Adaptation, the Paramount Communication Strategy

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In Translation Studies as well as in any other discipline dealing with human communication, we can assume without any doubts that adaptation is the most efficient communicational strategy. Although it is a tactical tool used to solve isolated communicational problems or conflicts, it is far and foremost a strategy with a long term general purpose closely related to a communicational and even a lifelong project.

This paper will examine the implications of adaption as tactical and strategic ways of solving cultural dissimilarities from the translation studies perspective. Such reflection will be illustrated with examples taken from the so-called field of pragmatic translation activity but also from translation history. Particularly, we will look at what was at stake when Spanish missionaries translated religious texts while serving their purpose of evangelization. This will lead us to envisage the product of such adaptations as syncretism, métissage or hybridity. Those different concepts, while not contradictory, have distinct ideological and political implications when it comes to the interpretation of colonial history.

This paper will also deal with the concepts of intertextuality and intermediality as ideal environments for adaptation. We will show that adaptation in translation studies is at the crossroads of various disciplines that it can enrich.

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