The Translator as Cross-Cultural Mediator

Susan Bassnett

in The Oxford Handbook of Translation Studies

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199239306
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

The Translator as Cross-Cultural Mediator

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  • Linguistics
  • Translation and Interpretation
  • Sociolinguistics



Interest in translation has grown owing to global changes. Translation, nowadays, signifies interchange between cultures. Translation is a communicative activity that involves the transfer of information across linguistic boundaries. Translation has a sociocultural context. Alongside the advent of the term ‘cultural mediation’, the term ‘cultural translation’ has also come into being, generally used to refer to transactions that do not explicitly involve linguistic exchange. The development of translation studies as an independent field has not been a linear process, and today there are a number of approaches to the study of translation and the training of translators. The two most significant lines of development have been descriptive translation studies and Skopos theory respectively. The functional approach of Skopos theorists has been useful, and there are huge developments in machine translation, but the task of mediation between cultures, involving negotiating understanding between global and local systems, still requires human agency.

Keywords: interchange; linguistic boundaries; cultural translation; descriptive translator studies; Skopos theory; mediation

Article.  6211 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Translation and Interpretation ; Sociolinguistics

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