Publication details [#682]

Sturge, Kate. 1997. Translation strategies in ethnography. The Translator 3 (1) : 21–38.
Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language


Ethnography in English depends on translations of the words of the people it studies. Yet in new writing on the subject there is a lack of attention to concrete translation strategies, and this weakens ethnography's critique of representation. This study explores specifically translation-related aspects of some recent ethnographies, focusing on the way different translation strategies are implicated in the construction of the unequal relationships between source-and target-language cultures. The use of normalizing translation strategies makes claims to universality and works to 'domesticate' the source language. Estranging strategies have traditionally written the source-language world as dangerously alien but can also offer more subversive versions; postmodern ethnography's reflexive mode of translation tries to undermine the authority of both ethnographer and translated text. A study of some representative texts suggests that in ethnography the mode of translation is closely bound up with the power relations between the cultures involved.
Source : Abstract in journal