The task of the anthropologist is to take ideas, concepts and beliefs from one culture and translate them into first another language, and then into the language of anthropology. This process is both fascinating and complex. Not only does it raise questions about the limitations of language, but it also challenges the ability of the anthropologist to communicate culture accurately. In recent years, postmodern theories have tended to call into question the legitimacy of translation altogether. This book acknowledges the problems involved, but shows definitively that ‘translating cultures' can successfully be achieved. The way we talk, write, read and interpret are all part of a translation process. Many of us are not aware of translation in our everyday lives, but for those living outside their native culture, surrounded by cultural difference, the ability to translate experiences and thoughts becomes a major issue. Drawing on case studies and theories from a wide range of disciplines -including anthropology, philosophy, linguistics, art history, folk theory, and religious studies - this book systematically interrogates the meaning, complexities and importance of translation in anthropology and answers a wide range of provocative questions, such as: - Can we unravel the true meaning of the Christian doctrine of trinity when there have been so many translations? - What impact do colonial and postcolonial power structures have on our understanding of other cultures? - How can we use art as a means of transgressing the limitations of linguistic translation? Translating Cultures: Perspectives on Translation and Anthropology is the first book fully to address translation in anthropology. It combines textual and ethnographic analysis to produce a benchmark publication that will be of great importance to anthropologists, philosophers, linguists, historians, and cultural theorists alike.
Table of Contents
ContentsAcknowledgmentsviiNotes on ContributorsixIntroduction: Translation and AnthropologyPaula G. Rubel and Abraham Rosman1Part I: General Problems of Translation1Lyotard and Wittengenstein and the Question of TranslationAram A. Yengoyan252Translation and Belief Ascription: Fundamental BarriersTodd Jones453Translation, Transduction, Transformation: Skating "Glossando" on Thin Semiotic IceMichael Silverstein75Part II Specific Applications4The Unspeakable in pursuit of the Ineffable: Representations ofUntranslatability in Ethnographic DiscourseMichael Herzfeld1095Translating Folk Theories of TranslationDeborah Kapchan1356Second Language, National Language, Modern Language and Post-Colonial Dilemmas of VoiceWebb Keane1537Notes on TransliterationBrinkley Messick177 8The Ethnographer as PontifexBenson Saler197 9Text Translation as Prelude for Soul TranslationAlan F. Segal21310Structural Impediments to Translation in ArtWyatt MacGaffey24911Are Kinship Terminologies and Kinship Concepts Translatable?Abraham Rosman and Paula G. Rubel269Index285
Paula G. Rubel Professor Emerita of Anthropology,Barnard College, Columbia University and Research Associate, American Museum of Natural History Abraham Rosman Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Barnard College, Columbia University and Research Associate,American Museum of Natural History