Publication details [#7311]

Lesch, Harold M. 2004. Societal factors and translation practice. Perspectives 12 (4) : 256–269.


The article discusses problems in rendering source-texts in multilingual and multicultural societies, such as those in South Africa, in which there are heterogeneous target audiences for a translation. It is demonstrated that translators in such societies must consider the heterogeneity of the target audiences, or otherwise translation will be only symbolic gestures, empty of value, and not communicate the message. Using an authentic example of an English source text concerning the act of governance of schools in South Africa, the author demonstrates how Afrikaans translators, by means of adaptation, and most of all ‘plain language’ as defined and used by the target audiences, do make a juridical source text understandable to various audiences to whom the message is communicated in Afrikaans. It is argued that such a functional approach ensures that translations are meaningful acts and it may serve as a paradigm for other multicultural and multilingual countries and institutions.
Source : Based on abstract in journal