This article addresses the question of the extent to which today translations from minor cultures can affect the recognisability of this culture in the eyes of the rest of the world and whether translations can serve as a tool of cultural self-assertion. The auricle is based on the assumption that translations of literature from minor cultures have a much smaller impact on the image of a culture than we would like to admit. The paper discusses some of the reasons, such as a general decline in reading habits, the self-interest of the initiator and the mode of translation. Translations of Latvian literature (and most probably other minor cultures) mostly start not with a need on the target pole but with a wish to become known generated on the source pole. Translations enhance source culture without much of a concern for acceptability. As the source pole initiates and pays for translation, that is, it controls the process, there is no danger of assimilation but, on the down side, the distribution and resonance are limited.
This article focuses on three major factors that may enhance the degree of hybridity of target texts: first, the ideological background, i.e., the prestige accorded to the source culture in relation to the target culture; second, translator's competence, i.e., the translator's ability to rationalise translation process and choose an adequate translation strategy; third, the skopos of translation, i.e., hybrid features may be deliberately imposed upon the translation to enable the text to serve a given function. Each of these factors is analysed within a framework of a concrete text. The conclusion of this analysis is that due to the functionalist approach, the concept of translation has become diffused and refers to texts whose relation with the original ranges from a faithful copy to free rewrites. Therefore there may be target texts which bear no obvious imprint of the source text. However, all translations by and large are transfers of one text into another language/culture system and therefore qualify as hybrids.