Culture in Translation: A Comparative study of the role played by Culture in Literary Translation


  • K. A. Nagodawithana Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka


Human Language is one of the most prominent achievements of man in the course of evolution. These languages are intrinsic, multifaceted as well as extremely capricious. Yet, it is also crucial to identify that comprehension of the language of a certain community is the right way, if not the only way towards understanding the culture of the respective community. Culture encompasses a gamut of attributes varying from the assortment of dishes catering to our rich palate to styles of communication and translation which is the process of reproducing the receptor language the nearest natural equivalent of the source language, aids in transcending the language barriers existing amidst communities and universalising cultures. This study examines the role played by culture in the process of translation with special reference to Martin Wickramasinghe’s Madol Doova and its’ English Translation by Ashley Halpe. By means of secondary sources and a highly qualitative approach, which predominantly comprised content analysis of the afore mentioned literature, the study explores the cultural concepts inherent to Sri Lanka and the methods employed by the translator to transfer the notions behind them without any distortion to the source text as well as their purpose, efficacy and success. The findings suggest that there is an undeniable, rather an influential role portrayed by culture in creative fiction, and that it could be successfully transcended upon the depth of understanding the translator has on both source and target cultures, the techniques he or she employs as well as the creative use of language.