Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

Faithfulness: Translator's Responsibility in Cross-Cultural Communication

Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

Faithfulness: Translator's Responsibility in Cross-Cultural Communication

Article excerpt


New trends in translation have led to a mistaken notion that faithfulness is obsolete. This article argues that faithfulness should be highlighted in cross-cultural communication to promote better understanding. As a result, a translator should cultivate a strong sense of responsibility, keeping in mind that faithfulness is the guarantee of successful cross-cultural communication. Erroneous translation, either because of incautious, incompetent translation ending in misinformation, or because of deliberate reading into the source language text the translator's own ideas, ending in disinformation, is detrimental to effective cross-cultural communication. Faithful translation can never be overemphasized.

Key words: Cross-cultural communication; Faithful translation; Misinformation; Disinformation

(ProQuest: ... denotes non-USASCII text omitted.)


In Language in Thought and Action, Mr. Hayakawa points out: "Today the public is aware, perhaps to an unprecedented degree, of the role of communication in human affairs. This awareness arises in large part out of the urgency of the tensions existing everywhere between nation and nation, class and class, individual and individual5 in a world that is undergoing rapid change and reorganization.''Perhaps only through effective communication, can man engage in meaningful cooperation and avoid conflict, so that we can hang together instead of hanging separately. To achieve effective communication across cultures, the most important role is assumed by translators who are considered as the experts to bridge over the cultural barriers between peoples. The Chinese scholar HU Gengshen, advocator of Eco-translation theory, in his article "An Eco-translatological Perspective on the Supersession of 'Translator-centeredness' by 'Translator's Responsibility'" considers it as a significant idea to assign the translator a central position. He observes that "Advocating the notion that ' the translator is the center,' 'the translator plays the leading role,' will facilitate the extension of the 'research radium' of translator research in translation studies, promoting the theoretical level of such studies. Meanwhile, it will also give impetus t0 the enhancement of the self-duty consciousness, selfdiscipline and professional quality of the translator (translated and stressed by WU Feng)."

When assigned the central position of translation, the translator also assumes a very serious responsibility. He should make careful use of his role as a mediator to guarantee the smooth communication between a source and a target culture. He should be aware of the fact of parallax in language use, if carelessly performing his duties, he might block the communication instead of facilitate the communication, creating more problems. HU Gengshen cautions us against such dangers by raising a of questions: "If the translator is the 'Center', what is the status of the text? If the translator is the 'Center', what can be done in case the translator's 'autonomous rights' are excessive, leading to 'loss of control'? If the translator is the'Center', should translation criticism focus on the translator or the translated text? If the translator is the 'Center', does it mean 'the translator overrides everything?' (translated by WU Feng)" Too many cases show that heavy is the head that wears the crown. Even when the translator is given the central position, he is free from fetters, but he still has to obey some fundamental mies to perform his duties well. He should not distort the message of the source language text. He should not read into the source language text what the original author did not say or imply. He should not provide misinformation or disinformation and abuse the trust of the target language readers. Nida emphasizes that translator (1) need to understand thoroughly the source text, (2) the close relation between language and culture, (3) the necessity to focus attention on style and discourse, and (4) the relevance of insights coming from several different disciplines (Nida, 2001). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.