Journal of Universal Language
Sejong University Language Research Institue

Foreignized or Domesticated: Investigating Translation for Enhancing Artistic Dialogue

Li Pan1,
1University of Macau & Guangdong University of Foreign Studies
Corresponding Author : Li PAN, English Department, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Macau, Macao / Faculty of English Language and Culture, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou, China. Phone: 853-62514585 / 86-13580300028;

Copyright ⓒ 2016, Sejong University Language Research Institue. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Nov , 2010; Revised: Dec , 2010; Accepted: Dec , 2010

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


Translation plays a significant role in intercultural communication for it not only enables two cultures to converse with each other but also helps to reveal the disparity and unbalance between cultures. This is especially true in the case of translation of texts for the performing arts like theatre, dance, opera, and music, etc., which are usually embedded with condensed culture specific expressions and concepts. Examining translation strategies used in rendering such texts in practice can be quite revealing about the unbalance and inequality of interaction among or between cultures in a given community since the strategies employed by translators reflect the social cultural context in which texts are produced (Bassnett & Trivedi 1999: 6). It is thus interesting to investigate the translation practice in a international community like Hong Kong, a city well-known as a melting pot which is susceptible to the influences of both the Eastern and the Western cultures, and to find out which culture is more influential on translation practice in such a community and what strategies are deployed in translating texts for the performing arts in this community? However, up till now, not much research has been carried out addressing the impact of the cultural disparity or unbalance on the translation of texts for the arts in Hong Kong, nor the actual practice of translating promotional texts for the performing arts. The present study examines and compares the strategies and methods used in translating articles to publicize Ballet and Chinese Opera performances in the Hong Kong Arts Festival. A detailed textual analysis of the sample texts is given, followed by the discussion about the possible factors responsible for choosing different strategies in translating texts for the arts of Chinese origin and that of Western origins. The findings of the paper could shed some lights on the role of translation in the reporting of conflicts across cultural divides in translation of texts for the arts.

Keywords: translation strategies; promotional texts for performing arts; cultural disparity



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