Translating Words, Translating Cultures

  • Richard Whitaker University of Cape Town


What exactly does (or should) translation from one language into another try to do? Attempt to convey to readers of the target language (the language into which one is translating) something of the strangeness, difference and historicity of the original in the source language (the language from which one is translating)? Or must translation try to bridge the gap between source and target language, by rendering the original in a thoroughly contemporary style and diction, as if this were a work being written now for the first time? And related to these the further questions: how closely should a translation render the genre, language, metre, style and content of the original? How far can a translation depart from the original without ceasing to be a translation – in other words, where is one to situate the border between “translation”, “version” and “adaptation”?
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