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Table of contents :
Translation andCross-Cultural Communication Studies inthe Asia Pacific......Page 3
Translation Today and Translation Research: A World Story......Page 13
The Shifting Distance of Translation......Page 31
Chinese-English Translation: Opportunities and Challenges in the Era of Globalisation......Page 47
Strategies of Cultural Translation: A Contrastive Analysis of the Two English Versions of Hong Lou Meng......Page 57
Translation for Performance: Oscar Wilde in China......Page 73
Research on Reproduction of the Musicality in the Translation of Shengshengman......Page 89
Technological Interventions in Literary Meaning: A Case of Machine Translation......Page 101
Translating Motion Events from English into Chinese: An Examination of Literary Works......Page 115
Fishing for the Moon in the Water: Practical Challenges for a Translator in the Contact Zone......Page 133
How is a Pseudo-Translation Manipulated? A Critical Look at the Production of Carl Weter’s Educational Law......Page 153
A Study of Chinese Translation of Academic Works in English: A Panorama in China......Page 167
Translation of Chinese Neologisms in the Cyber Age......Page 189
A Study on the Translation Strategies in Korean-English Children’s Literature: From the Domesticated and Foreignised Perspective......Page 205
A Study of Translating Extra-Textual Expressions from a Non-English Language into English: A Case of Contemporary Japanese Computer-Mediated Communication......Page 227
The Impact of Glocalisation on Website Translation......Page 239
Norms of Target-Language Communication in Interpreting: A Descriptive Study Based on the Corpus of CEIPPC......Page 261
Decision-Making at Different Stages of Development in Simultaneous Interpretation: Diction, Technique and Strategy......Page 279
Coherence Establishment in Dialogue Interpreting......Page 301
Use of Consultation Material in NAATI Translation Accreditation Examinations: A Think-Aloud Protocol Analysis......Page 317
Training Ethical Translators and Interpreters......Page 337
Moving from the Language Lab to the Interpreting Booth: Student Perceptions......Page 351
The Translation Industry in Taiwan in the Context of Globalisation: Facing the Development of Professional Translation and Master of Translation and Interpreting......Page 369
Bourdieu’s Capital and Latour’s Actor-Network Theory as Conceptual Tools in Translation Research......Page 389
Section Six — Cross-Cultural Communication......Page 406
Glocalising Voice and Style of Cosmopolitan in China......Page 407
A Window to Chinese Art: Translating Concepts and Culture in Auspicious Chinese Painting......Page 421
A Sociopragmatic Analysis of Email Requests in Mandarin Chinese and Australian English......Page 436
Language Medium and Self-Perceived Identity: A Case Study on Canadian Chinese-English Bilinguals......Page 459
Conceptualisation of Up and Down in Chinese and English: A Pilot Study......Page 468
Translation and Cross-Cultural Communication Studies in the Asia Pacific
Approaches to Translation Studies Founded by James S. Holmes Edited by Henri Bloemen Cees Koster Ton Naaijkens
The titles published in this series are listed at brill.com/atts
Translation and Cross-Cultural Communication Studies in the Asia Pacific Edited by
Leong Ko Ping Chen
leiden | boston
Library of Congress Control Number: 2015941192
ISSN 0169-0523 isbn 978-90-04-29923-8 (hardback) isbn 978-90-04-29924- 5 (e-book) Copyright 2015 by Koninklijke Brill nv, Leiden, The Netherlands. Koninklijke Brill nv incorporates the imprints Brill, Brill Hes & De Graaf, Brill Nijhoff, Brill Rodopi and Hotei Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use is granted by Koninklijke Brill nv provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to The Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910, Danvers, ma 01923, usa. Fees are subject to change. This book is printed on acid-free paper.
Table of Contents Preface ............................................................................................................ 9 Section One — Translation Research Overview ........................................ 9 Translation Today and Translation Research: A World Story José Lambert ................................................................................................... 9 The Shifting Distance of Translation Yifeng Sun ..................................................................................................... 31 Chinese-English Translation: Opportunities and Challenges in the Era of Globalisation Youyi Huang ................................................................................................. 47 Section Two — Literary Translation ........................................................ 57 Strategies of Cultural Translation: A Contrastive Analysis of the Two English Versions of Hong Lou Meng Biao Zuo........................................................................................................ 57 Translation for Performance: Oscar Wilde in China Linyuan Wang ............................................................................................... 71 Research on Reproduction of the Musicality in the Translation of Shengshengman Lixin Wang & Zhaodi Zhang ........................................................................ 89 Technological Interventions in Literary Meaning: A Case of Machine Translation Tong King Lee ............................................................................................. 101 Translating Motion Events from English into Chinese: An Examination of Literary Works Vincent X. Wang.......................................................................................... 115 Fishing for the Moon in the Water: Practical Challenges for a Translator in the Contact Zone Yauling Hsieh .............................................................................................. 133
Section Three — Translation for Special Purposes ............................... 153 How Is a Pseudo-Translation Manipulated? A Critical Look at the Production of Carl Weter’s Educational Law Daozhen Zhang ........................................................................................... 153 A Study of Chinese Translation of Academic Works in English: A Panorama in China Keyong He & Yuanyuan Chen .................................................................... 167 Translation of Chinese Neologisms in the Cyber Age Richard Yu .................................................................................................. 189 A Study on the Translation Strategies in Korean-English Children’s Literature: From the Domesticated and Foreignised Perspective Kwon Inkyoung ........................................................................................... 205 A Study of Translating Extra-Textual Expressions from a Non-English Language into English: A Case of Contemporary Japanese ComputerMediated Communication Noboru Sakai .............................................................................................. 227 The Impact of Glocalisation on Website Translation Ying-Ting Chuang & Yi-Ting Lee ............................................................... 239 Section Four — Interpreting .................................................................... 261 Norms of Target-Language Communication in Interpreting: A Descriptive Study Based on the Corpus of CEIPPC Binhua Wang............................................................................................... 261 Decision-Making at Different Stages of Development in Simultaneous Interpretation: Diction, Technique and Strategy Cheng-shu Yang & Alan Chiu ..................................................................... 279 Coherence Establishment in Dialogue Interpreting Lihua Jiang ................................................................................................. 305
Section Five — Translation and Interpreting Training and Industry...................................................................................................... 317 Use of Consultation Material in NAATI Translation Accreditation Examinations: A Think-Aloud Protocol Analysis Carl Gene Fordham .................................................................................... 317 Training Ethical Translators and Interpreters Leong Ko ..................................................................................................... 337 Moving from the Language Lab to the Interpreting Booth: Student Perceptions Lily Lim ....................................................................................................... 351 The Translation Industry in Taiwan in the Context of Globalisation: Facing the Development of Professional Translation and Master of Translation and Interpreting Oscar Chun-hung Lin ................................................................................. 369 Bourdieu’s Capital and Latour’s Actor-Network Theory as Conceptual Tools in Translation Research Szu-Wen Kung ............................................................................................. 389 Section Six — Cross-Cultural Communication ...................................... 407 Glocalising Voice and Style of Cosmopolitan in China Doreen D. Wu & Agatha Man-kwan Chung ............................................... 407 A Window to Chinese Art: Translating Concepts and Culture in Auspicious Chinese Painting Maria Cheng & Eric Choy .......................................................................... 421 A Sociopragmatic Analysis of Email Requests in Mandarin Chinese and Australian English Wei Li .......................................................................................................... 437 Language Medium and Self-Perceived Identity: A Case Study on Canadian Chinese-English Bilinguals Wenying Jiang............................................................................................. 459 Conceptualisation of Up and Down in Chinese and English: A Pilot Study Haiyan Liang .............................................................................................. 469
Preface Translation: East and West This book is a collection of papers selected from presentations at the International Conference on Translation and Cross-Cultural Communication convened on December 1-2, 2011, at The University of Queensland, Australia. Approximately 150 participants from 23 countries and regions, mostly from China and Australia, attended the conference and presented 105 papers. Of the world’s major Western countries, Australia is geographically closest to Asia. It is also a nation composed overwhelmingly of migrants, predominantly from the UK and Ireland in the formative years from the second half of the eighteenth century, then later on also from other parts of the world. Asia, particularly Chinese speaking regions such as mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, has since the end of the twentieth century become a main source of migrants to Australia, with Mandarin Chinese becoming the most commonly used household language behind English as per the 2013 census. The Conference provided opportunities for translation researchers, educators and professionals from two major historical and cultural traditions of the East and West to meet in a multi-ethnic, multicultural and multi-lingual Australian setting where the East and West have already been in close contact for centuries. Translation played an instrumental role in the germination and development of Western civilisation as we know it today. It was through the translation of the Bible from Old Hebrew into Greek and Latin, then later into various European languages that a foundation was laid for Christianity to constitute the core of social values and behavioural norms in the West. However, translation has played little if any role in the emergence and consolidation of traditional Chinese thoughts at its early stage. The various schools of thoughts and their exponents during the period from prior to the Qing Dynasty to the early years of the Han Dynasty, which had by and large defined the moral, cultural, and political values and norms of traditional Chinese society until the late nineteenth century, were almost all products of indigenous origin. There have been two periods in Chinese history where comprehensive systems of novel ideas and thoughts were introduced into China via translated works on a macro-scale exerting significant impact on Chinese society. The first started from the late Han Dynasty and extended to the Dynasty when Buddhist canons were translated into Chinese reaching almost all sectors of China from imperial courts down to peasants in poverty stricken areas. This made Buddhism one of the most influential religions in
Leong Ko & Ping Chen
China over more than one millennium. At the same time a large number of expressions from the Buddhist writings were introduced and integrated into Chinese language. The second period started from the middle of the nineteenth century and has continued into the present day, concomitant with the modernisation of China after the pattern of Western industrial nations. Translation again has played an instrumental role in this process, introducing tens of thousands of new words from Western languages into Chinese, and a large number of them through Japanese in the period’s early stages. It is noted in Chen (1999: 85-6) that in comparison with pre-1840, more than half of the commonly used expressions in Modern Chinese have originated from foreign languages. Extensive popularity of translated works, many of which feature a style known as translationese, has Europeanised Chinese vocabulary and grammar of writings of certain genres to an extent that what are regarded as well written articles in newspapers and articles “can be translated word for word into Russian or English without major alterations in structure” (Wang 1980: 31). Underlying the large number of new expressions introduced into the Chinese language via translated works are novel concepts and ideas initiated into Chinese society, whose impact on Chinese society cannot be overestimated. From this perspective, translation has served, and continues to serve, as a most important agent in the modernisation of China since the second half of the nineteenth century. The past decades have also witnessed an increasing amount of activities in translating from Chinese into other languages, which has furthered the integration of China into an increasingly globalising world. The two-way interaction between China and the West through translation is also one of the recurring themes in quite a few of the papers included in this collection. This book consists of six Sections and twenty eight papers selected from revised versions of presentations made at the International Conference on Translation and Cross-Cultural Communication after the standard process of peer review. Section One is an overview of translation research, focusing on translation research from the historical perspective, canvassing different issues in translation studies in general, and analysing issues in ChineseEnglish translation in particular. Section Two is devoted to research on literary translation, encompassing research on play translation and translation of specific literary works. Section Three presents focused studies on nonliterary translation, while Section Four is dedicated to research on interpreting including liaison and simultaneous interpreting. Section Five deals with various aspects of translation and interpreting training, and the final Section looks into different research issues in cross-cultural communication. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support to the Conference and to
the preparation of this book for publication from the Chinese National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (Hanban), Ms Liu Wei, Executive Director of Shandong Jinhui Group, and Ms Vivian Man Wai Fung, Chair of Sino-Australian Culture Association, Inc. We are also grateful to Professor Max Lu, Provost and Senior Vice-President of The University of Queensland for his strong support to the Conference, as well as his inspiring opening speech. Leong Ko and Ping Chen
References Chen, Ping. 1999. Modern Chinese: History and Sociolinguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wang, Li. 1980. ‘Lun Hanzu Biaozhunyu’ (On Standard Language of Han People) in Yushu, Hu (ed.) Xiandai Hanyu Cankao Ziliao (Articles on Modern Chinese), Shanghai: Shanghai Jiaoyu Chubanshe. (Originally published in 1954). 23-40.
Section One — Translation Research Overview Translation Today and Translation Research: A World Story José Lambert CETRA, KU Leuven / PGET, Florianópolis Abstract As basically explained in Ong (1982), new technologies generate new communication, hence new communities. How languages, multilingualism, lingua franca and translation are affected and/or play new roles remains to be analysed (and mastered?) by new research concepts, methods, and groups. How new communities coexist and interact with the traditional ones (e.g., nation-states) is a key issue for cultural research, including Translation Studies. More than in our traditional world, the new communities depend and will depend on communication, languages and translation. It can be noticed – and predicted – that the invisibility of translation will be a strategic feature of worldwide communication (as on the Internet). The newer communities are indeed revising the traditional principles of communities (Communities of Practice) and communication, e.g., in terms of mobility and distribution (ubiquity). For scholars who will (have to) understand and analyse the dynamics of the new frameworks and networks and communities, actual research (besides new theoretical models) will be requested, e.g., around questions such as the directionality of communication(s), since bilateral interaction seems to be a feature of the more static world. And without a renewed interdisciplinarity, universities (will) tend to be outdated.
Keywords Technology, communication, translation (lingua franca – multilingualism), mobility, ubiquity, mapping, interdisciplinarity
1. Introduction It can be assumed that any scholarly publication, any scholarly meeting functions like a thesis (as has been defined in so many ways on the Internet (e.g., www.bowdoin.edu/writing-guides/thesis.html) or, rather, like a combination of theses produced by a group of authors in networks of interaction in which the various individual “authors” answer old and new questions. How and why? The thesis is never an isolated discussion; it develops statements from previous debates and discussions in an ongoing process. This implies that it is selective, since not all previous debates can be treated. It selects particular priorities and ignores others, which means that it occupies a given position.
2. Scholarly dialogues in process Editors of publications and organisers of scholarly meetings have the responsibility of defining the framework of the dialogue between their own (new?) discussion and previous discussion, i.e., the tradition in their field. In a similar way, the individual authors taking part in an initiative select their own goals and priorities, and their position among various colleagues and texts decides their exact reply to more general frameworks. From time to time or continuously and systematically, the individual scholar, groups of scholars, or even institutions may produce a more explicit analysis (a State of the Art) of the dynamics within the discipline (if there are any) and between given disciplines. On the basis of this analysis, experts can collect arguments that help localise scholars and their work in terms of space and time. There are good reasons for assuming that research on translation deserves to be submitted to such a system of analysis at regular moments simply because it is supposed to have a symptomatic value and tradition 1 as a young discipline and 2 as a discipline that reflects complex movements and trends from our contemporary world view. Nowadays, it seems that much scholarly dialogue about translation refers to shifts in world-view (rather than on translation or language), which may well be, but are not necessarily, explicit. Among the parameters that happen to play a role, it is hard to ignore certain well-known debates from the political, social, ideological world, i.e., the distinction between (more) “local” and (more) “global” phenomena and the question of “mobility”. The fact that research and researchers on translation cannot really avoid being confronted with such parameters may imply that neither their object of study nor their own (individual/collective) position is autonomous: it is not very surprising that translation phenomena seem to share many features with, say, communication, sociology or economics. The fact is that translation scholars may have (officially) ignored such relationships or even avoided them. The local/global conflict rather seems to be part of the very concept of university (UNIVERSE-City(1)), which may insist more on either so-called “universal” or local features. One of the obvious trends in research on translation (the label “Translation Studies”, though widely used, is not unproblematic (Lambert, forthcoming)) indicates that new parts of the globe are currently and actively taking part in research discussion, which has been dominated for many decades by a few continents, sometimes even by a few countries or languages.
