Original Research

Die literêre vertaler as kulturele bemiddelaar

M.B. Müller, I. Feinauer
Literator | Vol 29, No 2 | a119 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v29i2.119 | © 2008 M.B. Müller, I. Feinauer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 July 2008 | Published: 25 July 2008

About the author(s)

M.B. Müller, Departement Afrikaans en Nederlands, Universiteit Stellenbosch, South Africa
I. Feinauer, Departement Afrikaans en Nederlands, Universiteit Stellenbosch, South Africa

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The literary translator as a cultural mediator

The translation process is an intercultural transfer that does not only take place between two languages, but between two cultures, as the source and target text are each embedded in a communicative situation in their respective cultures. The literary translator is thus faced with the problem of how to handle the cultural aspects implicit in a source text, and of choosing the most suitable technique to convey these aspects to the target text successfully while keeping in mind the characteristics of the intended readers. The translator can thus be regarded as a cultural mediator who facilitates communication and understanding between people or groups who differ with regard to language and culture.

The various culture-specific words and concepts in Dalene Matthee’s “Fiela se kind” have far-reaching implications for translation. The extent to which the translator – Matthee herself – succeeded in functioning as a cultural mediator in “Fiela’s child” is investigated in this article by means of contrastive analysis. It is argued that a decisive loss of meaning and emotional value occured during the translation process to the detriment of the target text as a literary work. The contention of this article is that Matthee’s way of handling translation problems on a microstructural level brought about macrotextual semantic shifts in the target text, and that she did not succeed in fulfilling her role as a cultural mediator at all the levels of the text.


Cultural Mediator; Intercultural Communication; Dalene Matthee; Translating Problems; Translator


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Crossref Citations

1. The status of intercultural mediation in translation: Is it an absolute licence?
Alireza Akbari, Parviz Ahmadi Darani
Topics in Linguistics  vol: 18  issue: 1  first page: 59  year: 2017  
doi: 10.1515/topling-2017-0005