Translators as cultural mediators

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Translators are referred to with increasing frequency as ‘cultural mediators’ or experts in intercultural communication, but to what extent does translation practice confirm this description? Do most translators see themselves in this way and are they viewed as such by those who employ or commission them? Does the relative status of the translator within a particular society make it more or less likely that he or she is going to function as a genuine cultural mediator, or is this more dependent on institutional attitudes to translation or even on the type of translation being carried out? How does the translation brief (or lack of it) and the way the translation is evaluated influence the translator’s strategy? How significant are cultural differences with regard to text production, as well as the differing status of the two cultures involved? These are the kinds of questions that Translation Studies should be able to answer. They will be discussed here in relation to a specific cultural context and textual genre: the translation from Slovene to English of online texts about Slovenia’s natural heritage.


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