Translation Today and Translation Research
3. Into global dialogues The new publications and research initiatives developing at this moment in several countries and centres in new configurations, i.e., not only in binary relationships, between Australia, Southeast Asia and Latin America 3 are clearly indebted to the globalisation trend in our young discipline. Could this be just another “turn” in the discipline or, within our (very small) academic world, fit in one of the oh-so-many shoeboxes4? Or is it rather the result of an unavoidable redefinition of the relationships between Translation Studies and the global world? True, the Australian continent has for some time reflected global structures and features in its cultural composition, as has been stressed in quite a few publications with anthropological perspectives. As far as translation and communication are concerned, this combination of scholarly discussions is certainly new and symptomatic, though apparently not too explicit: Translation Studies has discovered globalisation at a late moment (Lambert 2007). But the combination of universities, countries, languages, scholarly profiles and their “mobility” is new; it could even be analysed in geographical and cultural terms. There are even more fundamental reasons for stressing that this new world is part of our personality, since – not unlike translators – most translation scholars make use of computers, which are replete with information and knowledge from several continents. Translation scholars are kind of a global encyclopaedia: they reflect particular global worlds of knowledge about languages, translations and communication. Such a profile is valid both individually and collectively; could it also be seen as representative of the discipline? New questions. The first consequence ought to be that we are left with an incredible number of questions, many of which are new. Are we really aware of them? Did our research really change because our instruments (computers, the Internet, etc.) cannot be disconnected from our more or less globalising world? We had better be aware of the fast and very recent development of such concepts/terms, which first of all tend to reflect new insights, but which at the same time also imply exactly the opposite, i.e., how so-called new phenomena have been overlooked until this very day, and how phenomena from the past and from canonised traditions happen to reflect options for the future. Some of the most typical features of the globalising world have been prominent in centuries-old cultures, since centuries before the nation-state, religious and legal translations spread out intercontinentally rather than as part of national dynamics. And this kind of dynamic belongs to the forgotten subareas of Translation Studies. Historians of “globalisation” stress the fact that the word has been used (in English, but not exclusively) for a few decades, although it has been 15
mainly applied to economics and a limited number of cultural areas and hardly at all to languages or literatures until recently. In Translation Studies it was discovered at a late stage (after 2000), at least as a concept. It has been questioned and even heavily criticised, partly because it is linked with the dominance of the lingua franca. But in such discussions: first, the scholarly prehistory of the concept has been ignored (i.e., discussions of globalisation under different labels since the end of the 1980s (Lambert 19965); second, there is no doubt about the fact that many scholars, journals, congresses, centres, etc., go on about their business as if nothing had happened. What I want to indicate is that there is no linear evolution but rather conflicts between concepts and many current activities in research/translation practice. One of the paradoxes seems to be that although we carry this new world and its equipment and gadgets with(in) us, our scholarship is just starting to become conscious of it. Is the discovery of globalisation really an event in the history of our young discipline? About ten years ago, one of the authorities in our discipline was asked to enumerate the most fundamental changes in contemporary translation phenomena. His reply was simple: “Why would translation suddenly be submitted to basic changes in present days, whereas it has hardly changed at all during the last twenty centuries?” (Peter Newmark in Anderman & Rogers 2001: 13-14). There is little chance that an international audience of translation scholars would support Newmark’s answer, which may have been polemically inspired. Anyway, it is difficult to believe that translation is, like love, forever. 4. New distinctions Anyway, when wondering about shifts (turns?) in translation, or rather about translation and diachrony, we should distinguish between different levels, or between the following very different questions: 1) the question of translation itself as a cultural (social and verbal) phenomenon; one of the manifest shifts being the institutionalisation of translation as an object of (not exclusively academic) research and as a discipline; 2) the theoretical concepts that are active within given communities, within given historical circumstances, etc.; by definition, we assume that the current cultural attitudes and utterances of the people (e.g., translators, critics, readers, organisers) cannot simply coincide with the next level, i.e., the level of the scholars, who are supposed to have different goals and criteria;
Translation Today and Translation Research
3) the level of the discipline (let us call it “Translation Studies” for the time being); this new discipline is very different from what it was in the 1970s since it has stopped being produced and supported in a few (Western) countries only. To put it bluntly, it is being assumed here that there is a world between translation and Translation Studies as far as shifts and evolution and trends are concerned and that research on translation is quite different from translation theory, all the more since the number of such theories with scholarly ambitions and a scholarly status are few. Further distinctions may deserve to be adopted, but it would be rather simplistic to take our own initial and central question seriously while ignoring one of these three levels. And from the point of view of academia, wondering about scholars, scholarship and the discipline, especially these days, is supposed to be an expression of both self-awareness and selfcriticism. To the extent that we wonder whether or not there are or have been spectacular changes, we cannot avoid following some basic rules of cultural and historical research such as: When? Where? In what kind of groups? Newmark’s assumption may very well apply to certain people and situations, without being relevant in general terms. Historians of science would not ignore the debate, all the more since it divides people in a new area. And are there any reasons for assuming that such questions, as well as their answers, would only be important for translation scholars? 5. New rules in the scholarly game In many publications on translation, the distinction could be reduced to two levels: “theory” and “practice” (or to “theories and applications”). This may leave the impression that “research on translation” might not be identified as part of the problem, as well as the fact that researchers might be put into the same category as translators (or theoreticians). Theory and practice: is that all? Such a binary distinction would be out of step with the history of science and most academic disciplines. On the basis of other scholarly disciplines (medicine, linguistics, social research, psychology, etc.), it would seem precarious not to distinguish between the object of study (be it a human being) and the scholar. The reduction of possible research levels/categories related to translation seems to be inherited from “the birth of the discipline”, especially after World War II, when the “translation issue” was reduced to pragmatic questions (“How should I translate?” “What’s a good translation?” etc.) or to applied research under the influence of either the academic or the non-academic world, which envisaged translation “as a service” and not a
scholarly discipline (hence the dream of Machine Translation). Being excluded at that time from academia, the translation issue was also denied access to research questions other than applied research. The development of such a large bibliographical tradition in “translation theory” demonstrates that there are more things in heaven and earth, and certainly in matters of translation, than “theory” and “practice”. The discussion that I am unfolding here is supposed to be a contribution on behalf of research; and research is something very different from “theory”. Certain kinds of theories deserve to be located within research, but many theories belong to everyday life: they are (also) being formulated by the man in the street. And in most cases translation theories have no scientific goals, although from the moment research is involved, the interaction between theories, methodology and research is a substantial part of the game (Toury 1980, 1995). 6. The planet is the limit The title of this discussion stresses the fact that the answer to our sentencelong question on shifts leads us into many stories down through the ages and across cultures/countries, not only into shifts in translation (which cannot be reduced to practice) and research on translation. But I also want to stress that research on translation needs (and will always need) to struggle for its autonomy vs. first, translation as an activity and, second, theoretical concepts in society/among scholars. On the other hand, it is not clear how the various people (actors) on the three levels could ever avoid more or less globalising ambitions. Not many translators can accept that their own options would not be shared by colleagues around the planet. Moreover, their theoretical positions often also claim (implicitly) to account for more general (exemplary) situations. It is a delicate task for scholars to recognise the limits of their ambitions and their knowledge. Almost by definition, academic knowledge claims to seek global knowledge, even while (often) warning against “universalism”. Is our question on shifts really relevant? How could translations and translators avoid redefining themselves through the ages and across countries/communities? As part of various cultures at different moments and in different places, the interaction between languages, discourses, people and organisations has never really been predictable. According to our starting point, and notwithstanding our insistence on research, it is more or less implied that translation is submitted to changes (shifts? diversity?), from the perspective of both space and time: while asking whether it is different in China from Latin America, or whether it changes from the moment translation software enters the picture, our criteria are 18
Translation Today and Translation Research
inevitably taking into consideration that social, human, electronic (and other) circumstances have an impact on translation phenomena. What kind of variables do we take into consideration? Since translation belongs to history, it is an object of study for (translation) historiography, which is a theoretical assumption that has an impact on the three levels of our fundamental question about changes. The evidence of change underscores the need for historicalcultural research (“descriptive” and “descriptive-explanatory” since Toury’s first texts in the 1970s; see mainly Toury 1995). Even scholarly translation theories cannot function well without historiography. It is not enough to admit that translation phenomena are submitted to diversity; scholars also need to establish where, how, why, etc. Interaction is needed between (scholarly) theories and historiography. The entire debate about “translation today” and about “globalisation” actually depends on this interaction, or rather, on the efficiency of scholarship (the “discipline”) in such a field of knowledge. Rather than accumulate cases or examples, which would be a bottom up approach to historiography, we will try to formulate a few explanations in a top down approach, while looking for the hows and whys of both regularities and diversities. There are good reasons for assuming that descriptive research is needed before there is a sufficiently stable basis for an explanatory movement. But general hypotheses may also accelerate and improve descriptive-historical research. Let me first test out two assumptions about innovations (across ages and cultures) that are hard to deny: one refers to the increasing mobility of translation phenomena; the other refers to their increasing ubiquity. Though the mobility and ubiquity of translation phenomena (as a particular and often neglected area of communication phenomena) are obviously linked, it may be wise not to reduce them to one and the same thing. At this moment we will focus on translation phenomena and much less on “theory” or “research”. However, there can be no doubt about the consequences for various kinds of theories as well as for research. And we don’t need to have read McLuhan (1962) to understand that mobility and ubiquity were developed long before the age of globalisation. 7. Mobility For my first test, I make use of a famous book on human communication: Walter Ong’s (1982) Orality and Literacy (on “the Technologizing of the Word”, as the subtitle tells us). Ong searches history in an effort to find the exact implications of technological progress for verbal communication, beginning with the invention of writing systems, handwriting, manuscripts and printed books, up to the dawn of electronic communication. It is a pity he 19
published his work before the advent of the Internet or mobile phones (nevertheless, the book has been updated a little). However, quite a few colleagues have already continued his work. However, for our particular audience of translation scholars we will not hide the fact that Ong has not devoted any attention to the translation phenomena. Rather, it is our task to indicate where and how his views have any relevance and consequences for translation phenomena. Nevertheless, Ong’s views are an interesting historical and theoretical challenge for research on communication: one wonders if any communication (theory) of another kind will one day compromise these insights. One of Ong’s key ideas is the impact of communication mobility on the establishment and dynamics of societies/communities, e.g., on the establishment of the nation-state. Oral communication was and still is the point zero of communication. In its initial (“primitive”?) form, those communicating have (had) to be within range, i.e., physical proximity is (was) needed. Or better, proximity was needed until particular technologies allowing for new kinds of oral communication (i.e., from a distance) were developed. Still, traditional communication has survived remarkably well and, like translation, may survive for ages to come. Not only does the telecommunication principle give new resources to oral communication, but so does its combination with the development of writing: Ong distinguishes between “primary” and “secondary” oral communication. “Secondary” oral communication exists in more sophisticated cultures with pervious access to writing, either via manuscripts, the printing press or various modern developments of media communication including electronic communication. Speech recognition has not yet been integrated into this diachronic and intercultural panorama, but one might say that it is one of Ong’s predictions. The heart of the matter, nonetheless, is the link between communication technologies and the kind of communities that use them, or rather, that need and/or generate them. In Ong’s view, there is a clear link between the invention of print, on the one hand, and the birth of nations (nation-states). The industrialisation of societies, in this framework, has a lot to do with the industrialisation of print and communication. The type of societies that will be generated (one day?) by Internet communication is not yet clear. In our contemporary everyday society, the new modes of communication are in competition with the principle of physical proximity. One of the unavoidable explanations for changes in our community-building is the mobility of people: either their communication has become mobile or they themselves have. Or both. Hence, human beings have the opportunity to establish relationships with people living far away, and although most of you who read this may have excellent ties with your next-door neighbour, the chances that this person is your best friend are slim. The communities with 20
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the greatest impact on our personal life can be or become virtual. Such options generate competition (and markets) between different techniques and methodologies and, thus, between groups of people that identify with them. It is not astonishing at all that the definition of communities keeps changing (not necessarily including virtual communities): one of the new (very influential) key concepts since the second half of the 1980’s in Social Psychology and Organisation Studies is the “Community of Practice” (Wenger 2001). We cannot even rule out that between the nation-state and the Community of Practice there are still other kinds of communities. How they communicate (in which language? with the aid of what kind of communication channels?) is supposed to influence their collective and individual identity. Given the physical and communicative (and social) mobility of people, most “citizens” have different identities and are members of several kinds of communities. The principle of borderlines, especially of cultural, social, religious and linguistic borderlines is questioned and revised within communities, between them and far beyond them, given the continuous redefinition of partnerships (deterritorialisation: Deleuze & Guattari 1972). Eric J. Hobsbawm has established how the idea of “language policy” has developed in “the West” as one of the products of the nation-state (Hobsbawm 1996). It is clear by now that a new analysis and description (“mapping?”) of linguistic dynamics is needed. Such analysis will neither describe nor explain the death of national language policies, but will be needed as a key to the new relationship between languages and communities. It is hard to ignore that translation relies on linguistic, communication and social frameworks. Hence it is easy to accept at least in principle that wherever cultural (i.e., social, communication, linguistic) frameworks are under revision, the translation phenomena are affected in one way or the other. It also follows that radical changes in the world of deterritorialisation and/or (multilateral) networking cannot (have) become the rule all of a sudden all over our globe. Hence it is evident that one of our tasks as scholars is to establish where and how this globe is changing or has changed: when, how, where, why, etc. Such insights involve theoretical efforts and developments, but also field work (research) of different kinds, which we could call cultural or descriptive research, especially research on translation, since so little has been done in view of a panoramic mapping of the fundamental dynamics of translation(s) and translators and their audiences (we really do not know much so far about subtitling, dubbing and voice-over or about oral communities; neither do we know about the differences between non-canonical and canonical translated literature, not even in the culturally best known areas, i.e., the Western world). The paradox is that the privileged treatment of the Western world (the old world? Oh! Heaven!) is an incredibly strong and embarrassing argument for systematic large-scale 21
research on other worlds (anywhere between the East and West), because it is clear that scholarly exploration of the more “peripheral” areas will prohibit us from committing one of the most basic errors in scholarship through the ages, i.e., the trend to extrapolate our world of knowledge based on what we happen to know, or think we know, about our own world. In our new world of mobility, which involves both people and their communication, the language issue has been heavily underestimated or even ignored (as in Hofstede’s work on culture: 1980, 2001) to a large extent because verbal communication has been approached mainly on the basis of technology (quite pertinently) and on national languages, i.e., the nation-state model, which has become too narrow (-minded). It is (was) not difficult to understand that languages and discourses are generated within (and by) communities, but the type of communities that have given rise to our contemporary world (map) of languages was not at issue for communication experts or even for modern linguists, except certain groups of sociolinguists as well as ethnolinguists or anthropologists. Experts on communication have written fascinating books about the new societies generated by networking (Castells 1996, 2000) and the (virtual) societies (McLuhan 1962) underlying them, but the impact of the various traditions and models of (imagined) societies (Anderson 1982) on languages has been put between brackets. Even experts on “foreign languages” and translation tend to stick to the static world of languages that function side by side in a binary fashion as source or target languages of their neighbour. And universities and their curricula still tend to map countries and languages and, hence, translations in static terms rather than in terms of multilingualism or in terms of discourse. There can be no doubt about the survival of very traditional societies, including those classified in the prehistory stage of writing and printing according to Ong’s model. But it is within the various member states of the United Nations that new worlds of communication, languages and interactions between languages are being worked out. In most of these countries, communication is quick and widely disseminated, although some countries and communicators are more active and successful than others, which determines the directionality of exporting/importing discourse (Delabastita et al. 2006). Like in the good old days of colonisation, the number and impact of exporting communities (I avoid substituting nations for this concept) are much lower than the number of importers. 8. Ubiquity One of the manifest innovations in contemporary translation theory has been called the “ubiquity” of translation6. For the last few centuries, intellectuals have been convinced that translation occurs in (almost all) languages. But 22
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from (and to) the perspective of the man in the street, translation phenomena have not become very visible until recently, perhaps until television penetrated our living room and, as a result, our everyday discourse. This is partly because there was/is no way to ignore subtitling, voice-over, dubbing, i.e., the different text types that are entirely and exclusively linked with screen translation. Although translation is made invisible much more systematically than in previous ages (on the Internet and by means of localisation, e.g., in our supermarkets), it is now clear that translation is everywhere enfolding us: it is no longer just for “the great books” but has become part of our own discourse, part of everyday life from morning to evening. And we have good grounds for linking this “pervasiveness of translation(s)” with the globalisation/internationalisation phenomena. The very origin of the (more or less invisible) ubiquity of translation has to do with a simple terminological tradition: the name “translation” is generally accepted from the moment we talk about a complete text. From the moment the author calls it “a translation”, his definition is open to acceptance by readers. Other texts may also be called “translations” when someone discovers that they have “an original”, i.e., a “model”. However, hardly any dictionary recognises individual words or collocations as “translations”. This seems to be a simple matter of terminology: the concept “translation” applies to texts, and not to elements with texts, i.e., to discourse. The trouble is that such textual components and idiomatic expressions may become very influential in the interaction between languages and discourses. It can be assumed that the impact of English on many languages is to a large extent linked with such “loan words” and “loan expressions”, which tends to demonstrate how “translations” and “the lingua franca” are partly overlapping, or at least hard to distinguish. Lawrence Venuti (Venuti 1995) had the excellent idea to insist on “the invisibility” of (many) translations, a strategy laid bare at least since the 1970’s. One source of confusion about what is actually translated and what is not is linked with the status of texts that are either entirely translated without identifying their imported origins or that contain several translated fragments or paragraphs among “original” ones. This means that the invisibility of translation may either be rather accidental or part of a well-planned strategy. Such ambiguities tend to be more common in certain types of text (e.g., religious, legislative, children’s literature, web content or even scholarly texts) than others. Commercial motivation is a sufficient argument in favour of such strategies, all the more since political institutions (such as the European Union) tend to impose the use of the local, official language for safety reasons. However, experts in sociolinguistics are also struck by the opposite, i.e., the contrast between Anglo-Saxon culture and non-Anglo culture. It seems 23
difficult for translation phenomena to penetrate the English language and discourse in English. Moreover, there are striking links between the relative impermeability of English, on the one hand, and statistics on the directionality of translation on a world level (Casanova 1999; Heilbron & Sapiro 2002). Although translations from English are widespread, notwithstanding the impressive worldwide English-language readership, translations into English are much more limited. However, prestige and power relations do not only apply to the lingua franca: they are also an important key to translation. This implies that one does not go without the other and that Translation Studies is in trouble and will be in trouble until it extends the meaning of the word “global” to disciplines and to interdisciplinarity. It is hard to deny the link between translation visibility games and other power games, which confirms the ambiguous status of translations in many cultural situations. Moreover, it has been established since the beginning of the scholarly approach to translation that “non-translation” is also part of every translation as a potential “translation device”. Many translators decide, at a given moment, that it is wiser not to translate a certain expression at all, but rather to make use of “loan words” or “loan expressions”. The interaction of the several factors listed here along with quite a few others explains why we are surrounded by translations in our everyday life from morning to evening: at breakfast, when watching or reading about the news, sports or fashion, in advertisements and web content. And although English-speaking countries may be more inaccessible than their neighbours, neither do they escape. Thus, due to the dissemination of electronic networks, translations and other (stereotyped?) discourses have invaded the entire world, even to the point of cloned university essays and exam answers. An embarrassing area in the internationalisation of discourse is the parallelism between: 1) the use of foreign languages (in big cities around the world, at universities, in tourism, sports, media, books and the press, etc.), 2) the spread of the (new) lingua(e) franca(e) and 3) the dissemination of translations and translated discourse. Among experts, to what extent the dominance of English either generates or restrains the use of translation is controversial; in fact, one seems to generate the other. To academia, this is a new world for scholarly exploration and it remains to be seen how this will fit the traditional academic shoebox system. One of the first experts on this topic, Juliane House, supports the idea that lingua franca and translation do not hinder each other, that one does not exclude the other (2003). In her book on “world literature”, Pascale Casanova (1999) is convinced that her statistics about translations worldwide illustrate that, notwithstanding the dominance of English, Paris (and France) remain the centre of world literature throughout the second half of the twentieth century; however, when applying 24
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similar questions to the volume of English-language books in print worldwide, such general conclusions about book markets don’t seem too convincing. On the other hand, experienced sociolinguists7 readily accept the hypothesis of the ubiquity of translation in our contemporary societies, while simply and with good arguments denying that the dynamics of the Englishspeaking world are equally affected by translated discourse. The European Union, finally, is a fascinating case, in that its language policy (Fishman 1993) cannot survive a day without the institutionalisation of translation services; however, the official policy of excluding a lingua franca is overturned daily by the behaviour of the EU’s entire bureaucratic and political world, which is relying on the lingua franca rather than abiding by the official multilingual language policy. There is a direct link between the ubiquity of translation and one of the well-known features of new international communication societies: multilingualism. Even in secondary schools and higher education, foreign language teachers are tending to substitute “bilingual” phenomena with “multilingual” phenomena, though our foreign language programs are still largely bilateral. Nevertheless, societies are more and more openly multilingual (in cities like London or Antwerp, more than 100 languages are spoken by the population). The fuzzy borderlines between translation show that lingua franca and multilingualism are a strong factor in such multilingual communities. But similar developments can be observed within translation and Translation Studies. One of the spectacular shifts linked with the internationalisation and globalisation trends in Translation Studies involves the gradual transition in our vocabulary as well as in our cultural experiences as translation experts from bilingual relationships (i.e., Text 1 and Text 2) toward multilateral relationships. Of course, neither type (bilingual/multilingual) is new in the history of mankind. However, the awareness that both exist is new in translation as well as in Translation Studies, all the more since the multilingual distribution of translations is a well-known result of electronic media (online texts, etc.). Hence it is symbolic that a new concept has been coined: directionality. It has not really been recognised so far (notwithstanding publications from the 1980s and 1990s by Pym, Lefevere, etc.) that this concept actually revises one of the other new trends in Translation Studies, the so-called target-oriented approach(es). There is a symbolic shift in the world-views of translations and Translation Studies from the moment multilateral relationships and distributions become part of the basic structures and schemes. The truth is that such schemes are centuries-old. They simply have become much more widespread and influential in the communication world, as has another wellknown cognate: networking.
