The Ethical Project of Cultural Translation

Sharmani Patricia Gabriel
2020 KEMANUSIAAN: The Asian Journal of Humanities  
This article is a revised and expanded version of the author's plenary address for the Fifth International Conference on Linguistics, Literature and Culture (ICLLIC 2019) convened by the School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia. It engages with the conference theme of globalisation and cultural change by reflecting on translation as an ethical project. It argues that the problematic of postcolonial translation is also a significant site to address issues of social
more » ... ss issues of social justice and the unequal power relations between linguistic and cultural systems, especially in the context of the homogenising forces of globalisation. Disrupting normative views that one should aim for "sameness" between source and target texts, or between "original" and "translated" cultures, if translation is to be deemed a project of equal exchange between cultures and languages, the article asserts that the task of the postcolonial translator is not to preserve equivalence of meaning but to jolt the reader with moments of deep estrangement and unfamiliarity. Such a strategy will confront the reader with the reality of cultural difference. Indeed, the "global cultural consciousness" that ICLLIC 2019 called for demands that we go beyond the communicative model of translation to a more contemplative and contingent model of "carrying across" that affirms and respects difference. In short, the article argues that translation might provide the provocation for ethical ways of knowing the other.
doi:10.21315/kajh2020.27.2.6 fatcat:tunbfmatrfebxfqvus2uoiy7x4