Discussion on Influence of Orientalism and Cultural Imperialism on Cultural Translation.

You will prepare and submit a term paper on Influence of Orientalism and Cultural Imperialism on Cultural Translation. Your paper should be a minimum of 3000 words in length. On the other hand, some media portray the wrong or biased translation of certain cultures based on the concepts of cultural imperialism and Orientalism (Chinnammai, 2005:152). This paper seeks to assess the influence of cultural imperialism and Orientalism on cultural translation based on Egyptian Arabic-Islamic cultural translation. The paper further analyzes the contents of Sofia Coppola’s film “Lost in Translation” on grounds of cultural imperialism and Orientalism.

Orientalism and cultural imperialism emerged into the academic world in the late 1970s by Edward Said’s book on Imperialism. According to Said, an unrecognized and unexamined western elites and scholars’ prejudice towards cultures in the Asian and Middle East as a whole, or generally termed as ‘The Orient’, was present. According to the author, orientalism represented the distribution of geopolitical awareness into scholarly, philosophical, economic, historical, and aesthetic texts that highlighted a distinct difference between the occident (the Middle East and Asian) and the orient (Western scholars and elites). In his text, Said was accusing both the western culture and western scholars of reductionism, arguing that the United States perceives Arabs and Muslims as either potential terrorists or oil suppliers (Pym, 2003). The text further argues that Western societies have very little awareness of the passion of Arabs and Muslims. What is present rather, according to Said, is a series of crude misrepresentations of the Islamic world, which essentially makes the world vulnerable to military aggression. Despite the varied critique of his work, Orientalism became a significant theory, particularly in the media industry.

On the other hand, cultural imperialism has various definitions, but the basic description states that it is the imposition of foreign civilization or viewpoint on a particular people or their culture. Consider the postcolonial Egyptian intellectual subjectivity for instance, with reference to Abdelfattah Kilito, a Moroccan literary theorist. Drawing upon his book ‘Thou Shall Not Speak my Language’, the author starts with an interesting digression on the psychological underbelly of translation in the modern and medieval Arab worlds.

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