Much more is at stake, though, than the discovery of new buzzwords. Considering the influence of networking, multilateral relationships, institutionalisation, etc., it becomes obvious that Translation Studies is still far behind in both its follow-up of new world-views and its recognition of many parallel developments between disciplines that are kept discrete from translation. These include developments in particular countries and on various continents without which we cannot account for our own local worlds. 9. Conclusions Without any ambition to close the discussion on historical changes in translation and Translation Studies or on the mapping of translation phenomena, this paper has examined several traditional discussions from the discipline from a twenty-first century perspective as well as from, to a large extent, a Southeast Asian and Australian perspective. It is ironic that the reasons perceived here as grounds for numerous and substantial changes happen to be more or less transhistorical and transcultural: neither the mobility nor the ubiquity of translation phenomena are really new as such. In fact, it would be hard to disconnect these factors from any translations anywhere and at any moment in history. Could this mean that we have discussed (and discovered) real universals about translation and Translation Studies? The distinction between translation and research on translation (Translation Studies) or between theory and research are linked with features of the discipline in its currently established form. But the fact that such parameters allow us to grasp a few key ideas regarding change does not necessarily imply that the answers are relevant over space and time, on the contrary. And this is why our discussion belongs to research on translation phenomena much more than to translation theory. The questions Where? When? By whom? Why? and How? are central to research programs. The real, substantial changes due to mobility and ubiquity are linked with their intensity, pervasiveness and their combination: where translations come from (directionality) and what kind of general tendencies they have are obvious. However, a more profound question is to ask what kind of impact they have on the international/global cultural dynamics. The position of translation within the European Union as well as its influence on linguistic, cultural and economic conditions on a world level are in themselves an unprecedented illustration of the new functions of translation on a global scale. The fact that such questions about the whos, the wheres and the hows are not just a component of the world of translations, but have been hot items in the European Union for a number of years illustrates the fact that translation and other questions of language are much more than mere 26
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language issues. It is also becoming obvious, once again, that the answers that are surfacing little by little are not very specific to translation itself, but rather to different, more general and larger disciplines. The communication technologies (from print to the Internet) that have developed in the last few centuries were not invented by translators; the origins of religious translations (in India and the Middle East) more than twenty centuries ago and the cultural concentration occurring in the age of computers (i.e., their directionality) confirm that the organisation of international traffic and business has not really been homogeneous, not even in the age of colonisation. When looking for more general and more specific explanations to account for stability and revolutions in translation and language matters, it seems that disciplines such as linguistics or literary studies, sociology or communication studies, even economics and political studies, are needed to develop a more systematic and consistent analysis and explanation. It could be that the most central explanations will be provided by organisation studies: if communication, language, etc. depend on power and prestige, the final word depends on organisation, and not necessarily on culture (language, people) or society. One of the unexpected advantages and benefits of this more global discussion of translation across space and time seems to be the increasing interdisciplinarity involved, which may result in incredible leaps in the complexity of research, since the number of possible answers and explanations is now much higher. It is a very positive observation, however, at least in cultural terms, that both interdisciplinarity and globalisation have inspired warnings regarding overly unilateral considerations and explanations. Rather, however, than strengthening national, local or isolated approaches to cultures and languages, networking societies tend to increasingly compromise any static world-view, especially regarding communication (or languages, or translation). Certain areas (and languages and communities of practice) on other continents may now better illustrate new power relationships. More translators, for instance, may be gradually coming from countries in Asia even though organisational power could still reside in the United States or in Switzerland. It seems that such tendencies are already visible in the area of telecommunications: why would only “Western” nations retain mastery of English when the use of the lingua franca is so widespread on the different continents? This question implies that books and knowledge may become less concentrated in one geo-cultural province of our planet given that the dissemination of knowledge is breaking the traditional rules of (national?) homogeneity.
Iliescu Gheorghiu, C. & J.Lambert (Eds.) Forthcoming. Universe-cities as Problematic Global Villages. Continuities and Shifts in our Academic Worlds. 2 For example, International Conference on Translation and Cross-Cultural Communication December 1-2, 2011. The School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies and The Confucius Institute, The University of Queensland, Australia. 3 Ibid. 4 See Iliescu & Lambert, forthcoming: the metaphor of the shoebox refers to the local principles underlying academic structures, even within the canonised disciplines. 5 Congress at Brasilia within the FILLM Congress 1993; with the participation of Anthony Pym, André Lefevere, John Milton. 6 The concept was first used by Armin Paul Frank during the planning for H.Kittel et al. 20042011. 7 Peter Trudgill, oral communication during a seminar at Murcia in 2001; see Lambert 2001. Lenguaje y retos sociales del mañana: Interrogantes, estrategias y programas, Revista Tonos Digital 2, 2001.
References Anderman, Gunilla. & Margaret Rogers. (eds). 2003. Translation Today: Trends and Perspectives. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Anderson, Benedict 1982. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso. Casanova, Pascale. 1999. La République Mondiale des Lettres. Paris: Seuil. Castells, Manuel. 1996. The Rise of the Network Society, The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture. Vol. I. Cambridge, MA; Oxford: Blackwell. Castells, Manuel. 2011. ‘Network Theories of Power’, On line at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skcUYhRaEas CETRA (Gambier, Yves , Lieven D’hulst, Fernando Ferreira Alves, Peter Flynn, José Lambert & Reine Meylaerts 2010. ‘Strategies under the Waterline: Language, Lingua Franca and Translation’. Paper Presented at the 26th Egos Symposium, Lisbon, 2010; Sub-Theme: Englishization and Language Diversity in Contemporary Organizational Life. Cronin, Michael. 2003. Translation and Globalization. London: Routledge. Crystal, David. 1997. English as a Global Language. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. Delabastita, Dirk, Lieven D’hulst & Reine Meylaerts (eds). 2006. Functional Approaches to Culture and Translation. Selected Papers by José Lambert. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins (Benjamins Translation Library 69). Deleuze, Giles & Félix Guattari 1972. Anti-Œdipus. Tr. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem & Helen R. Lane. London and New York: Continuum, 2004. Vol. 1 of Capitalism and Schizophrenia. 2 Vols. 1972-1980. Tr. L'Anti-Oedipe. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit. de Swaan, Abram. 2001. Words of the World: the Global Language System. Cambridge: PolityPress and Blackwell. Fishman, Joshua A. 1993, ‘Ethnolinguistic Democracy: Varieties, Degrees and Limits’. Language International, 5(1). September: 11-17. Gambier, Yves & Luc van Doorslaer. 2010-2011. Handbook of Translation Studies. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Vol. 2. Gaibrois, Claudine & Chris Steyaert. 2010. ‘Towards a Reflexive Politics of Translation and Language in Management and Organization Studies’. Paper Presented at the 26th Egos Symposium, Lisbon, 2010; Sub-theme: Englishization and Language Diversity in Contemporary Organizational Life.
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Gentzler, Edwin. 2008. Translation and Identity in the Americas. London: Routledge. Hung, Eva. (ed.). 2005. Translation and Cultural Change: Studies in History, Norms and ImageProjection. Amsterdam: Benjamins Translation Library. Heilbron, Johan & Gisèle Sapiro. 2002. ‘La Traduction Littéraire, un Objet Sociologique’. Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales, Septembre 144. Hobsbawm, Eric J.E. & Terence O’Ranger. 2010. The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.. Hodgson, Geoffrey M. 2006. ‘What are Institutions?’ Journal of Economics Issues, XL, 1, March: 1-25. House, Juliane. (2003). ‘English as a Lingua Franca’. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 7(4): 556-578. Kittel, Harald, Armin Paul Frank, Norbert Greiner, Theo Hermans, Werner Koller, José Lambert, Paul, Fritz,Juliane House & Brigitte Schultze.(Hrsg). 2004-2011. Übersetzung, Translation, Traduction. Ein Internationales Handbuch zur Ubersetzungsforschung. An International Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. Encyclopédie internationale de la recherchesur la traduction. Berlin & New York: de Gruyter (Handbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft). Lambert, José. 1991. In Quest of Literary World Maps in Kittel, Harald & Armin Paul Frank (eds). Interculturality and the Historical Study of Literary Translations (GöttingerBeiträgezurinternationalen Übersetzungsforschung,4). Berlin, Schmidt, 1991: 133-144. Lambert, José. 1996. (ed.). Communication, Technologies and Translation in the “Global Village”. Sub-Theme 3, Part II in de Faria, Neide (ed.) Language and Literature Today. Proceedings of the XIX Triennial Congress of the International Federation for Modern Languages and Literatures. Brasilia: Universidade da Brasilia. Vol. 1: 335-417. Lambert, José. 2001. ‘Lenguaje y Retos Sociales del Mañana: Interrogantes, Estrategias y Programas’, RevistaTonos Digital 2, 2001. Lambert, José. 2004. ‘La Traduction dans les Société Monolingues’ in Harald Kittel et al. 20042011. Übersetzung, Translation, Traduction. Ein Internationales Handbuch zur Ubersetzungsforschung. An International Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. Encyclopédie internationale de la recherchesur la traduction. Berlin & New York: de Gruyter (Handbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft). I:69-85. Lambert, José. 2007. ‘Translation and Globalization’ in H.Kittel et al. 2004-2011. Übersetzung, Translation, Traduction. Ein Internationales Handbuch zur Ubersetzungsforschung. An International Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. Encyclopédie internationale de la recherchesur la traduction. Berlin & New York: de Gruyter (Handbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft). II: 1680-1700. Lambert, José. Forthcoming. The Institutionalization of the Discipline. McLuhan, Marshall. 1962. The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Ong, Walter. 1982. Orality and Literacy: the Technologizing of the Word. London: Methuen. Pym, Anthony. 2011. http://www.youtube.com/user/AnthonyPym/videos. Snyder, William M. & Etienne C. Wenger 2000. ‘Communities of Practice: The Organizational Frontier’. Harvard Business Review, January-February: 139-145. Toury, Gideon. 1980. In Search of a Theory of Translation. Tel Aviv: The Porter Institute for Poetics and Semiotics, Tel Aviv University. Toury, Gideon. 1995. Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond. Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins. (Benjamins Translation Library.) Venuti, Lawrence. 1995. The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation. London and New York: Routledge. Wallerstein, Immanuel. 1994. Geopolitics and Geoculture: Essays on the Changing World System. Cambridge: Cambridge Univeristy Press.
Wenger, Etienne. 2001. Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
The Shifting Distance of Translation Yifeng Sun Lingnan University (Hong Kong) Abstract The present epoch of globalisation redefines the concept of distance in the course of negotiating spaces between nations and cultures. However, in a smaller world, cross-cultural exchanges are more contested and challenged by details and particulars, which, though seemingly insignificant, concerns the reception of the translated text. In adapting to the changed conditions and circumstances, translation vacillates between proximity and distance, with the latter taking precedence and emerging as the most dynamic, multivalent force at work. The pursuit of proximity entails coping with or adjusting to distance. Thus, translation can be seen as characteristic of different types and variables of distance: linguistic, cultural, social, political, psychological and aesthetic. That there exists temporal distance between source and target texts is a major hurdle for translation. Aside from it, linguistic and cultural distance necessitates acculturation, and sometimes justifies domestication. This paper aims to explore how distance operates with regard to translation, both at the cognitive and practical levels. Distance and displacement are deeply intertwined, and moreover, distance between the author and the source text reader and distance between the author and the target reader are very different in nature. Since distance is also characterised by dislocation, it gives rise to alienation, and despite the admitted appeal to minimise the distance between source and target texts as a gesture to address disparities between two particular languages and cultural values, in an overtly experimental mode of translation, distance is bound to change constantly, and can function to enhance the efficacy of cross-cultural communication. Close textual engagement or affirmative disengagement is seen to be strategic because an increased distance creates the necessary space for control and manipulation. The concept of distance is a useful heuristic for thinking about the way translation functions as a vital mode of cross-cultural communication and also suggests that the translator plays a pivotal role in the articulation and re-articulation of distance, particularly in literary translation to enhance the efficacy of translation.
Keywords proximity, distance, focalisation, adaptation
1. Introduction Translation leads to dislocation, and is closely related to distance involving differences in beliefs, attitudes, and preferences associated with different translation traditions and practices. The sheer ubiquity of distance of various sorts embedded in translation deserves careful examination. At the core of translation is the distance that separates source and target languages, and for this reason distance becomes almost synonymous with difference. In effect, difference deriving from dislocation creates distance between languages and mind-sets of different audiences reading the source and target texts
respectively. The resultant distancing effect is manifest in the sense that alienation produced by foreign otherness distances the target reader from the source text. In commenting on Lin Shu’s translation practice, Qian Zhongshu (1981: 19) refers to different types of distance to be traversed by translation concerning the travel of texts across spatial and temporal boundaries: There is bound to be some distance between one language and another. Distance also occurs between the understanding of the translator together with his/her writing style and the content of the original and its form. This is followed by yet another type of distance, i.e., the distance between the understanding of the translator and his/her ability to express what is embedded in the original.
