The influence of the translator’s linguistic/cultural background on cultural equivalence
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Cultural equivalence in translation is influenced by a variety of linguistic and cultural factors. One factor to be discussed in this paper is the translator’s linguistic and cultural background and its influence on translation product. Translation theorists have conventionally claimed that translators best translate into their language of habitual use. This claim has been examined. To this effect, the translation product of translators who share the same linguistic/cultural background (Arabic) is investigated and compared: once when translators translate into their language of habitual use, and once when translating outside of their language of habitual use to see if this has any effect on cultural equivalence. In a previous publication, the author investigated two types of translators translating Arabic short stories into English: native speakers of Arabic and native speakers of English. The findings supported the claim above and showed that English translators (native speakers of English) translated into English more idiomatically than their Arab counterparts. With literary translation as a focal point, this paper takes the previous research one step further and compares translators who share the same linguistic/cultural background. The comparison is hoped to give insights into the issue of cultural equivalence. Finally, we adopt Pike’s emic-etic approach to cultural translation- the Insider and the Outsider.