Cultural and Linguistic Challenges in Translating Folk Songs

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Salama, Rima’a
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جامعة النجاح الوطنية
This thesis investigates the translators’ tendency towards domesticating or foreignizing folk songs, and it discusses the problem of the translation of culture-specific terms through analyzing the translated folk songs: “From ʕakka Prison,” “Ẓariif Aṭ-ṭuul,” and “Layya w Layya.” Moreover, the linguistic aspects of the folkloric genre in general, and folk songs, in particular, are analyzed. The study also sheds light on the translation of the poetic features, sound devices, and figurative language in the selected folk songs. First of all, all culture-specific terms are identified and classified based on Baker’s (1992) classification of cultural categories. Secondly, cultural terms are examined to identify which one of Newmark’s (1988) strategies is applied in the translation of each term. Thirdly, the number of occurrences for each strategy is calculated and grouped under Venuti’s (1995) model of domestication and foreignization. Finally, the percentage of domestication strategies, compared to those of foreignization, is calculated. The results of this study revealed that translators tend to foreignize more than to domesticate culture-specific items in the translation of the three folk songs under study. Furthermore, translators translate culturally more than linguistically, so they sacrifice the form for the benefit of the content, and this causes a second genre shift. The translation of the three folk songs transmit a cultural idea, not a folklore of a nation