There is, of course, no symmetrical equivalence of signification between two languages, thus representing the most potent source of anxiety and tension in relation to translation. An important part of the task of the translator is to understand the nature of such distance and to know how to perceive and adjust distance accordingly for the optimal effect. More generally, an existential distance between the source and target languages, which may also be called objective distance, is closely related to untranslatability, largely due to incommensurability or partial commensurability between the two languages involved. Untranslatability is essentially attributable to the nature of the distance that “separates the cultural background of source text and target audience in terms of time and place” (Snell-Hornby, 1995: 41). In view of this, the cross-cultural awareness and recognition of the distance are prerequisite for establishing an appropriate translation strategy. Such a distance has potentially profound implications for a broad understanding of the way in which a translation is produced and received. Moreover, this distance, no matter how indeterminable, requires a somewhat different cultural, not to mention historical, perspective on a given textual situation. Therefore, it is necessary to perform a basic assessment of the objective distance prior to translation. As Giovanni Pontiero (1997: 28) states: If the initial analysis of the distance is appropriate and the translator has fixed the necessary temporal and spatial parameters correctly, i.e., appropriately to his ability and the task in hand, then later detailed decisions a rational to fall back on and are not taken piecemeal. In other words, the cultural unity of the translation as a work of literature depends crucially on the basic decisions on distance in time and space that separate it from the source content.
Time and space are key factors contributing to the distance that is subject to and governed by a host of parameters to be formulated in solving practical translation problems. However, the processes of decision making also depend on other types of distance involved in a given situation, which means that any
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decision-making with regard to solutions to translation problems is meant to address the issue of the role and function of distance. Distance entails change, and as such, even an existential distance is not a fixed one. Above all, it is worth pointing out that translation is driven and controlled by a sense of direction as well. According to Schleiermacher, translation operates in two opposite directions: the target reader is either sent abroad (to the author) or brought home. Either way, distance is involved: how far away from home is a translation considered to be exciting and safe at the same time? Similarly, George Steiner (1975: 47) observes that “[a]ny model of communication is at the same time a model of translation, of a vertical or horizontal transfer of significance”. This brings to the fore the issue of perspective, which in turn directionises the course of translation and inevitably impacts on distance as a consequence. Further, any shift in perspective not only allows new elements to come to the fore, but also changes the distance of observation while necessitating and making possible acts of intervention. Since the source and target audiences seldom share exactly the same perspective, they observe the same thing(s) from different distances, thus resulting in some difference in perception. In a cross-cultural context, distance may be caused by, or result casually from, bias or prejudice. Post-colonial and feminist translators, for instance, are likely to rewrite the original in an overtly radical way in response to, or in anticipation of, the need for transformation. Referring to the alienating effect caused by distance, Steiner (1975: 46) points out: “By far the greater proportion of art and historical record has been left by men. The process of ‘sexual translation’ or of the breakdown of linguistic exchange is seen, almost invariably, from a male focus”. The result is only too apparent: such translation practices automatically distance the female target reader. Not surprisingly, a feminist interpretation of the original represents a perspective that is radically different from a non-feminist view. Sometimes, a politically motivated rewriting constitutes an action that moves in exactly the opposite direction to the source text so as to completely subvert what is originally intended. In view of this observation, the translator is typically faced with two diametrically different approaches to translation, both of which can be effective and successful, as stated by Wihelm von Humboldt (quoted by Pontiero, 1997: 55) in his correspondence to A. W. Schlegel: All translation seems to be to be simply an attempt to solve an impossible task. Every translator is doomed to be done in by one of two stumbling blocks: he will either stay too close to the original, at the cost of the taste and the language of his nation, or he will adhere too closely to characteristics peculiar to his nation, at the cost of the original.
Creating artificial proximity to either the source culture or the target culture seems fit and convenient at times, but it is prudent to point out that it can produce either inhibiting or facilitating effects. Yet this either/or dichotomous thinking precludes the possibility of translation keeping equal distance from both the source and target texts. Of course, it is the initial decision concerning the direction in which translation moves that determines the distance to be traversed and how it is related to the optimal balance or compromise between the source and target cultures. 2. Objective distance in translation Evidently, temporal or historical distance falls into the category of objective distance. Much has been written about the temporal distance that separates the source text from the target reader. In this regard, there is first of all the question of archaic language, which tends to be updated in translation for the purpose of comprehension. What actually happens is a simultaneously intralingual and interlingual translation functioning to bridge both the historical and linguistic distances. For this reason, the temporal distance would be continually subject to change, although it can be consciously preserved by the translator, and in some cases, it is even artificially re-created. Whether the archaic language of the original should be reproduced has been the subject of much debate. For no such text exists that is perfectly acceptable to all readers, then and now, source and target. In any event, this difficulty is further compounded by the consideration that normally the source language is not archaic to its immediate reading-public. If this is the case, can modernising the text in translation be warranted from the point of view of the target reader today? This obviously results in the removal of the historical distance separating the target reader from the past. Such a practice, helpful and necessary as it is for the purpose of facilitating reading, can in some respects contribute to a kind of ahistorical reading. But an equally legitimate concern is that if an archaic language is recreated and forced upon the target reader, the translation in question risks unintelligibility. The preservation or recreation of historical distance minimises at the same the artificial distance that represents the intervention of the translator in the attempt to make translation accessible to the target reader. In translation, distance marked by a certain degree of textual difference between different translation versions is almost omnipresent. Different translation versions of the same source text over the years often reveal different distances, either preserved or created, separating the source text in various degrees from the target reader. In terms of chronology, moreover, any retranslation is further away from the original, but significantly, the temporal distance involved may not necessarily increase. In brief, translation is at the 34
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crossroad of the past and present: whatever the case may be, translation is invariably associated with temporal distance between the historical contexts surrounding the production and reproduction of the source and target texts respectively. The underlying dilemma is whether to bring the past to the present or to respect historical distance by foregrounding difference. Recreating the historical atmosphere generates representational immediacy so as to enhance the reading experience, for if the historical distance is allowed to be too great, it is difficult to elicit empathy and to establish relevance in the target culture. A central paradox here is that in order to maintain temporal distance, it is necessary to shorten artificial difference in translation. And as a result, while the target reader is kept at a temporal distance from the original, they are less likely to be alienated by an emotional distance. Admittedly, this involves updating or appropriating the original to collapse distance. Mildred L. Larson (2008: 54) contends: “Extreme archaisation has no place in a translation because it renders an original false, if not meaningless to the modern reader”. Undeniably, it does seem to diminish the relevance of the source text to the target reader. But to present the illusion that no historical distance actually exists is largely ineffective and counterproductive, only to cast doubt on historical authenticity. It is not difficult to see the need to re-construct temporal distance in translation in order to keep past and present distinct. However, a sharply reduced temporal distance, while useful in enhancing readability in the short run, is potentially misleading and can also be confusing, because it is often achieved at the expense of not being able to identify the historical setting of the time of the original. Likewise, a cultural borrowing tends to produce a distancing effect on the relationship between a narrated event in the past in the original and the reality of the target reader of today. A related question here is: does the translator distance him/herself from the original author or prefer to be identified with the latter? It is true that if the translation keeps a temporal distance from the original, the irreducible needs of the target reader can be better addressed. But admittedly this may lead to an ahistorical production of the translated text. Sometimes to historicise the translated text is an indispensable starting point. But this does not necessarily require archaisation to produce a distancing effect that is regarded as less than desirable for smooth reading. Commenting on Antoine Vitez’s translation of Hamlet, Jean-Michel Déprats (2001: 80) observes: Vittoz’s translation belongs to no particular period: it is no closer to Shakespeare's time than it is to our own. The main effect is to distance Hamlet from us and to mark it as an old, archaic text, connected to dramatic rhetoric that we no longer remember except as a literary keepsake. The stylistic processes that are used here are designed to suggest what a great distance separates us from Hamlet.
This temporal distance is deliberately and scrupulously maintained. The translated play is thus invested with a sense of history necessary for a proper understanding of the special circumstances in which the plot is designed and unfolded, thus conveying into the target language as many of the nuances of the complex character of Hamlet as possible. The natural corollary is a delicate equilibrium that at once historicises Hamlet and makes the play accessible to the modern target reader. The archaisation or modernisation of the text under translation results in creating or bridging the distance between source and target texts. Recognition of the primacy of historical awareness in reading a historical play or novel is no doubt important. However, the distance between the signifier and the signified, susceptible to further increase if extreme archaisation of the language of translation is favoured, can cause problems for reading and understanding the translated text. It is known that some translators make use of historical distance to critique contemporary events so that this seemingly objective distance tacitly functions as a means of self-protection to allow criticism to be made with relative impunity. Lin Shu’s translation is characterised by terse archaic language. As a result, the foreign is further distanced from the target reader. It is a safe distance. The use of classical Chinese ȸ an archaic form of Chinese ȸ was motivated by the laudable objective to reduce the aesthetic distance that would otherwise prevent the target reader from understanding and appreciating the foreign. However, classical Chinese was demonstrably at odds with the narrative form of the novel in its modern form for, according to Hu Shi (1924: 121-22), prior to Lin’s translation, classical Chinese had not been used for novel writing. To be sure, this was more than merely antiquarian interest displayed by Lin Shu, and it can be understood that the supposed collapse of the aesthetic distance was an inducement for the target reader to read foreign texts in translation. The patently artificial recreation of temporal distance should be seen as controlling and manipulating the aesthetic distance in question for the purpose of inducement so as to show the target reader a very different world, which was, paradoxically, very new to them. 3. Artificial (translational) distance In contrast to objective distance, artificial distance, which can also be called translational distance, as it is often closely associated with the latter, is deliberately created and administered by the translator specifically for the purpose of mediation and intervention. It should be conceptually clarified and elaborated. It is necessary to ask, first and foremost, what exactly constitutes this translational distance. The artificially effected distance can be seen as a way to form a workable translation strategy to ensure that the 36
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meaning of the original is decoded and reproduced in such a way that allows the translator to control the signification in the process of re-production. It refers to a particular position or perspective from which the translation is produced and shows a distance shift in the way in which the original material is treated. After all, if there is only insufficient translational distance, the translator has only a slim chance to effectively deal with the issue of untranslatability, since proximity can be uncomfortably restrictive, and for this reason, “the translator is tempted to create artificial distance in order to gain freedom of action” (Arrowsmith 1961: 148). In addition, artificial distance can also be regarded as an interpretive and operative distance necessitated by the functionality of translation. Nevertheless, it is possible that excessive translational distance from the original as evidenced in unrestrained domestication undermines cross-cultural authenticity. As a result, the target reader is deprived of the opportunity to experience foreign otherness directly and intimately. It can indeed be said that any translation approach that generally works well is almost certainly attributable to an optimal translational distance, which eschews the two extremes of either reducing or increasing distance unduly, and is flexible enough to balance both objective distance and artificial distance. Thus artificial distance here primarily signifies necessary detachment from unnecessary entanglement with irresolvable linguistic and cultural specificities in the original. Meanwhile, it is also a dynamic distance, and through cross-cultural interactions between objective distance and artificial distance comes the realisation of vivacious end-results of translation. Either blurring or sharpening is applied to certain images, as a way to design an optimally balanced strategy, in order to achieve or enhance the desired performance outcome of translation. It is therefore important to find or create an optimal distance between specificity and abstraction, and in order to shun a confrontational approach, circular translation becomes an option because it increase the distance so that a softening effect is created. Moreover, the reproduction of certain meaning is only possible through detours. Translation invariably implies some degree of adaptation, alteration and transformation caused by and contributing to the change of distance. In the case of two languages that are notably different from one another, no unmediated translation of the surface meaning can really work, and mediation invariably concerns distance adjustment. If the distance in question is too short to allow sufficient space for adjustment, appropriation and localisation, it becomes necessary to expand that space. Many rhetorical artifices or devices, including metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony, cannot be transferred directly – yet can be translated at a distance. Basically, it takes constant adjustment of distance to minimise the possibility of producing an awkward translation. In brief, the satisfaction of the urgent 37
demand for creating an artificial distance to stave off untranslatability rests on operational adjustments of stylistic form that adds to the aesthetic appeal of the translated text. Translation calls for a variety of changes of distance, subtle or otherwise, and explores cultural difference through the systematic articulation of nuances or tensions by amplifying or adulterating certain aspects of the original. Some specific modes of translational distance are of strategic significance and convenience in terms of coming to grips with cultural alienation. As Maria Tymoczko (1999: 34) rightly points out: “... a literary translator chooses an emphasis or privileges an aspect of the text to be transposed in translation (e.g., linguistic fidelity, tone, form, cultural content, or some combination thereof)”. This is typically symptomatic of the mode of Chinese translation in the late Qing period. In Lin Shu’s translation of David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, it is obvious that the translator conceals some of the Western values and beliefs in the original and replaces them with traditional Chinese ones as in Miss Betsey’s pronouncement: “From the moment of this girl’s birth, child, I intend to be her friend.” Lin renders it as ↔ྣа⭏, ੮ণᶱሶᣔѻ. A back translation would be: “I will do my utmost to protect her at her birth” (my italics). What is foregrounded in translation is her role as a patron rather than as a friend. The conspicuous absence of “friend” in translation merely emphasises the translator’s refusal to accept or convey what is specifically characteristic of the Western value of egalitarianism. Apparently, the implied equality does not conform to the Chinese cultural values as perceived by the translator, who sees the age difference between the two characters, of distinctly different generations, as a hierarchical distance only to be maintained on account of the prevailing attitude of the target culture at the time. The target reader would find it inconceivable for an elderly lady to make friends with an unborn baby. Thus a deliberately distancing effect is considered to be necessary to keep them apart. The importance of the character being mindful of not only of the age gap but also the status gap is emphatically expressed, and in addition, there is also a psychological distance involved here. Contrary to common belief, to establish the minimum distance between source and target texts is not necessarily a safeguard against unfaithfulness for the plain reason that the minimum distance is not always an optimal one. In the event of untranslatability, distance is intended to make space for the translator to make better use of the linguistic and cultural resources available in the target language. In general, distance is determined by the consideration of how best practical translation problems can be tackled. In reality, distance denotes selection and trial, inclusion and exclusion. Clearly, the question of distance needs to be analysed in conjunction with any other related factors that affect translation as well. In practical terms, the translator may wish to 38
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keep the distance between themselves and what is advocated in the original. This is particularly so during a politically sensitive period in certain countries like China. Such a practice is best exemplified by the translator in the prefaces to their translations, repeatedly reminding the target reader to maintain a critical stance to what they are about to read. So distance, in a nutshell, is manifest in the complex, multivalent processes of cultural translation. Translation is usually preceded by interpretation, which always produces a distancing effect. According to John W. Stanley (1994: x): “... the translator is forced to do some interpreting, thereby distancing the translation from the original text and, hence, from the otherness embedded in the linguistic structures of the original language”. To sum up, to optimally and accurately capture what is embedded in the original, distance is introduced and adjusted from time to time in response to whatever challenge the source text may present. Needless to say, the multivalent character of interpretation regarding the different semantic possibilities of a given word, phrase, or metaphor engenders distance shifts in translation. 4. Cultural distance and foreignisation Foreignising translation minimises the distance between source and target texts at the risk of alienating the target reader, because at the same time it is bound to increase historical and cultural distance. Foreignisation brings about intimacy: the target reader is brought into direct contact with the original, more or less unmediated or unassisted as the case may be. But since it is possible for this intimacy to be perceived as imposed, it may appear to be unnerving and unsettling. Foreignisation is strongly identified with unidiomatic rendering, and, without sufficient mediation, breeds a sense of alienation, which is indicative of, unavoidably, reduced readability or even inaccessibility. The extant cultural distance is ignored as if to induce the target reader to circumvent it. While maintaining the cultural distance between the source and target languages, foreignisation distances translation from the norms of the target language and culture. Consequently, the target reader is uprooted from their linguistic and cultural context so as to trigger a sense of cultural alienation. Venuti (1998: 84) champions foreignisation in the specific context of Anglo-American translation practice, and asks the rhetorical question: “Can a translator maintain a critical distance from domestic norms without dooming a translation to be dismissed as unreadable?” From a cross-cultural perspective, foreignisation is a perfectly legitimate translation strategy. Nevertheless, while directness and immediacy are unquestionably empowering, it is important to be aware of the basic requirement of acceptability with regard to any translated texts.
