The Theory of Individualism and collectivism in the Translation of Address Terms
In 1980, Hofstede made his original study on cultural dimension of individualism and collectivism. Since then, many researchers have focused their attention on this field. Individualism versus collectivism has been established “as one of the basic pattern variables that determine human action” and “Individualistic and collectivistic value tendencies are manifested in everyday family, school, and workplace interaction” (Samovar, Porter and McDaniel, 2010).
Since culture and translation enjoys a close relationship, individualism versus collectivism, as one of the theory in cross-cultural ...view middle of the document...
Collectivism as its opposite pertains to societies in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, which throughout people’s lifetime continue to protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty.” (Hofstede, 1991)
2.2 The Characteristics of Individualist and Collectivism
Individualistic cultures emphasize personal rights and responsibilities, privacy, voicing one’s own opinion, freedom, innovation and self expression. In individualist societies, everyone grows up to look after himself or herself and his or her immediate (nuclear) family only; Children learn to think in terms of “I”; Identity is based in the individual; Personal goals prevails over group goals; Everyone has a right to privacy; Individual freedom prevails over equality; Speaking one’s mind is a characteristic of an honest person; People tend to make low-context communication.
In contrast, collectivistic cultures emphasize community, collaboration, shared interest, harmony, tradition, the public good, and maintaining face (Anderson, et al, 2003). In the collectivist society, people are born into extended families or other in-groups which continue to protect them in exchange of loyalty; Children learn to think in terms of “we”; Identity is based in the social network to which one belongs; Group goals prevails over personal goals; Private life is invaded by groups; Equality prevails over individual freedom; People tend to make high-context communication;
2.3 A Comparison of Chinese Collectivism and Western Individualism.
The formation of Chinese value system is deeply influenced by its traditional social political structure and culture. The political structure of ancient Chinese society was a patriarchal society based on the kinship. In such a society, individuals were surrounded by a group of people, as a result, they took the responsibility and obligation for the group as priority, and weaken their individual consciousness. Traditional Chinese culture also emphasizes collective consciousness, which can be shown in proverbs such as “大公无私” and “舍己为公” — all means “to sacrifice one’s own interests for the collective”. All these traditional factors contribute to the formation of collective consciousness in China.
In contrast, the formation of western cultures is largely shaped by the influence of Christianity. According to a core doctrine of Christianity, everyone has supreme intrinsic value and dignity and everyone is the son of God, therefore, everyone has the right to pursuit equality and independence. In a society like this, a person is not only an independent organism, but also a life with unique mentality and an individual member of the society. Consequently, individualism takes the priority in western cultures.
3. The Performance of Individualism and Collectivism in the Chinese-English Translation of Address terms
Since the paper is going to discuss the translation of address terms under the guidance of cultural dimension of...