CULTURAL TRANSLATION IN THE HUMAN SCIENCES: BRAZILIAN CASE STUDIES

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

The internationalisation of local research is a common practice within researchers all over the world. In spite of that, little has been discussed in this field which can cause communication problems when transferring knowledge from one language to another. This research concerns a cultural analysis of twelve Brazilian research articles in the Human Sciences translated into English. The purpose is to understand how cultural manifestations have been academically represented in lingua franca. With that, we analyse the possible effects that these translations have on an international audience, which varies in nationality, scientific knowledge and familiarity with Brazilian culture. Thereunto, we were based on the German Functionalist Translation Theory (Nord, 1991/2005, 2001, Vermeer, 1980, Reiß & Vermeer, 1996, Reiß, 2000) to understand the purpose of translation and to set categories of translation, Intercultural Studies (Hofstede, 1980, Holliday et al., 2004) to find cultural categories in the texts and to understand the universe of small and large cultures where every individual is inserted in. In addition, we use Foucault (1966/2000) and Bakhtin (1979/2011) to understand the representation of the Human Sciences in language, and Swales (1990) and Marcuschi (2008) for discussions related to genre, specifically the academic one. Our analysis was based on finding cultural categories and observing the strategies used to translate them. Results show that the translators tended not to interfere in the text, mainly using strategies of calque and loan. However, the same translation strategy does not have the same effect in every situation, because it depends on the context and the target text reader knowledge on the topic. We also observed that the cases where translators interfered as critical readers contributed to a more universal understanding for the international readership. Therefore, we are convinced that translation interferences are suitable and recommendable for this genre, as long as the target text keeps the informative and argumentative function. 
Date of Award30 May 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
SupervisorPhilippe Humblé (Promotor) & Meta Elisabeth Zipser (Promotor)

Keywords

  • Human Sciences
  • Translation

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