It is worth mentioning that foreignisation, which brings the target reader into close contact with the original, can increase the alienating cultural distance between the two. This dialectic of intimacy and alienation, estrangement and reconciliation, strikes at the heart of how to make foreignisation a viable translation strategy, which allows the difference between the past and the present to emerge in the reading process. In spite of seemingly relentless efforts to create close proximity as shown in an intimacy with the source text that suggests closeness or the reduction of distance, sometimes the translator encourages the target reader to distance themselves from the source text for a variety of reasons, one of which is that they are able to stand back to have a better view of a larger picture. Since too close viewing only obscures the vision, a sense of proportion can be lost. On the other hand, however, foreignisation tends to curtail the role of mediation so that a somewhat undersigned or uncontrolled strangeness is produced. The paradox is that unmediated closeness as reified in strangeness creates a sense of distance in terms of understanding and responding to the translated text. And it is precisely distance that is culpable to some translation problems as in the case of metaphors being directly transferred to the translated text: on the surface the same distance is maintained, yet metaphors in many cases are not directly transferrable, and thus in reality, they are either transformed or replaced as a result of appropriation. As is repeatedly stated, translation is concerned principally with the relative distance between source and target cultures and languages. Although proximity and match are not the same, they are often brought to bear on particular acts of translation. Proximity is the closest possible match between source and target texts, representing the maximum overlap of the two semantic fields. In March 2011, the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao appealed to real estate developers in China, saying: “ԜⲴ䓛кҏᓄ䈕⍱⵰䚃ᗧⲴ㹰 ⏢Ǆ” (In you should flow moral blood). The outcome of translation is in closest proximity to the original. The directness and immediacy of experience come effectively into play. However, if the English translation reads like: “blood of moral responsibility (decision, courage, life, principles, values)”, proximity is practically vitiated, the result of which is the creation of some unnecessary distance, only to weaken the effect of articulation. In contrast to “moral blood” which coincides with its Chinese equivalent, “moral fibre”, however, if directly translated into Chinese, would be deeply problematic, because there is simply no such thing as “䚃ᗧ㓔㔤” in Chinese. The word “fibre” has to be substituted by something like “䟿” (strength). So the direct distance between the two linguistic codes has to be changed: directness is to be replaced by indirectness, hence the shift of distance resulting in the loss of the original proximity to the target language with the concrete image
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of “fiber” being removed in translation. In the final analysis, the cultural meaning of directness and indirectness is significantly related to the difference of distance. And to overcome barriers to cross-cultural communication rests with the enabling power of adjusting the distance to ease the burden of estrangement. Distance not only separates the source and target texts but also alienates translation, and while foreignisation brings the source and target texts closer, it alienates the target reader due to the noticeably increased linguistic and cultural distance between the translated text and the target reader, who are naturally much more familiar with the norms of the target language. This, of course, does not impugn the value of foreignisation: the target reader may wish to experience and can indeed enjoy a certain degree of estrangement typically associated with the foreign, which is patently less diluted or distorted. And the directness that stems from the minimal distance between the source and target texts is an unmistakable demonstration of how the target language and culture can be enriched and expanded. The adjustment of distance indicates that foreignisation is conditioned and constrained by the (un)willingness of the target reader, whose tolerance of, or eagerness for, the unfamiliar is a necessary precondition for foreignisation. In addition, it should be noted that the distance between self and other varies widely from case to case. After all, it is possible for self to identify with other whereas the distancing effect of foreign otherness is felt more keenly by some people who prefer to learn about other at a distance with the help of adaptive translation. In a sense, the perceived upshot of foreignisation provides a larger space for cultural contestations by turning the familiar linguistic form of the target language into something unfamiliar for the purpose of negotiating the distance of perception and appreciation. 5. Focalisation and distancing effects Translation makes it possible to communicate to a different audience across a temporal, spatial and cultural distance. In the process of translation and as a result of cross-cultural difference, the original cultural intimacy shaped by familiarity with the source culture may disappear or diminish. However, as indicated earlier, intimacy as epitomised by foreignisation can be a daunting prospect, for it constrains the translator presenting the general meaning of the original. To this end, distance is required to activate the complicated process of reconfiguration to capture the relatively indeterminate meaning of the original, without being trammelled by adhering too closely to its syntax and other formal features. This entails making translation decisions, and any decision-making is explicitly connected with establishing a frame for a holistic approach to the semantic, lexical, grammatical and stylistic aspects of 41
translation with regard to the pertinent parameters with regard to norms, conventions and properties. For example, when word-play turns out to be untranslatable, the preferred and common solution is to translate meaning at the cost of losing some formal features. If the playfulness of language is eschewed for fear of its possible untranslatability, the shift of focus has patent implications to the distance between the two languages involved in translation. A translation unit framed in such a way enables the reader to see different things, and spatial proximity and distance are bound to be affected as a result of the way it is framed. In this respect, concretisation results primarily from focalisation, with sharpening of focus on certain quintessentially representative parts or features singled out for translation. Literary concretisation culminates in the enhancement of reading experience, and such appropriation of an aesthetic space gives rise to aesthetic empathy. Sometimes concretisation is a means of cultural contextualisation, or rather, re-contextualisation, and can also be an enrichment through specific added details to foreground what is regarded as relevant and important by the translator. To give one example from The Call of the Wild by Jack London: “It was beautiful spring weather, but neither dogs nor humans were aware of it.” It is rendered as ᰦ٬㧪આ⠅Ⲵ ᱕ᰕˈ䱣ݹ᰾ˈնᱟн䇪⤇ᡆ㘵Ӫ䜭⋑ᴹ㿹ሏࡠ䘉а⛩ . A back translation reveals how focalisation is enacted and privileged: “It was springtime with birds trilling and the sun shining, but neither dogs nor humans were aware of it.” The modifier “beautiful” in the original is concretised as “birds trilling and the sun shining” in the translated text to visually convey the beautiful spring season. Whether this variation of the basic meaning as a form of visual performance is justifiable or not can be debated and is a different matter. Something subjective unequivocally creeps into the translation, but the added details are not irrelevant, as they help increase the attractive liveliness of the translated text. An intimate act of reading offers an intimate way of doing translation and the target reader is given the chance to share the same intimacy enjoyed by the source reader. However, in reality, such intimacy is not often provided, for presence and absence are co-constitutive of myriad translation practices to bypass the most difficult or problematic parts of the translation process. The necessary appropriation of surface meaning leads justifiably to its erasure considering that it may otherwise be untranslatable. Let us examine one example that fits into this category: ᡁ৻ᴹаˈᶱ䍔ᜐˈᰕᰕѮṸ喀ⴹˈ ᇦѝ亷ᴹцཆṳⓀѻᝏǄIf the surface meaning is kept intact, it may well verge on the ridiculous: “My friend has a wife, who is extremely virtuous. She holds the serving tray all the way up to her eyebrows (to serve him). And his home is reminiscent of a garden of idyllic beauty.” A sense of humour is
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markedly registered in the original, yet to produce the playfulness in translation can be something risky to attempt: any contextual shifts would make such a translation problematic, for there is no way to delimit the perception of the potentially disturbing image of a wife who behaves like a servant. An alternative version can be something like: My friend has a loving wife who tries everything in her power to look after him, which makes their home like Xanadu. By simplifying and zooming out the original image, we increase the distance that is safe enough to stave off any literal interpretation to be made by the target reader. As for the lost humour, some compensatory measure can be taken: “His every whim is indulged.” Or, “His every whim is her command.” A similar example also shows the necessity to remove or change a specific image: “ྩᱟа䍟⡡㘈ቮᐤⲴ”. In Chinese, the phrase 㘈ቮᐤ, literally means “stick up one’s tail” to describe someone haughty or snooty, but it cannot be expected to work in the target language if transferred directly. Several versions to avoid this problem are suggested as follows: She tends to get swollen-headed. She is too big for her britches (boots). She is a bit caught up in her own self-importance. She has suffered chronically an inflated sense of self-importance She is always a self-important figure. She is always insufferably cocky. Like the original, the first two versions also use images, albeit different ones without mentioning “tail”, because “tail” does not have the same function in the target language. In a like manner, “tail” in Chinese often conjures up a negative image: Ԇ䛓൘кਨ䶒᩷ቮ䇘ྭⲴṧᆀ䇙ᡁᚦᗳ. (He is fawning and obsequious to his superiors, which just makes me feel sick.) In Chinese, it literally means that he behaves like a tail-wagging dog. In this case there is little need to bring “tail” into close-up, and in translation, the originally framed part is taken out with telescopic detachment. However, in view of different cultural perceptions of a tail-wagging dog, the removal of the image in translation precludes the possibility of an inappropriate association on the part of the target reader. Through a process of abstraction as opposed to concretisation as a means of spatial manipulation, the strange and unfamiliar is contained and normalised to some extent. When aesthetic proximity cannot be introduced in translation, de-visualisation becomes a preferred option on the grounds that an appropriate degree of cultural conformity is required to overcome barriers to cross-cultural communication. In many ways, to capture something quintessential about the original, be it semantic or formal or both, remains the 43
most important task for the translator, who would find it useful to establish a frame for working out specific ways to tackle the details and particulars to be translated. Essentially, a contextual frame is needed to better focus on, interpret, and present the indispensable parts of the original. Of course, it is not always possible to create the same semantic or formal properties as in the source text. Thus, when an identical or verbatim reproduction is out of the question, an abstract representation is more suitable for enacting the readjustment of focal points to give more scope for flexibility by allowing the change of cultural and aesthetic distance. A translation may be distanced from the original visual language by using a different linguistic and cultural frame based on an understanding of the cultural and aesthetic distance involved while forming a feasible alternative for battling what are considered to be serious translation problems. 6. Concluding remarks There is no doubt that distance is a key concept in relation to translation, which is concerned with the transmission of more than meaning across historical, linguistic, and cultural space. To reflect upon the causes and implications of distance is to better understand how translation actually works in a cross-cultural sense. The adjustment of distance leads to blurring or sharpening of certain details in the original, which will impact the overall effect of translation. Distance refers fundamentally to perceived differences, similarities, registers and so on. Relatedly, negotiations about distance adjustment determine how distance functions in translation in general, and foreground the impact of focalisation and adaptation in particular. To shorten the objective distance between the source text and target reader by adjusting the translational distance prepares the way for understanding the nature of translation. The dissolution of the idiom in the original performs the function to overcome strangeness inherent in cultural distance. Translation focuses on contingency or undecidability, which conditions and influences how translation decisions are made. Given that no complete translation is attainable and its manifestations may be elusive and shifting, a translation is constantly prompted to vacillate between presence and absence, explicitness and implicitness, as well as the literal and the figurative. It is often difficult to approach translation from an objective perspective for translation is often produced by a displacement of perspective, thereby causing distance shifts between two sets of linguistic and cultural values. Furthermore, interpretive undecidability risks destabilisation of the translated text. Because the notion of “perspective” is associated with the visual effect of reading and translating, the shifting array of factors affecting distance suggests that translation is characterised by perpetual contingency, historicity, 44
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and arbitrariness. The endless change and adjustment of distance is therefore driven by the exigencies of primary needs for translation to work in a certain way. References Arrowsmith, William. 1961. ‘Artificial horizon: Translator as navigator’ in Arrowsmith, William & Roger Shattuck (eds) The Craft & Context of Translation: A Symposium. Austin: University of Texas Press. 141-154. Déprats, Jean-Michel. 2001. ‘Translation at the intersections of history’ in Bristol, Michael & Kathleen McLuskie, with Christopher Holmes (eds) Shakespeare and Modern Theatre: The Performance of Modernity. London: Routledge. 75-92. Hu, Shi. 1924. ‘Wushinian Lai Zhi Zhongguo Wenxue’ (Fifty years of Chinese literature) in Collection of Hu Shi, Vol. 2. Shanghai: Shanghai Shudian. Larson, Mildred L. 2008. Translation: Theory and Practice, Tension and Interdependence. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Pontiero, Giovanni. 1997. The Translator’s Dialogue. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Qian, Zhongshu. 1981. Lin Shu de Fanyi (Lin Shu’s Translation). Beijing: Commercial Press. Snell-Hornby, Mary. 1995. Translation: An Integrated Approach. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Stanley, John. W. 1994. ‘The Translator’s Preface’, in (Gadamer, H. G.). Heidegger's Ways (tr. J. W. Stanley). Albany: State University of New York Press. Steiner, George. 1975. After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation. New York: Oxford University Press. Tymoczko, Maria. 1999. ‘Post-Colonial Writing and Literary Translation’ in Bassnett, Susan & Harish Trivedi (eds) Post-Colonial Translation: Theory and Practice. London: Routledge. 19-40. Venuti, Lawrence. 1998. The Scandals of Translation: Towards an Ethics of Difference. London: Routledge.
Chinese-English Translation: Opportunities and Challenges in the Era of Globalisation Youyi Huang Translators Association of China (China) Abstract Translation from Chinese into English is on the rise in the translation market in China. This development poses many challenges to the translation community and various efforts are been being made to cope with the changes.
