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Translating Politeness Across Englishes

The Princess and the Pea


Rehana Mubarak-Aberer

Due to the increasing lingua-cultural heterogeneity of today’s users of English, it has become necessary to examine politeness, translation and transcultural communication from a different perspective. This book proposes a concept for a transdisciplinary methodology to shed some light onto the opaque relationship between the lingua-cultural biographies of users of English and their patterns of perceiving and realizing politeness in speech acts. The methodology incorporates aspects of CAT tools and business intelligence systems, and is designed for long-term research that can serve as a foundation for theoretical studies or practical contexts, such as customer relationship management and marketing.

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Epilogue: Happily ever after? The future of the princess and the pea


Looking beneath the bedding of a certain number of potential princesses within a restricted amount of time can only provide a snapshot of different perceptions of the pea. Similarly, the empirical research presented in this book showed some trends for a small number of lingua-cultural focus groups. But in order to help everyday and professional translators we need an approach that goes beyond and helps them ask the “right” questions in the translation process. But how do translators know which questions to ask? In order to ask questions, it is necessary to have a certain basis of implicit and explicit knowledge about how politeness is conceptualized, expressed and perceived across different cultures. Considering the large number of potential cultures that translators might be confronted with, particularly when English is involved in the communication process, it can be challenging for translators to acquire this knowledge. House, as stated above, suggests the application of a cultural filter in covert translation that is based on empirical work206. What might constitute a possible cultural filter for realizing and perceiving politeness in different cultures, how could these manifestations and perception be detected in the use of English, and how could empirical work support the building of a cultural filter?

Figure 12: Towards the future of the pea and politeness

Source: Author←95 | 96→ ←96 | 97→

206 House, 1998, p. 66.

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