According to Eugene Nida’s theory of Dynamic Equivalence, the most important aim for translators should be to achieve equivalence in effect between original and translated text. Equivalent effect is achieved when a translated text creates the same associations and feelings in the minds of its readers as was produced in the minds of the readers of the original text.
Venuti argues that equivalent effect can only be achieved using what he refers to as ethnocentric domesticating strategies – placing the text in the cultural context of the target audience. He claims that a foreignizing strategy – placing the reader in the cultural context of the original text – is more appropriate. Consequently, equivalent effect is, in his view, a poor guiding principle for translation.
In this thesis, I challenge Venuti’s view that only domesticating strategies can achieve equivalent effect in translation. Using a response-oriented method, I measure the associations to African American Vernacular English (AAVE) produced in the minds of respondents from the source audience. Then, I compare these associations with the associations produced in the minds of readers of two translations of AAVE – one using a domesticating strategy to translate AAVE, and one using a moderate foreignizing strategy. In contrast to Venuti’s assertions, I find that the moderate foreignizing strategy produces associations in the minds of the target readers that are more in accordance with the associations produced in the minds of the source readers than the domesticating strategy.