Keywords translation, Chinese-English (C-E), translation market
Translating from Chinese into English went hand in hand with the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and even more so with the country’s reform and opening up programme which began in 1978. The English edition of the Constitution of China, the Marriage Law, many of Mao’s works, and stories written by Lu Xun, the great writer of the early twentieth century, were some of the early examples. The 100-volume Library of Chinese Classics in English to be completed in 2014, the 10-volume China Studies, and the four great literary classics – Dream of the Red Mansion, Journey to the West, Outlaws of the Marsh and The Three Kingdom, as well as the six-volume traditional Chinese medicine book Compendium of Materia Medica, which have already been published, are some of the examples in the last decade. Chinese-English (C-E) translation has been an intellectual foundation and a prerequisite for China’s efforts in integrating with the rest of the world in the last three decades. An interesting point is that C-E translation is still chiefly done by Chinese translators, and this particular task of working from one’s mother tongue into a foreign language has posed a great challenge for Chinese translators. To present a culture and a country by doing the translation “the wrong way around” also represents one of the greatest efforts in the translation profession worldwide. The reasons for this particular situation are many. Basically, Chinese is so different from Roman or Latin based languages that compared with the enormous volume of materials to translate into foreign languages, there have been just too few foreigners who have managed to master the Chinese
language. Before the launch of the reform and opening up programme, there was so little exchange between China and the rest of the world that few foreigners saw any advantage in studying the language. So when work in translating Chinese into foreign languages suddenly emerged, there were just not enough Chinese-speaking foreigners to take on the task. While translating from mother tongue into a foreign language has long been regarded in the profession of translation throughout the world as the “wrong choice”, for Chinese translators, it has almost been the only choice. There have been both positive experiences and lessons in how to undertake this daunting task. Until an entire contingent of foreign translators fluent in Chinese can emerge and take over the majority of the work of C-E translation, people must continue to explore ways to help Chinese translators carry on the difficult, but worthy mission, of translating Chinese into English and other foreign languages. 2. Ever-increasing C-E translation work In my own experience, until the early 1970s, C-E translation focused mostly on Chinese literature and on the works of Chairman Mao. Then towards the end of the 1970s came the drive of reform and opening up. With the growing interest in the current situation in China shown by foreign readers, China began to produce booklets on just about every basic aspect of the country, from economy to culture, from science to education, from marriage customs to burial traditions. Very soon we found ourselves translating thick books of what were then described as basic facts and figures, which even included archaeological reports. Translating history books, traditional Chinese medicine handbooks, tourist guidebooks and investment manuals was all in a day’s work. When China negotiated with other countries on bilateral trade agreements and on China’s entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO), we moved on to translating materials on virtually all sectors of the economy. As translators, we had to switch from one subject to a totally unrelated topic whenever we were given a new assignment. As China’s economy keeps growing and generating greater worldwide interest, the work of C-E translation continues to increase. This includes conference speeches, export product introductions, tourist guides, street signs, financial contracts and, as China becomes the guest country at different international book fairs, increasing numbers of Chinese books and a growing volume of material on every subject imaginable. This new development has also returned literary works to the field of translation after almost 30 years of absence. Thus, in 2007 and 2008, I found myself working on Chinese short stories once again in preparing to present Chinese literature to book fair
Chinese-English Translation: Opportunities and Challenges
visitors when China was to be the guest country at the renowned Frankfurt Book Fair in 2009. China’s new drive for urbanisation in the vast central and Western regions, and its expansion of news media in the hope of better explaining the country to the outside and often sceptical world, bring translators even more work to do. All the signs seem to suggest that the more China grows economically, the greater amount of translation there is waiting to be tackled. 3. Enormous challenges in C-E translation C-E translation faces several problems and challenges: first, lack of linguistic proficiency; second, lack of professionalism; third, lack of cross-cultural knowledge; fourth; the missing link of professional education; fifth, lack of proper management; and sixth, shortage of competent professionals. Let’s look at some of the examples that illustrate these problems. First, lack of linguistic proficiency. Almost every locality and every industry emphasises the need to integrate with the rest of the world, particularly in the age of globalisation. So “Guojihua” (ഭ䱵ॆ) has become a catch word. Thus we came across such a slogan as “Sichuan is going globally!” ˄䎠ੁഭ䱵ॆⲴഋᐍ˅ Actually, what should be said is that “Sichuan is becoming international!” Second, lack of professional conduct. Translation is a very serious job, and intellectually it is highly demanding; yet inevitably you have people who are motivated by quick money rather than a sense of professional accomplishment. So “Junmei qiaoli de shanfeng” ( 㖾ጝ・Ⲵኡጠ )ˈor graceful and precipitous mountains, become “dangerous mountains”, and so a beautiful tourist attraction becomes a place you would choose to stay away from. “Chaoshi de qihou” ˄ ▞ ⒯ Ⲵ ≄ ˅ ىor humid climate becomes “dump weather”; a “Malei zhiwu yanjiu suo” ˄哫㊫Ἵ⢙⹄ウᡰ˅or hemp plant research institute becomes a “marijuana institute”. Third, lack of cross-cultural knowledge. Compared with the two previous problems, this is a much more complicated issue and requires much more work to address it. So perhaps we should review this problem with more than just one example. Lack of cultural background in English often leads to mistranslations. Hearing a senior official introducing one of his colleagues in charge of security matters saying something in Chinese like “He is the oldest in our group”, “Tashi women de lao dage” (ԆᱟᡁԜⲴ㘱 བྷକ ) the interpreter simply said in English that “He is our big brother”. Foreigners hearing this burst into laughter, and the innocent interpreter was mystified. He had not read the famous book 1984, and had no idea what “Big Brother” meant in the political context in English language. 49
To integrate with the world economy and become an international partner is what China is trying to achieve, and thus the phrase “going out” (䎠ࠪ৫) is heard and read repeatedly. In Chinese, we hear that “Chinese culture should go out,” “Chinese finance should go out,” and even “Let China’s military go out”. If the words “going out” in such cases are rendered into something like “Increase the international market share of China’s entertainment products,” it makes better sense. If people say “China should strengthen international financial cooperation”, what China aims to do will be accepted much more easily. In particular, “to increase military exchanges” sounds much less menacing than “let China’s military go out”. In May this year, Kissinger published his new book On China. In one of the chapters, he discussed China’s foreign policy in the 1990s. A component part of that policy in Chinese was “taoguang yanghui” (东ޫݹᲖ). Again, as in many works by Western scholars, he translated “taoguang yanghui” as “to hide our capabilities and bide our time”. I have come across other interpretations including “to hide our ability and pretend to be weak”. Well, these translations may work for the Chinese phrase in some cases, but they miss the real meaning of Deng Xiaoping’s idea when he used the phrase to define China’s foreign policy. Given the situation at the time, what he was driving at was that China should keep a low profile and avoid trying to take on a role of leadership while the Soviet Union was breaking into independent states – that China should not try to brandish the banner of traditional communist ideology. Instead, China should concentrate on its own affairs, principally economic development. If you analyse the whole statement of the policy, it becomes clear that Deng was not at all suggesting that China should pretend to be weak or hide its capabilities in the hope of one day gaining the upper hand. To be honest, China was not strong enough to be a world leader and had no intention of trying to be a world leader. In the era of information, China had nothing to hide and could not hide its intentions anyway. As a matter of fact, as soon as this policy was stated, official translators in China agreed to use the phrase “keeping a low profile” for “taoguang yanghui”. It has mostly been foreigners, for various reasons, who have chosen to render it as “hiding our capabilities” and “biding our time”. I believe that this particular example is not purely an academic issue; rather it is a matter a principle, because it is too important to be misrepresented. Examples of word-for-word translation or interpretation, giving no consideration to cultural differences, can lead to great laughs. One such case involved translating the dialogue between the Chinese leader (who is also chair of the Central Military Commission) during the National Day parade. The Chinese leader, speaking through a loudspeaker fixed to a limousine driven in front of the officers and men, repeats the following: “Tongzhimen hao! Tongzhimen xinkule!” ( ਼ᘇԜྭʽ਼ᘇԜ䗋㤖Ҷʽ ) To which the 50
Chinese-English Translation: Opportunities and Challenges
military would reply: “Shouzhanghao! Wei renmin fuwu!” ˄俆䮯ྭʽѪӪ
≁ᴽʽ˅ There is no similar custom in the West and so we cannot find a direct equivalent in the English language. Clearly, this dialogue should not be translated word-for-word, but should be rendered into something like “The chief of the military greeted the soldiers, who returned their respect for the leader in a loud voice”. Instead, during one parade, the interpreter provided a rigid word-for-word voiceover to the TV microphone; the leader said: “Hello, comrades. You have worked hard!” And the soldiers shouted back saying: “Hello leader, we serve the people!” The translation turned the solemn occasion into something that sounded like a gang conversation. Chinese officials sometimes greet visiting foreigners by opening their conversation with these words: “Nimen buyuan wanli laidao zhongguo, yiding henleile!” ( Ԝ н 䘌 з 䟼 ᶕ ࡠ ѝ ഭ ˈ а ᇊ ᖸ ㍟ Ҷ ʽ ) An inexperienced interpreter will often turn this into something like: “You’ve travelled more than ten thousand li and you must be very tired!” This might make the visitors rather uneasy, as they may feel that they must look terrible to the host, otherwise why would he have suggested that they looked very tired? In fact, what the Chinese official is saying is simply another way of saying “You’re most welcome!” These tricks are easy to grasp, and the key is not to translate word-forword, but to translate the real meaning behind each word. In translating books, the translator must have the reader in mind. The translator’s job should be to help sell the book rather than to discourage potential readers. Normally in a bookstore it takes the reader a matter of seconds to decide to take a closer look at a book or to move on to the next bookshelf. So translating book titles is a key task in book translation. One example is a book title in Chinese: “Zhongguo huangdide gushi” (ѝഭⲷᑍⲴ᭵һ). You could translate that as Stories of Chinese Emperors, but I doubt that would attract much interest from potential readers. The translator can add something that will encourage Western readers to become interested. One suggestion might be to make Stories of Chinese Emperors a secondary title, while giving prominence to Sons of Heaven, to make the whole title something like Sons of Heaven – Stories of Chinese Emperors. Another book in the same series has the Chinese title: “Gudai zhanzheng gushi” (ਔԓᡈҹ᭵һ). One could simply translate the title into War Stories in Ancient History, but this sounds too dry to pique the reader’s curiosity. A solution to make the book title more attractive might be to add something like The Rise and Fall of the Empires – Stories of Ancient Wars in China. It might seem that the translator is taking too much liberty, but I would argue the
contrary, that the translator is a genuinely dutiful and sensitive worker who is trying to make sure that his version conveys the real intention of the writer. There is a book intended to help foreign readers get a rough but quite thorough idea of Chinese history. It deals with the entire 4,000 years from the legendary Xia Dynasty to the present reform period. The original Chinese title is “Zhongguo jianshi” ( ѝഭㆰਢ ). The translator felt that a direct translation, A Concise History of China, would be of little help in selling the book to potential English readers, so he chose to add something, making the title: China Through the Ages – From Confucius to Deng. This drew criticism from some Chinese book reviewers, saying that the translation failed to do justice to the rich content of the book, which began not with Confucius but with the legendary emperors and which did not end with Deng since it covered the harmonious society concept of the current Chinese leadership. They suggested something like From the Three Kings and Five Emperors to Hu Jintao. While this may be closer to the content of the book, the reader may find it less tempting – though they have heard of Confucius and Deng, they probably know very little about the ancient legendary rulers. In translating Chinese books it is not unusual to come across in the preface a common expression among Chinese scholars: “Youyu benren shuiping he shijian youxian, shu zhong miuwu yinding bushao, jingqing piping zhizheng” (⭡ҾᵜӪ≤ᒣ઼ᰦ䰤ᴹ䲀ˈҖѝаᇊ䉜䈟нቁˈᮜ䈧ᢩ䇴ᤷ↓ ). If you translate this directly, you will come up with something like “Because of the limited time available and the lowly academic level of the author, there are bound to be many mistakes in the book. You are welcome to point them out and offer criticism”. Well, reading this, a Western reader will inevitably ask: “If you are aware of the mistakes in the book, why don’t you correct them in the first place?” Therefore a word-for-word translation which totally ignores cultural differences will by no means convey the modest and scholarly attitude of the author; rather, it will only raise some questions about his or her academic credentials. Typically, a Western author will be advised by the publisher to suggest that “This book is by far the most authoritative work on the subject”. Of course, omitting to translate the original Chinese at all, or replacing it with a typical Western phrase would not do justice to the author or the reader. So perhaps we can tone down the Chinese and express it as something like this: “Critique from readers will be welcomed”. Fourth, the missing link of professional education. For years and years, Chinese universities offered courses in foreign literature and linguistics. Many also offered translation studies, focusing mostly on theory. Theory is very important, but the missing element was the teaching of translation and interpreting as a profession. I was involved in hiring new translators and interpreters for many years and what we expected was graduates, and particularly post-graduates, to arrive at the office and be able to do the job the 52
Chinese-English Translation: Opportunities and Challenges
next day. We soon realised that they were just not armed with the basic skills to handle C-E translation work. Interpreters did not realise the importance of taking notes. Some came to the meeting room improperly dressed. On beginning to translate, they would speak in such a low voice, addressing only the principal guest, that most of the people in the meeting room could not hear a thing. Translators did not know that in translating the names of Chinese people living overseas, they had to look up the particular spelling, they simply did a direct translation into Chinese pinyin. So Professor Lawrence J. Lau (ࡈ䚥ѹᮉᦸ) became Professor Liu Zunyi, a name few people could associate with the real person. Such issues were largely due to the fact that it was not really in the university syllabus to teach and prepare students to handle real translation work once they graduated. They were given entirely theoretical knowledge on English literature and linguistics. So for almost 60 years, no students were really coming out of professional translation programmes. It was not until 2007 that the Ministry of Education decided to reduce the number of research-oriented post-graduate students and quickly strengthen their efforts in training professional translators and interpreters. Now that this gap is finally being bridged, we are faced with the new challenge of having enough qualified teachers to train professional translators and interpreters. Fifth, lack of proper management. And this is the direct result of the lack of understanding of the professional nature of C-E translation. This is also at the root of many poor translation jobs. The scenario is often like this: when there is a large-scale international event such as a conference or an exhibition, no proper plan is prepared for the translation. It is only at the last minute that someone in charge of the project realises that interpreters and translators must be hired, and then he or she has no idea where to find the proper people. Also it is often the case that a document in Chinese is prepared over a long period of time but on the last day before publication it is realised that the whole document must be translated into foreign languages. By that time it is simply too late for any one or any group of translators to come up with a satisfactory rendering of the text. To be honest and fair, China is a country where interpreters are much better treated and much more highly regarded than in many other countries, but people do not know that translating from Chinese into internationally publishable English requires more than just that. For example, some of the Chinese needs to be explained by the writer to the translator, and some must even be rewritten in order to make it understandable to native foreign language speakers, but when the translator raises such issues, often the reply is “We are just asking you to translate, why so many questions!” Many people still strongly believe that anyone with a foreign language education can translate. A most convincing and alarming example is a person 53
who translated a pamphlet for a Chinese county and came up with a line saying “Last year, our county set up a prostitute factory”. It is only too obvious that the Chinese original term “yanhua gongchang” ( ✏㣡ᐕল ) meant a fireworks factory. The fact that such a mistake could be committed is a classic example of the lack of professionalism on the part of the person in charge of the publishing project and the person doing the actual translation. It can be inferred that a local publicity authority in charge of putting out the pamphlet hired a non-professional C-E translator. The translator in this case could well have been a middle school teacher known in the county as someone whose English was “pretty good”. He took on the job but did not know how to translate “yanhua”. So he found an out-of-date dictionary, looked up under the entry for “yanhua”, and quickly copied the first meaning, not bothering to read the rest of the options and thus not seeing that the phrase also means “fireworks”. Consequently instead of translating “yanhua” as fireworks, he took the first word – prostitute. Had the person in charge of hiring the translator understood the professional qualifications needed by the right person for the job, or had the middle school teacher been clear-headed and had enough professional experience, such a bizarre mistake could have been avoided. When the China National Museum opened in the heart of Beijing earlier this year, visitors found signs saying “import” and “export” instead of “entry” and “exit” on the walls of many of the exhibition halls. Some microblog writers made a joke of it: “No wonder not many of the most impressive China’s cultural relics are available in the museum, because they have all been exported”. Who could have expected such basic mistakes to occur in such a high-brow cultural centre? But such was the case, testifying to the problem in C-E translation. The lack of management is not simply a technical or an isolated issue; it really indicates the lack of a holistic market management mechanism. The fact that anybody can set up a translation company and handle translation jobs without having to prove their intellectual or professional qualifications simply means that the translation market is not properly regulated or managed. Sixth, shortage of competent professionals. Having examined the previous five problems, it is obvious that China is in very short supply of competent professionals in C-E translation. Since translation as an industry is yet to be included in national statistics, it is hard to know exactly how many professional people are engaged in the work. What we do know is that there are 15,000 companies and agencies advertising themselves as professional translation companies, but we do not know how many certified translators there are on their payroll. We also know that over 20,000 people have passed the China Accreditation Test for Translators and Interpreters since this 54
Chinese-English Translation: Opportunities and Challenges
national test was introduced in 2003, but we do not know how many of them focus on C-E translation. We also do not know how many unprofessional or amateur translators are out there acting as if they were professionals. What we know is that there are simply not enough C-E translators with the skills required to produce publishable texts, thus many books lie there waiting to be translated, and poorly-produced translations are commonplace. The training for professional translators in university takes time to provide large numbers of qualified graduates. Foreigners with C-E translation skills are short in supply. At the same time, translation work continues to increase. So this shortage of supply is likely to accompany us for some more years. 4. Ways to improve C-E translation in China The first and foremost thing to do in meeting the challenge in C-E translation is to quickly train students to acquire professional skills. Until recently, to turn foreign language students into professional translators, it has been common practice to follow a tutor system, whereby a young potential translator does his work under the supervision of a senior translator who regularly reads and improves the young translator’s works. While an effective way to train translators, this one-to-one system cannot benefit enough translators to meet market demand. Luckily, in 2006 and 2007, the Ministry of Education decided to introduce translation programmes for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Now some 40 universities offer undergraduate translation programmes and more than 150 universities offer translation and interpreting programmes at the postgraduate level. The two-tutor system in training translators at postgraduate level, i.e., professional translators working together with university professors, should be encouraged in particular. In essence, there should be a steady supply to the translation market of students well-trained in the practical skills of translation, instead of pure theory. In the long run, foreign translators who have mastered the Chinese language should be drawn into C-E translation. The fact that there have not been enough foreigners doing C-E translation, due to a number of reasons, has been one of the root causes for unprofessional C-E translation. Ideally, foreigners should be the translators and preferably native Chinese can help revise the translations to ensure accuracy. What should be done is to encourage overseas Chinese to become involved in C-E translation. For instance, the American Translators Association alone has a Chinese language committee with more than 700 members, many of whom are excellent C-E translators. It has been suggested that a databank of overseas Chinese translators should be built. This also means that pay for C-
E translation should meet the local standards in different parts of the world so that overseas Chinese translators will be paid at the going rate. Many of the problems of professionalism in C-E translation stem from the lack of market regulation. Just imagine how hugely translation quality would be improved if all the 15,000 translation companies were manned by fully certified translators. The China Accreditation Test for Translators and Interpreters (CATTI) introduced by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the central government body in charge of managing professional qualifications, was first introduced in 2003. Now, some 200,000 people have taken the test and more than 10 percent have received documentation certifying them to work as professional translators and interpreters. However, unlike lawyers, doctors and accountants, the translator qualification is optional rather than a requirement for anyone entering the translation market. This leaves a great loophole in market regulation. The only way to introduce any market entry requirements is to first and foremost have a translation law, since market regulation has to be enforced within a legal framework. The task of regulating the translation market is going to be a long haul; translators in China are working hard towards the goal of introducing the necessary regulations.
Section Two — Literary Translation Strategies of Cultural Translation: A Contrastive Analysis of the Two English Versions of Hong Lou Meng Biao Zuo Shanghai Maritime University (China) Abstract This paper intends to explore strategies of cultural translation and their conditioning factors based on the contrastive study of the two English versions of Hong Lou Meng, Yang Hsien-yi and Gladys Yang’s A Dream of Red Mansions and David Hawkes’ The Story of the Stone. Part 1 presents the two versions’ different treatment of the original cultural messages in the novel such as the colour word 㓒(red), the animal words 嗉(dragon) and ࠔ(phoenix), the religious word ⾎ ԉ (immortal), the culinary words ㊣ (rice), 依 (meal), ⻇ (bowl) and 䬵 (pan), the ethical expressions йӾഋᗧ (three obediences and four virtues), ᙳמк(arrogance and insolence), 䍔 ᜐ (wifeliness), rhetorical devices and aesthetic concepts. Part 2 analyses their distinct translating strategies and the factors conditioning them. The Yangs’ version prefers literal translation while the Hawkes’ free translation; the former emphasises the rendition of meaning and the latter the production of effect; the former prioritises ‘cultural facsimile’ and the latter ‘cultural adaptation’. The translator’s cultural background, his purpose of translating and the target readership are the main factors conditioning the adoption of strategies. Part 3 expounds on the implications of the contrastive study on cultural translation. As a cultural mediator, the translator must develop a high sensitivity to cross-cultural communication, and take full account of the translating purpose, the target readership and the textual type when adopting a translating strategy.
