English to Malay Translation of Culture-Specific Items in Selected Penang Tourist Brochures

Shephanie Kuan Khye Ling, Oskarina Dagusti, Mansour Amini, Mohtaram Rabbani


Translation of Culture-Specific Items (CSIs) is one of the challenges translators face in choosing the appropriate strategies and finding solutions to the translation problems. In this descriptive study four tourist brochures that promoted the UNESCO-heritage Penang Island in Malaysia were analysed. The texts were selected purposefully from Malaysian tourist websites. Based on Newmark’s (1988) model, the CSIs were categorised, and the problems in translation process were described after employing Venuti’s domestication and foreignisation strategies for translating the items. Overall, 76 CSIs were identified in the four brochures among which the most frequent items were Material Culture (65%) with the subcategories of House/City (39%), Food (10%), Transport (15%), and Traditional Weapons (1%). Ecology category built up 13% of the whole items where 5% were related to Fauna and Geographical features, 3% to Flora and 5% to Geographical location. CSIs related to the subcategory of Artistic Thing and Craft formed 8% of the total items. The CSIs related to Social Culture consisted of 13%, including Work (11%), Names and Terms of Address (1%), and Kinship (1%). One outstanding problem during the translation process was finding dynamic equivalence for the words or phrases in the target language (Malay). The findings revealed that domestication strategy and formal equivalence is more appropriate for translating the tourist brochures from English to Malay, which may enhance understanding of linguistically accurate and culturally interesting translation.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/sll.v3n1p1


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