Translational Japanese: A Transformative Strangeness Within
Tymoczko (2003: 201) argues that translators are not positioned in a ‘space between’—which would imply a lack of ideological engagement—but are inevitably committed to a particular cultural framework. Likewise, hon’yakuch? is not a neutral space between, but a site of engagement within the language proper. It would be inappropriate to describe translational Japanese as ‘foreignizing’ in the sense used by Venuti (1995), since it is not primarily motivated by a desire to disrupt readers’ complacency. Rather than constituting a locus of difference and respect for Otherness, hon’yakuch? represents a certain homogeneity in and of itself that does, nevertheless, help mediate between the foreign and the domestic.
Recently Japan’s growing cultural confidence has coincided with a shift toward domestication in translation, resulting in fewer opportunities to reorient the language through hon’yakuch?. Although it has become the target of some criticism and no longer strikes readers as fresh, it still has supporters and practitioners and continues to challenge the common Western conception of translationese as undesirable.
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