Cultural turn has had a remarkable influence on
contemporary translation studies, in which the translator’s interference and cultural politics are given special attention. In the process, literal translation has been ignored in discussions
concerning cultural translation, for it emphasizes the traits of the source language and avoids the translator’s subjective interpretation and manipulation in the process of translation. If, ever since German Romanticism, literal translation has been
concerned about the “cultural other,” which is also the main concern of cultural translation, it seems that silencing literal translation should be criticized and righted. This paper suggests understanding literal translation in terms of image, which is different from the approach of German Romanticism.
Translation can never be completely divorced from culture, and hence contemporary translation studies should not ignore the enormous effect of images on culture. This paper’s theoretical framework is therefore founded upon the connection between
image and literal translation. The connection between translation and image is commonly understood in terms of intersemiotic translation, but I take Rey Chow’s and Deleuze’s notion of “surface” as a key to relate image to literal translation in order to manifest its im-mediacy. This immediacy reveals the politics of seeing, and, on the other hand, the disjunctive sense in literal translation makes its effects visible and audible, which immediately enable the factuality to touch the eyes without the intervention of psychological adjustment and rational interpretation.