute it, delete it, or rephrase it.  The question is when such a strategy is adopted for communicating meaning that is obliterated from the cultural way of thinking, is culture really communicated?  The concept of translation today ceases to be just about meaning and equivalence in the strict sense of producing an English text easily accessible and readable to the English reader.  Translation is about communicating culture in the sense of communicating the way of thinking of the source- text culture.  It is about creating a medium of readability that is not sacrificial of the source text identity just because that way of thinking does not exist in the target text culture.  When the target text fails in communicating this way of thinking in one aspect or another, it fails to be accurate and clear.A basic
Keywords: contrastive conceptual analysis in translation, intercultural communication awareness in translation, translation studies, the translator’s (in)visibility, and translation evaluation.


Zalfa Rihani is a Fulbright scholar from Aleppo, Syria. She has a PhD in English from the
University of Toledo, USA, and as post-doctoral degree in translation from the University of
Arkansas, USA, where she won the 2002 Lily Peter Translation Award for poetry translation
from Arabic into English. She taught English literature and composition at the University of
Toledo, worked as a research assistant in the Translation Department at the University of
Arkansas in the US. In Canada, she worked as a translator/interpreter and linguistic advisor at
Alberta Justice and Immigration & Refugee Board of Canada and later she joined Translation
Bureau, Public Works and Government Services Canada as senior translator and language
advisor. Dr. Rihani currently is an assistant professor at Translation Studies Department, United
Arab Emirates University. Her interests include post-colonial readings of Victorian fiction,
consecutive and simultaneous interpretation, cultural communication and translation studies,
technology impact on translation processes, and translation assessment.