Translation and Cultural Identity

The importance of translation does not lie solely in transforming word meaning from a language into another; it also includes transforming culture and cultural identity from a country to another. Translation is one of the basic cultural components through which the history of civilizations and cultural traditions can be known. It also enables us to reap the fruits of the present. The importance of translation varies from a state to another and from a culture to another, depending on how open it is to the world.


Cultural components are divided into material and non-material components that complement one another to form the cultural identity of any nation. The material components are anything that can be touched and seen, including arts, handicrafts, jewelries, traditional costumes, and anything that can be used in everyday life. The non-material components are everything that is based on creativity, including literature, philosophy, beliefs, customs and traditions, norms and inherited ethical values.


At this point, we can see the role of translation in enriching the interaction between different cultures, through transferring cultural experiences and literal and intellectual creativity from a cultural to another. This is achieved either through direct human interaction, such as travel and immigration from a country to another, or due to geographical proximity and the subsequent political and economic interaction as well as the agreements and conferences that require high-level of translation that supports the cultural identity. We should overlook the role of wars and military conflicts that require language exchange to reach a point of understanding and knowledge of what the enemy is up to. Translation can even contribute to achieving significant victories.

In a nutshell, translation inevitably enriches the cultural identity. The more we see a language being translated, the more it indicates it cultural openness to the world. Therefore, translation is a positive factor in building cultural identity.

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