Culture Default and Principles of Translation Compensation in Literary Translation — a Case Study of Book III of Ashoka the Great

Journal: Journal of Higher Education Research DOI: 10.32629/jher.v1i2.148

Cheng Zhen

School of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Lanzhou University


As a historical novel about the Peacock Dynasty in India, Ashoka the Great, to some extent, reflects the ancient Indian culture, so it is of great translation value for cultural exchange. When translating the third volume of Ashoka the Great, the author found a large number of expressions with Indian characteristics hindering readers' understanding of the TT. Both sides of the communication have the same background knowledge, so they can omit the elements which are self-evident to both sides. The omitted part can be called cultural default. Therefore, the strategies of translation compensation should be adopted to solve the problem of understanding caused by cultural default in order to promote communication between different cultures successfully. After summarizing the principles of translation compensation based on previous studies, the author analyzes the parts of culture default in this novel and uses five principles of translation compensation: literal translation with a footnote, paraphrasing, amplification, domestication and foreignization. The present author hopes this paper can provide effective reference for the translation of Ashoka the Great.


Book III of Ashoka the Great, cultural default, principles of translation compensation


[1] Wytze Keuning. Ashoka the Great. Translated by J. E. Steur. New Delhi: Rupa Publications India Pvt. Ltd.; 2010.
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[3] Nida E. A. Language and Culture Contexts in Translating. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press; 2001.
[4] Wang Dongfeng. Cultural Default and Reconstruction of Textual Coherence. Journal of Foreign Languages.1997; (6):56-61.
[5] Wang Dalai. One of Principles of Compensation for Cultural Default in Literary Translation. Journal of Wenzhou University. 2004; (4):30-35.
[6] Venuti, Lawrence. The Translator’s Invisibility: a History of Translation. London: Routlege; 1995.

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