Translations of the American Anthem

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In a world of muti-culturalism, where we declare ourselves to be living in a global village, the issue of translating a national anthem is not only politically sensitive but problematic. This is so, simply because the act of translation is always seen as a transgression of the natural order of nationalism and belonging.


In the translation of the anthem in 1919, prepared by Francis Haffkine Snow for the U.S. Bureau of Education, he makes a conscious effort to go beyond the confines of narrower linguistic theories to put linguistics into the framework of communication. His translation addresses the matter of text interpretation based not just on the words of the text but on the intent of the author, the relationship of the author to the intended audience, the culture and world view of the author and the original audience and also of the receptor's audience. His translation is receptor oriented. Thus, his translation of the National Anthem of America is based on the wider context of the communication situation.
We find that the issue of sporadic rhythm in the translated text is not anomalies but a case of contextualism where the changes of rhythm take place normally in the linguistic texture of the translated text.
One of the problems in translating a text such as a national anthem lies in the national sentiments associated with it. ...
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