Keywords cultural translation, strategy, facsimile, adaptation, purpose, readership
Just as David Katan (2004: 14) points out, translation theorists are beginning to see the translator as a mediator between cultures. Actually, ‘cultural translation’ is a popular term now and in the broad sense, it refers to any translation which is sensitive to cultural as well as to linguistic factors. Translation is regarded by many theorists and practitioners as ‘cross-cultural transfer’, ‘cross-cultural communication’ or as a ‘cross-cultural event’. SnellHornby (1995: 40) says, “The translation process can no longer be envisaged as being between two languages but between two cultures”. The translator is often regarded as a ‘cross-cultural specialist’, a ‘cultural operator’ or a ‘cultural mediator’. Hatim and Mason (1990: 223) emphasise the importance of the role of the translator as “a mediator between two parties for whom
mutual communication might otherwise be problematic”. Taft (1981: 12) defines the cultural mediator as “a person who facilitates communication, understanding, and action between persons or groups who differ with respect to language and culture”. The ‘cultural turn’ in 1980s can be said to be a farreaching reform in the international circles of translation (Gentzler 1993: 77). As early as in 1930s, some Chinese translators like Qu Qiubai and Lu Xun already entertained the idea of cultural translation though they did not use the term. Qu Qiubai (1931: 216) advocated that new cultural expressions should be introduced to the public through translation, and Lu Xun (1935: 246) placed emphasis on ‘exotic flavor’ in translation. In addition to the everincreasing research on the theory of cultural translation, many practitioners have employed its principle in their translating practice. This paper intends to explore strategies of cultural translation and their conditioning factors based on the contrastive study of the two English versions of Hong Lou Meng, Yang Hsien-yi and Gladys Yang’s A Dream of Red Mansions and David Hawkes’ The Story of the Stone. 1. A contrastive analysis of the different ways of treating cultural messages in the source language text Except for scientific and technological treatises, all texts, especially literary ones, necessarily contain some messages of a particular ethnic culture. Those messages are mainly carried by words, but may also be manifested in such forms as linguistic styles and rhetorical devices. Therefore, the translator has to deal with those cultural messages in one way or another, and his treatment is conditioned and influenced by his own cultural background and other relevant factors. Hong Lou Meng, an enduring masterpiece in Chinese literature, is a comprehensive agglomeration of traditional Chinese culture, which accommodates abundant cultural messages involving wide areas like medicine, gardening, architecture, calligraphy, painting, poetry, drama, cuisine, costume, antiques, etc. Both the Yangs and Hawkes attach great importance to the conveyance of those cultural messages in their respective versions and each displays his own ingenuity and exquisiteness in translation. The analysis of the difference between the two versions in terms of reproducing cultural messages is based on selected examples. Because of the limited length of the article, we have chosen only those remarkably different ways they adopt in treating such cultural messages as colour associations, totem images, culinary habits, ethical concepts, religious terms, literary devices, etc., so as to acquire certain enlightenment concerning cultural translation.
Strategies of Cultural Translation
1.1. The translation of the colour word ‘㓒 㓒’(red) Diagram 1. A contrast between the translations of ‘㓒’ (red) 㓒ᾬỖǃᙑ㓒䲒ǃᙑ㓒ޜᆀ A Dream of Red Mansions The Happy Red Court Happy Red Prince By the Yangs
The Story of the Stone The Dream of Golden Days The House of Green Delight Green Boy By Hawkes
We may easily find the two version’s divergent treatment of the colour word “㓒” by just casting a glance at their titles. The Yangs’ retention of Red (A Dream of Red Mansions)and Hawkes’ removal of the word (The Story of the Stone) are their inevitable rather than accidental choice. The red colour arouses entirely different associations in Chinese and Western cultures. It symbolises festivity, happiness and good luck in the former but signifies blood, danger and violence in the latter. Instead of red, the colours green and golden may call up pleasant associations to English-speaking people. Hawkes tactfully avoids the word red in the title of his version, yet he cannot possibly ignore the recurrent use of the word ‘㓒’ in the whole novel. Therefore, he adopts the change-colour tactic and translates ‘㓒’ into green or golden, which, he may presume, carry the similar symbolic meaning in English as red does in Chinese and, therefore, are more acceptable to his target Western readership. As a result, ‘䆖ᒫԉᴢ╄㓒ᾬỖ ’is rendered into ‘the Fairy Disenchantment Performs the Dream of Golden Days’, and ‘ᙑ㓒䲒’ and ‘ᙑ 㓒ޜᆀ’ are respectively converted to ‘the House of Green Delight’ and ‘Green Boy’. 1.2. The translation of symbolic animal words ‘ 嗉 ’ (dragon) and ‘ࠔ’(phoenix) Diagram 2. A contrast between the translations of ‘ 嗉 ’ (dragon) and ‘ࠔ’(phoenix) ≤ⓦ˄㿱Ԇ䈝䀰ᾊˈ䈸ੀᴹ㠤˅а䶒৸ੁ䍮᭯䚃˖“Ԕ䛾ⵏѳ嗉 傩ࠔ䳿”. The prince turned to observe to The prince observed to Jia Zheng Jia Zheng: “Your son is truly a that the young phoenix was dragon’s colt or young phoenix”. worthy of his sire. By the Yangs By Hawkes
The two words ‘嗉’ and dragon are not in any way equivalents (Biao Zuo 1999: 1-6). ‘嗉’ is “a legendary animal with scales, hairs and the power to make clouds and rain” (ǉ䗎⎧Ǌ: 1656). The dragon, in contrast, is “a large mythical monster with wings and the power to breathe out fire” (LDCE: 309) ‘嗉’ is the totem of the Chinese nation, loved and worshiped from generation to generation in China. Naturally, it could not possibly be left out in the Yangs’ version who were nurtured in Chinese culture. However, the Yangs should not be held responsible for the wrong rendition of ‘嗉’ into dragon. It is perhaps the error of the editor of the first ChineseEnglish dictionary with the entry of ‘嗉’, relayed to and followed by later dictionaries. In contrast, Hawkes is fully aware of the negative associative meaning of the word dragon, which symbolises destruction, violence and ferocity, and purposefully removes it from his translation of Shui Rong’s compliments. In fact, ‘ࠔ’and phoenix are not equivalents either. ‘ࠔ’ is “king of birds in a Chinese legend, colorful and beautiful with the head of the rooster, the neck of the snake, the chin of the swallow, the back of the tortoise and the tail of the fish” (ǉ䗎⎧Ǌ: 340). However, the phoenix is “an imaginary bird in ancient times, believed to live for 500 years and then burn itself and be born again from the ashes” (LDCE˖1122). The former symbolises a person with great virtues and the latter suggests rebirth and is sometimes analogous to a person with unique qualities. Although unequal, the two words both signify mythical birds and carry the overlapping representation of the qualities of an outstanding person, and that accounts for the rendition of ‘ࠔ’ into phoenix in both the Yangs’ and Hawkes’ versions. 1.3. The translation of culinary words Diagram 3a. A contrast between the translations of ‘㊣’ (rice) and ‘依’ (meal) ᐗუྷڊнࠪ⋑ᴹ㊣Ⲵ依ᶕˈਛᡁᘾѸ˛ Even the cleverest housewife …and I don’t see what I am can’t cook a meal without rice. supposed to do without any What do you expect me to do? capital. Even the cleverest housewife can’t make bread without flour. By the Yangs By Hawkes
Strategies of Cultural Translation
Diagram 3b. A contrast between the translations of ‘⻇’ (bowl) and ‘䬵’ (pan) 䛓㯋㘱བྷҏᱟ“ਲ਼⵰⻇䟼ⴻ⵰䬵䟼”ⲴǄ Hsueh Pan is another of those You know what cousin Hsueh is greedy guys who keep one eye like: always keep one eye on the on the bowl and the other on the dish and the other on the saucepan. pan. By the Yangs
In terms of the translating of some culinary words such as ‘㊣’, ‘依’, ‘䬵’, ‘⻇’, the Yangs’ retains the cultural messages of the original to the greatest possible extent, but Hawkes obviously attempts to adapt his translation to the Western culinary custom and habits. In Hawkes’ version, ‘cooking a meal with rice’ becomes ‘making bread with flour’, and the Chinese kitchen utensils ‘⻇’ (bowl) and ‘䬵’ (pan or wok) are converted to the dish and saucepan, which are customarily used by Western people. 1.4. The translation of ethical expressions Diagram 4a. A contrast between the translations of ‘ й Ӿ ഋ ᗧ ’ (three obediences and four virtues) and ‘䍔ᜐ’ (wifeliness) قҏйӾഋᗧⲴˈਚᱟ䘉䍔ᜐҏཚ䗷ҶǄ Quite a model of wifely I must congratulate you on your submission and virtue, aren’t wifely virtue – though I must say, you? Only you carry this that in this case you are carrying wifeliness a little far. obedience too far. By the Yangs By Hawkes Diagram 4b. A contrast between the translations of ‘ᙳמк’ (arrogance and insolence) and ‘ⴞח㘼㿶’ (viewing somebody with disfavour) ˄䍮䴘ᶁ˅㲭ᒢՈ䮯ˈᵚݽᴹӋ䍚䞧ѻᔺ˗фᙳמкˈ䛓Ӌ ᇈઈⲶⴞח㘼㿶Ǆ But although a capable But although his intelligence and administrator, Yucun was ability were outstanding, these grasping and ruthless, while his qualities were unfortunately offset arrogance and insolence to his by a certain cupidity and harshness superior made them view him and a tendency to use his with disfavour. intelligence in order to outwit his superiors; all of which caused his
By the Yangs
fellow-officials to cast envious glances in his direction. By Hawkes
In feudal times, the status of Chinese women was very low. ‘йӾഋᗧ’ refers to the ethical standards required of women only. ‘ й Ӿ ’ (three obediences) means that a Chinese woman was required to obey her father before marriage, and her husband during married life and her sons in widowhood. ‘ ഋ ᗧ ’ (four virtues) denotes fidelity, propriety in speech, physical charm and efficiency in needle work. The Yangs’ version emphasises the two focal words ‘Ӿ’ (obedience) and ‘ᗧ’ (virtue), and renders the phrase into ‘wifely submission and virtue’, which sounds concise and quite to the point. In contrast, equality is a relatively deep-seated Western tradition, which emerged as early as ancient Greek times and became quite established during the period of Renaissance. Accordingly, the idea of three obediences required of women is incomprehensible and unacceptable to Western people in general. In translating ‘йӾഋᗧ’, Hawkes noticeably omits ‘ Ӿ ’ (obedience), but retains ‘ ᗧ ’ (virtue). This treatment can be interpreted both as his conscious adoption of the strategy of adaptation or as the unconscious influence of his own cultural background. By the same token, ‘䍔ᜐ’ is rendered differently in the two versions (obedience vs. wifeliness) as well. Ancient China was characterised by a rigid social hierarchy and adoration for rank. Humility and self-restraint was considered as virtuous and the act of challenging or outwitting one’s superiors as outrageous. Contrastingly, individualism has been the basis of Western social system and people are encouraged to display their own personality and talents. It is quite interesting that in dealing with the translation of ‘ᙳמк’, the Yangs choose such derogatory words as arrogance and insolence while Hawkes selects commendatory words like intelligence and outwit. Similarly, ‘ⴞח㘼 㿶’ is translated by the Yangs into ‘view with disfavor’ (derogatory), and by Hawkes into ‘cast envious glances’ (commendatory). The apparently divergent and almost opposite renditions are the outcome of not only the two different translation strategies but also the different ethical attitudes of the translators.
Strategies of Cultural Translation
1.5. The translation of religious terms Diagram 5. A contrast between the translations of ‘⾎ԉ’ (immortal) ц Ӫ 䜭 ᲃ ⾎ ԉ ྭ ˈ ᜏ ᴹ ᘈ н Ҷ ʽ ਔӺሶ൘օᯩ˛㦂ߒаึ㥹⋑ҶǄ All men long to be immortals, Men all know that salvation Yet to riches and rank each should be won, But with ambition won’t have aspires; The great ones of old, where are done, have done, Where are the famous ones of they now? Their graves are a mass of briars. days gone by? In grassy graves they lie now, every one. By the Yangs By Hawkes ‘ྭҶⅼ’ (All Good Things Must End) is the theme verse of the novel. It consists of four stanzas. The contrast between the translations of the first stanza herein presented well embodies the two version’s different treatment of the religious terms in the original. The Yangs’ version retains the Taoist notion of longing to be immortals incorporated in the original while Hawkes’ version changes it into the Christian concept of seeking salvation. There is no direct evidence to suggest that Hawkes is a Christian himself, but it is indisputable that he takes full account of the fact that Christianity is the mainstream religion of his Western readership. Hawkes converts in his translation not only Taoist, but also Buddhist, terms into their Christian counterparts. A typical example is that the Buddhist term ‘ 䱯 ᕕ 䱰 ÿ(Amitabha) is converted to the Christian expression ‘God bless my soul’. ‘䈻һ൘Ӫ, ᡀһ൘ཙ’ (Man proposes, heaven disposes), an idiomatic saying, being rendered into ‘Man proposes, God disposes’ also reveals his Christian tendency. 1.6. The translation of aesthetic ideas Diagram 6a. A contrast between the translations of ‘ཙᴹн⍻仾ӁˈӪᴹᰖ ཅ⾨⾿’ ࠔကੜҶˈസݯ㓒Ҷॺཙˈॺᰕᯩ䈤䚃˖“ⵏᱟ‘ཙᴹн⍻仾Ӂˈ Ӫᴹᰖཅ⾨⾿’Ǆ䘉њᒤ㓚وᡆቡഐ䘉⯵кᘾѸṧҶˈӪ䘈⍫⵰ᴹ ⭊Ѹ䏓ݯʽ” Xifeng’s eyes became moist. Xi-feng’s eyes became moist and After a pause she exclaimed, for a moment she was too 63
“Truly, ‘Storms gather without warning in nature, and bad luck befalls men overnight’. But life is hardly worth living if such an illness can carry off one so young”. By the Yangs
overcome to speak. “I know ‘the weather and human life are both unpredictable’”, she said at last, “but she’s only a child still. If anything should happen to her as a result of this illness, I think all the fun would go out of life”. By Hawkes
Diagram 6b. A contrast between the translations of poetic rhyme schemes 䭖᭦㢣僘ˈ߰൏᧙仾⍱˗ 䍘ᵜ⌱ᶕ䘈⌱৫ˈнᮉ⊑␆䲧⋏Ǆ Better shroud the fair petals in silk With clean earth for their outer attire; For pure you came and pure shall you go, Not sinking into some foul ditch or mire.
By the Yangs
But better their remains in silk lay And bury underneath the wholesome clay, Pure substances the pure earth to enrich, Than leave to soak and stink in some foul ditch.
The beauty of symmetry is much appreciated and extolled in Chinese culture. This aesthetic idea can easily find its expression in all kinds of arts, linguistic and philological arts like poetry, drama, prose, calligraphy in particular, and in other arts such as choreography, architecture, sculpture, etc. In daily conversations, people can spontaneously blurt out such symmetrical sayings as ‘ᖃ䶒䈤Ӫ䈍ˈ㛼ਾ䈤公䈍’(speak human language to somebody’s face but talk devil’s language behind his back) and ‘䞂䙒⸕ᐡॳᶟቁˈ䈍нᣅᵪ ॺ ਕ ཊ ’ (For a congenial friend, a thousand toasts are too few; in a disagreeable conversation, one word more is too many). Hong Lou Meng is an unrivalled novel suffused with phrases and sentences of this kind, ‘ཙᴹн ⍻仾ӁˈӪᴹᰖཅ⾨⾿’ being an example. The Yangs’ version attempts to reproduce the symmetrical form as closely as the norm of the target language can allow while conveying the meaning of the source text, but Hawkes’
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version prioritises the reproduction of the original meaning without seeking the rigid representation of the original aesthetic form. The two version’s different strategies are also demonstrated in their reproduction of rhyme schemes in poetry. The typical rhyme scheme of Chinese poetry is ‘abcb’, that is, the ends of the lines of the even numbers rhyme with each other. The rhyme pattern of English poetry, however, is mainly ‘aabb’, that is, every neighbouring two lines rhyme, which is widely utilised in Shakespeare’s sonnets and other English poems. In translating the Poem of Burying Flowers by Lin Daiyu, the heroine of the novel, the Yangs’ version retains the original rhyme scheme ‘abcb’, while Hawkes’ version changes it into classic English scheme of ‘aabb’. Both reproductions are beautiful with pleasing rhythm and melodious rhyme, yet the diverse rhyme schemes presented display the contrastive aesthetic norms of the two cultures in general and the translators’ different personal aesthetic concepts as well. Diagram 7. A summary of the contrastive translations Types of cultural messages Colour associations
Cultural concepts reproduced in the Yangs’ version Red symbolises festivity, happiness and good luck. ‘嗉’ symbolises monarch, honour, and prosperity. ‘ࠔ’ partly symbolises virtue.
Rice; bowl and pan
Social hierarchy and self-restraint encouraged Taoism, Buddhism Symmetry; phonological beauty abcb
Religious ideas Rhetorical Aesthetic device concepts Rhyme scheme
Cultural concepts reproduced in Hawkes’ version Green and golden signify festivity, happiness and luck. Dragon symbolises destruction, chaos and ferocity. Phoenix partly symbolises outstanding quality. Bread; dish and saucepan Social equality and individualism advocated Christianity Precision; plainness aabb
People tend to orient their way of doing things consistently according to their culture-bound outlook and character. The same is true of the translator.
