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Translating Culture in Bilingual Dictionaries

Ernst Kotze


In addition to the act of translation, transculturalisation and strategies of textuality come into playas interacting factors in the compilation of interlingual dictionaries. In this article, some conclusions resulting from a comparative survey of some South African dictionaries are drawn, specifically with regard to bi- and trilingual dictionaries in which Afrikaans, English, Japanese, Xhosa and Zulu combine as macrostructural components. After relating the act of translating in the various dictionaries to equivalence-based and descriptive theories of translation, the phenomenon of cultural transposition between lemma and translation equivalent is investigated. Starting with a brief characterisation of the dictionaries, the different perspectives and cultural biases vis-A-vis the "other" culture as reflected in the selection of lemmas and editorial examples are highlighted. In situating each instance of lexicographical contact, certain text linguistic principles are considered and applied to dictionary articles as units of discourse.

Keywords: Acceptability, afrikaans, associative meanings, cultural Studies, english, informativity, intentionality, interlingual dictionaries, Japanese, labelling, lexicography, macrostructural selection, offensive Items, ostensive addressing, principles of textuality, text linguistics, Translation, xhosa, zulu
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