In this thesis, I aim to delineate the issue of whether “culture,” in an artistic sense, is something that can be translated from one language and culture into another. As accuracy of translation is evidently a very important consideration before, during, and after the translation process, address this problem will prove a vital step in issuing the thresholds and limitations that translation holds. As this is not a linguistic thesis or undertaking, I will not be examining examples of language, but rather those of cultural significance and context. Specifically, I will first establish a viewpoint that understanding culture (as a reader) fundamentally necessitates experience in said culture—thus without said experience, one may misinterpret or misunderstand the origin culture. This will be done by examining Alejo Carpentier’s prologue in The Kingdom of This World in which he creates the genre “lo real maravilloso” (“marvelous reality”). This genre will set the standard for experiential requisite for works that are inherently Latin American (cultural). I will then be looking at two examples of Latin American narratives: Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel and the video game Papo & Yo by Vander Caballero. The former will look at magical realism as an alternative form of Carpentier’s genre while the latter will illustrate a modern take on “marvelous reality.” Together, the efficacy of the ways in which they convey culture will assist me to approximate an answer to whether culture can be translated. The results will not elucidate a perfect response, but will guide myself and the viewer to a better understanding of the cultural translational process and possible recourse for this dilemma of cross-cultural translations.
Strohmeyer, William Richard, "Lost in Translation, Found in Culture: An Academic Inquiry on the Efficacy of Translating Culture in Latin American Magic Realist Genres" (2019). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 8680.
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
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