Besides other factors conditioning the choice of translation strategies, which is to be discussed below, the translator’s cultural orientation, i.e., his/her tendency towards a particular way of perceiving the cultural messages contained in the source text, is obviously an important one. There are two ways of reproducing the cultural messages the translator perceives: presenting the target language recipients with a transparent and sometimes novel text which informs them about elements of the source culture, or finding target items which may in some way be considered to be culturally ‘equivalent’ to the source text items and acceptable to the target language recipients. The Yangs mainly adopt the first way and Hawkes the second. 2. Strategies of cultural translation and their conditioning factors 2.1. A contrast between the strategies employed by the two versions of Hong Lou Meng The discussion of the binary strategies ‘literal translation’ ˄ⴤ䈁˅ and ‘free translation’ ˄䈁˅ has been lasting for decades in China’s translation circles. Following the continual use of the two terms, we may find that the Yangs’ version is heavily oriented to literal translation while Hawkes’ version to free translation. The former stresses fidelity to the original form as well as the original content, and the latter emphasises fidelity to the original content, but does not adhere rigidly to the original form. In Hawkes’ version, the rhetorical devices, rhyme scheme and other forms in the source text are all changed in one way or another to suit the norms of the target language and culture. The past few years has witnessed the heated discussion of the more frequently-applied dual set of terms of strategies, foreignisation ˄ᔲॆ˅and domestication ˄ᖂॆ˅. According to Schaffner (1995:156), foreignisation means taking the reader over to the foreign culture, making him/her see the cultural differences and seeking to evoke a sense of the foreign. Domestication means converting the SL culture to the TL culture and naturalising all renditions according to the TL norm. Although the two terms haven’t been used for long, the ideas they represent were cherished long ago by some Chinese translators. Lu Xun’s advocacy of ‘exotic flavor’ (‘ᔲഭᛵ 䈳’) exhibits a preference for foreignisation. ‘Similarity in spirit’ (‘⾎լ’) proposed by Fu Lei (1951:80) and ‘naturalisation’ (‘ॆ’) by Qian Zhongshu (1979:267), on the other hand, embody the concept of domestication. The examples provided in the first part demonstrate that the Yangs prefer the strategy of foreignisation and Hawkes that of domestication. In Hawkes’ version, the removal of the red colour and the image of the dragon and the 66
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conversion of rice to bread and Taoist terms to Christian ones are all examples of domesticating what appear to be ‘exotic flavors’, which are, conversely, preserved in the Yangs’ version. Venuti (1995: 47) points out that “all translation is fundamentally domestication and there is a fundamental ethnocentric impulse in all translation”. We are not sure whether Hawkes’ tendency towards domestication is determined by his ‘ethnocentric impulse’, but it is quite certain that he translates culture-loaded items according to whether his translations fit into the target culture’s perception of the source culture. Semantic translation ˄䈝ѹ㘫䈁˅and communicative translation ˄Ӕ 䱵㘫䈁˅ initiated by Newmark (2001: 47-48) are another pair of terms we may borrow to reveal the divergent strategies applied in the two versions. In semantic translation, the translator attempts, as the Yangs do, to reproduce the precise contextual meaning of the author within the bare syntactic and semantic constraints of the TL, i.e., to reproduce the original form as closely as the TL norms will allow. In communicative translation, the translator strives as Hawkes does; to produce the same effect on the TL readers as was produced by the original on the SL readers. The emphasis should be on conveying the message of the original in a form which conforms to the linguistic, cultural and pragmatic conventions of TL. Semantic translation is closer to the author and communicative translation closer to the reader. Evidently, the Yangs direct their efforts to get closer to the author by retaining the moral, religious and aesthetic ideas of the original. On the contrary, Hawkes seeks to get closer to the reader by adjusting the original ideas, beliefs and values to those of the reader. In addition to the above-mentioned three pairs of strategies, which are mainly based on ‘linguistic transfer’, the pair of ‘cultural facsimile’ ˄᮷ॆ Րⵏ˅ and ‘cultural adaptation’ ˄᮷ॆ䘲ᓄ˅ deserves to be introduced, as these two terms refer specially to contrastive strategies of cultural translation, focusing on ‘cultural transfer’. Cultural facsimile means retaining and conveying the maximum cultural messages of the original, which include cultural content, cultural form and the general cultural aura. Of course, absolute cultural facsimile, like absolute linguistic equivalence, is impossible, but as an ultimate and unattainable objective, it may encourage the translator to make ceaseless efforts and advance towards it. The Yangs are quite successful in approaching the objective by bringing to the reader the cultural messages of Hong Lou Meng to the greatest possible extent. Cultural adaptation is a strategy of orienting translation to the cultural ideas and expectations of the reader and merging the cultural messages of the source text in some way into the target culture. As early as sixteenth, Matteo Ricci, the Italian missionary who brought Christianity to China, promoted Sino-
West cultural exchanges by using the adaptation strategy. By adopting the same strategy in translation, another form of cross-cultural exchange, Hawkes successfully made the Chinese classic novel Hong Lou Meng appreciated and accepted by Western readers and contributed to the spread of Chinese culture in the Western world. 2.2. Factors conditioning the strategies of cultural translation When we explore the adoption of different strategies of cultural translation, it is more important and rewarding to discuss their conditioning factors rather than merely to judge which is better than which or to praise one to the degradation of the other, as both may function as a special means of promoting cross-cultural exchange whether it is focused on the source culture or oriented to the target culture. There are numerous factors that may help to determine the translator’s choice of a specific strategy. The following three are herein given more attention: the cultural background of the translator, the purpose or task of translating and the target readership. 2.2.1. The cultural background of the translator The cultural background of the translator is a main conditioning factor. The translator is born, brought up and immersed in his native culture, which determines to a large extent his value orientations. Brake et al. (1995: 29) point out, “the most powerful elements of culture are those that lie beneath the surface of everyday interaction. We call these value orientations. Value orientations are preferences for certain outcomes over others”. A nation’s culture is its ‘collective unconsciousness’ with value orientations at its core. The ‘collective unconsciousness’ of a nation unconsciously determines its members’ preferences for certain patterns of behaviour and their concept of right and wrong, beauty and ugliness, and good and evil. It’s true that Yang Hsien-yi received four years’ education at Oxford and Hawkes three years’ education at Peking University, but those short-period experiences cannot possibly change their respective value orientations fostered in their own native cultures. Yang’s preference for the strategy of cultural facsimile and Hawkes’ for that of cultural adaptation are, in a way, unconscious, conditioned by their respective ‘collective unconsciousness’ of the Chinese and British cultures. One of them chooses to retain the colour red, the image of ‘ 嗉 ’, the belief of Taoism, the disparagement of the display of individuality while the other prefers to remove or change those cultural elements. These seemingly conscious choices or preferences are actually controlled unconsciously by their respective ‘cultural frames’ gradually shaped in their own cultural background. 68
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It must be pointed out that the degree of ‘facsimile’ or ‘adaptation’ of the two versions is conditioned not only by the translators’ long-established ‘cultural frames’, but also by the then-and-there ‘cultural context’ at the time of their translating. The Yangs’ subtle commendatory or derogatory treatment of the various characters in the novel, who belong to different social strata, apparently reflects China’s mainstream ideology of class struggle in the 1960s. Hawkes’ treatment of the moral, religious and aesthetic terms and expressions in the novel also bears indications of the influence of the social norms of his times. 2.2.2. The purpose or task of translating and the target readership The two factors, namely, the purpose or task of translating and the target readership are herein reviewed as a whole because they are closely interrelated to each other. The purpose or task of translating necessarily involves concern about the target readership. According to the reception theory, a text is not simply passively accepted by the audience, but the reader interprets the meanings of the text based on their individual cultural background and life experiences. In essence, the meaning of a text is not inherent within the text itself, but is created within the relationship between the text and the reader. The emergency of the reception theory provides a new perspective on translation studies with the reader coming to the focal position. Propositions of ‘dynamic equivalence’ by Nida (1984), ‘equivalent effect’ by Newmark (1988), ‘elegance’ (䳵) by Yan Fu (1896), etc., all take into account the response of the reader. The Yang couple and Hawkes are all readers of the source text Hong Lou Meng, but their response to the text must be disparate due to their different cultural background and life experiences. When they seek to fulfil their purpose or task of translating the novel, they must, in turn, take into full account the perception, understanding and acceptance of their respective readers. Yang Hsien-yi and his wife Gladys Yang began to work in 1952 for the Foreign Language Press ( ཆ ᮷ࠪ ⡸ ⽮ ), which was affiliated to China’s General Administration of Press and Publication ( ѝ ഭ ࠪ ⡸ ᙫ 㖢 ). The Administration stipulated then that the Foreign Language Press is a publishing institution responsible for publishing various kinds of books and magazines in line with the state policy of external publicity. As an official publishing house, the Press took it as a serious political task to publicise Chinese culture to the outside world. When the Yang couple undertook the task of translating Hong Lou Meng in early 1960s, China had not established diplomatic relationship with the US and its relationship with other Western countries was cold and distant. In that situation, the target readers of the translation of Hong Lou Meng were mainly overseas Chinese and a small 69
number of Indians and Pakistanis. The main readers being overseas Chinese who have the same or similar cultural background, it was really a necessary and inevitable choice for the Yangs to adopt the strategy of cultural facsimile. Yang Hsien-yi’s intention can well be seen in his own statement that the translator should give the greatest possible attention to the original and should not make too many explanations in his translation (1978). As mentioned above, the degree of ‘facsimile’ is not merely determined by the translator’s own will, it is conditioned by some objective factors. Gladys Yang (2004:223) once said that she and her husband had given themselves too little freedom and had translated the novel a bit too literally. Being a renowned British sinologist, Hawkes was professor of Chinese at Oxford for 12 years, starting from 1959. In order to devote himself full time to the translation of Hong Lou Meng, he resigned from the enviable Oxford Chair of Chinese in 1971. Unlike the Yangs who were professional translators, Hawkes did his translation not for the fulfilment of a given task but purely out of his own interest. His purpose of translating was to share his pleasure of reading the novel with his English-speaking recipients. Hawkes (1973) said in the preface to his version, “if I can convey to the reader even a fraction of the pleasure this Chinese novel has given me, I shall not have lived in vain.” His manuscript was published by Penguin, a very influential publishing house, whose target readers are English lovers of literature with Western cultural backgrounds. In order to attain his purpose of sharing his pleasure with his readers, Hawkes must make sure that his readers, who know little or nothing about Chinese culture, accept and appreciate his version of the novel. Therefore, it is quite understandable that he prefers the strategy of cultural adaptation and treats the cultural messages of the source text in a more flexible way so as to fit them into the cultural frame of the Englishspeaking world. 3. Implications 3.1. Cultural translation and translation culture Cultural translation and translation culture are two interrelated but different notions. The former lays stress on translation and the latter on culture; the former is more concerned with how to translate cultural elements and the latter with how cultural elements affect translation. From the analyses in the previous two parts, we may conclude that the two versions of Hong Lou Meng are cultural translations, and they are conditioned by their respective cultural factors and they present to the reader different translation cultures. Nida and Taber (1969) define cultural translation as “a translation in which the content of the message [which] is changed to conform to the 70
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receptor culture in some way”, based on their experience in translating the Bible. This is a relatively narrow definition, oriented only to the target culture. Shuttleworth and Cowie (2004), on the other hand, offer a broader definition: “cultural translation refers to any translation which is sensitive to cultural as well as to linguistic factors”. In light of the latter definition, both the Yangs’ and Hawkes’ renditions of the culture-loaded terms, expressions and literary forms in the original text are cultural translations, whether they are more source-culture-oriented as in the Yangs’ version or more target-cultureoriented as in Hawkes’. Translation culture might be defined as a culture that a translator formulates by integrating his understanding and representation of the source text culture (the author’s culture) with his understanding of and adjustment to the target culture (the reader’s culture). It is not the same as either the source culture or the target culture, yet related to both in one way or another. It is an inter-culture, somewhere between the two related cultures, either a bit closer to the author’s culture as presented by the Yangs’ version or a little closer to the reader’s culture as presented by Hawkes’, resulting from the influence of the translator’s own cultural background and other conditioning factors as analysed above. 3.2. The translator’s inter-cultural sensitivity as a cultural mediator André Lefevere (2004) points out: Cultures are not monolithic entities. There is always a tension inside a culture between different groups or individuals, who want to influence the evolution of that culture in the way they think best. Translations have been made with the intention of influencing the development of a culture.
Both the Yangs and Hawkes have, to some extent, influenced the development of a culture or two cultures, whether with their own intention or that of a group or society. As a cultural mediator, the translator must be fully aware how his own cultural background influences his way of perceiving things. In order to play the role of mediator effectively, he has to be flexible in switching his cultural orientation and develop a high degree of intercultural sensitivity so that he may, more or less, overcome certain influence of his own culture. In choosing a translation strategy, he must also give much attention to the purpose of translating and the target readership. It’s true that the translator cannot thoroughly get rid of his own limitations resulting from the ‘cultural frame’ he has fostered and the ‘cultural context’ he confronts, but the increasing intercultural sensitivity necessarily reduces those limitations. We
may now conclude this article by quoting from Taft (1981: 12): as a mediator, the translator “must be to a certain extent bicultural”. References Brake, Terrence & Danielle Medina Walker. 1995. Doing Business Internationally: The Guide to Cross-Cultural Success. Burr Ridge: Irwin. Fu, Lei. 1951. ‘Preface of the Revised Version of le Pere Goriot’ in A Collection of Essays on Translation Studies (1894-1948). Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 80. Gentzler, Edwin. 1993. Contemporary Translation Theories. London: Routledge. Hatim, Basil & Ian Mason. 1990. Discourse and the Translator. Essex: Longman. Hawkes, David. 1973. The Story of the Stone. London: Penguin Group. Katan, David. 2004. Translating Cultures: An Introduction for Translators, Interpreters and Mediators. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press. Lefevere, André. 2004. Translation, Rewriting and the Manipulation of Literary Fame. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press. Lu, Xun. 1935. ‘No Title’ in A Collection of Essays on Translation Studies (1894-1948). Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 246. Newmark, Peter. 1988. A Textbook of Translation. London: Prentice Hall International Ltd. Nida, Eugene A. & Charles R. Taber. 2004. The Theory and Practice of Translation. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press. Qian, Zhongshu. 1979. ‘The Translations by Lin Shu’ in A Collection of Essays on Translation Studies (1894-1948). Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 267. Qu, Qiubai. 1931. ‘About Translation’ in A Collection of Essays on Translation Studies (1894-1948). Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 216. Schaffner, Christina. 1995. ‘Debate’ in Katan, David. Translating Cultures. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, 156. Snell-Hornby, Mary. 1995. Translation Studies: An Integrated Approach. Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Taft, Ronald. 1981. ‘The Role and Personality of the Mediator’ in Katan, David. Translating Cultures. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, 12. Venuti, Lawrence. 1995. ‘Translation and Formation of Cultural Identities’ in Katan David. Translating Cultures. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, 164. Yan, Fu. 1896. ‘Introductory Remarks on the Translation of Evolution and Ethics’ in A Collection of Essays on Translation Studies (1894-1948). Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 6. Yang, Gladys. 2004. ‘A Speech at a Seminar on Translation’ in A Review of Chinese and Western Theories of Translation. Beijing: Tsinghua University Press, 223. Yang, Hsien-yi & Gladys Yang. 1978. A Dream of Red Mansions. Beijing: Foreign Language Press. Zuo, Biao. ‘On the Translatability of Cultures’ in Shanghai Journal of Translators for Science and Technology, 1-6.
Translation for Performance: Oscar Wilde in China Linyuan Wang The University of Queensland (Australia) Abstract In theatre translation, ‘performability’ of the translated text in the host culture is an issue of great significance. This paper studies the staging of Oscar Wilde’s comedies in China, taking into consideration the specific historical and cultural contexts and linguistic and stylistic features of the Chinese language. It begins with a summary of existing theories of theatre translation, discussing the criteria of ‘adequacy’ in reproducing the original and ‘acceptability’ for the audiences. It then analyses various challenges and methods in translating Wilde, especially his humour. Special attention is paid to the techniques of adaptation and compensation. It proceeds to analyse the two staged versions, namely, Lady Windermere’s Fan adapted by Hong Shen ⍚␡ in 1924, and The Importance of Being Earnest translated by Yu Kuang-chung ։ݹѝ in 1983. Shifts between the original and the translated texts are compared concerning the aspects of language, style and culture. The paper suggests that a performable text is the compromise of ‘adequacy’ and conformation to ‘acceptability’. It involves a certain degree of adaptation, which is the combined result of the features of the original text, the translator’s priorities and the recipient culture at the given historical period.
Keywords theatre translation, adequacy and acceptability, Oscar Wilde, humour
1. Introduction There are two approaches to translating theatre texts: to produce a literary work solely for reading, and to translate “performability” (Bassnett 1985: 9091). Thus distinctions have been made between drama translation and theatre translation (Aaltonen 2000: 17). