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Words from Well-known Translators

      The point is rather to develop a theory and practice of translation that resists dominant target-language cultural values so as to signify the linguistic and cultural difference of the foreign text.
--Lawrence Venuti(Selected Readings of Contemporary Western Translation Theories, 1995)

       Lawrence Venuti (1953- ) is a distinguished American translation scholar, currently working as a professor of English at Temple University. He is the author of The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation (1995; 2008) and The Scandals of Translation: Towards an Ethics of Difference (1998).
      In his influential work The Translator’s Invisibility, Venuti reveals that the translator’s situation and activity are “invisible” in contemporary Anglo-American culture. In his view, two factors contribute to this invisibility: firstly, translators’ tendency towards fluent translation into English in order to produce an idiomatic and readable translated text, which creates an illusion of transparency; secondly, the way translations received and evaluated by readers and reviewers in the target culture. Venuti criticizes the reading public and the critic for promoting such values as easy readability and transparency of the translated text within the framework of cultural studies. He draws a conclusion that “an entire translation tradition has evolved in the west to serve imperialistic goals abroad and xenophobic values at home” (Hatim 2005:45). Hence, domesticating method adopted as the dominating translation strategy in Anglo-American translation culture is heavily criticized by Venuti for the erasure of cultural differences of foreign texts. Instead, he advocates foreignizing translation method, to “make the translator more visible so as to resist and change the conditions under which translation is theorized and practiced today, especially in English-speaking countries” (1995:17).
      In his 1995 book, Venuti has illustrated his foreignizing translation strategy with his own translation of Tarchetti’s works. For Venuti, his deliberate choice of translating a minor foreign writer into English is a foreignizing method. Furthermore, he adopts a non-fluent strategy in translating. For instance, by adhering closely to the ST structure and syntax and by juxtaposing both archaisms and modern colloquialism, he deliberately retains some foreignizing elements in his translation with a view to making the translator “visible” and forcing the readers to realize they are reading a translation of a work from a foreign culture (1995:13-20).