Effect of Cultural Distance on Translation of Culture-Bound Texts

Vahid Rafieyan


Sociolinguistic and sociocultural features of the source language can be ideally transferred to the target language when the translator’s cultural background knowledge has a high overlap with the source language culture. This signifies the crucial role of national cultural distance from the source language society in the quality of translation of culture-bound texts. To investigate the actual effect of national cultural distance on the quality of translation of culture-bound texts, the current study was conducted on two groups of participants including 38 German undergraduate students of English translation perceived culturally close to Britons (considered as the target language society) and 32 South Korean undergraduate students of English translation perceived culturally distant from Britons. Data were collected through a culture-bound text consisting of some news excerpts from The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) used as the translation quality assessment instrument. The analysis of independent-samples t-test revealed the significant positive effect of national cultural distance on the quality of translation of culture-bound texts. The pedagogical implications of the findings suggested incorporation of cultural features of the source language society into every translation course.

Keywords: Culture-Bound Texts, National Cultural Distance, Translation Quality

Full Text:



Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Elyildirim, S. (2008). The Importance of Cultural Knowledge in Translation: A Partial Replication of Olk (2003). Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi, 17, 131-144.

Fraenkel, J. R., Wallen, N. E., & Hyun, H. H. (2012). How to Design and Evaluate Research in Education (8th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Galchenko, I., & Van de Vijver, F. J. R. (2007). The Role of Perceived Cultural Distance in the Acculturation of Exchange Students in Russia. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 31(2), 181-197. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2006.03.004

Gravetter, F. J., & Wallnau, L. B. (2013). Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences (9th ed.). Belmont, C A: Wadsworth Publishing.

Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions and Organizations across Nations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

House, J. (1977). A Model for Translation Quality Assessment. Tubingen: Narr.

House, J. (1997). Translation Quality Assessment: A Model Revisited. Tubingen: Narr.

Landis, J. R., & Koch, G. G. (1977). The Measurement of Observer Agreement for Categorical Data. Biometrics, 33(1), 159-174. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2529310

Nord, C. (2001). Translating as a Purposeful Activity – Functional Approaches Explained. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press.

Pallant, J. (2013). SPSS Survival Manual: A Step by Step Guide to Data Analysis Using SPSS Program (5th ed.). Australia: Allen & Unwin.

Rafieyan, V., Norazman, A. M., & Lin, S. E. (2013a). Relationship between Attitude toward Target Language Culture Instruction and Pragmatic Comprehension Development. English Language Teaching, 6(8), 125-132. http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/elt.v6n8p125

Rafieyan, V., Lin, S. E., & Abdul-Rashid, M. (2013b). Language Learners’ Attitudes towards the Incorporation of Target Language Culture into Foreign Language Instructions. International Journal of Linguistics, 5(4), 169-177. http://dx.doi.org/10.5296/ijl.v5i4.4193

Rafieyan, V., Sharafi-Nejad, M., Khavari, Z., Damavand, A., & Lin, S. E. (2014). Relationship between Cultural Distance and Pragmatic Comprehension. English Language Teaching, 7(2), 103-109. http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/elt.v7n2p103

Rafieyan, V. (2015). Effect of National Cultural Distance as Predictor of Pragmatic Competence on Writing Proficiency. Research on Humanities and Social Sciences, 5(18), 122-129.

Rafieyan, V. (in press a). Effect of ‘Focus on Form’ versus ‘Focus on Forms’ Cultural Instruction on Translation of Culture-Bound Texts.

Rafieyan, V. (in press b). Effect of Telecollaboration on Translation of Culture-Bound Texts. International Journal of Applied Linguistics & English Literature, 5(4), 127-134.

Rafieyan, V. (in press c). Relationship between Cultural Intelligence and Translation of Culture-Bound Texts. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research, 3(3).

Riccardi, A. (2002). Translation and Interpretation. In A. Riccardi (Eds.), Translation Studies: Perspectives on an Emerging Discipline (pp. 75-91). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Saldanha, G., & O’Brien, S. (2014). Research Methodologies in Translation Studies. New Tork, NY: Routledge.

Suanet, I., & Van de Vijver, F. J. R. (2009). Perceived Cultural Distance and Acculturation among Exchange Students in Russia. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 19(3), 182-197. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/casp.989

Toury, G. (1995). Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/btl.4

Thuy, P. T. (2013). House’s Functional-Pragmatic Model of Translation Assessment and Implications for Evaluating English-Vietnamese Translation Quality. VNU Journal of Foreign Studies, 29(1), 56-64.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2013-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies  

You may require to add the 'aiac.org.au' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.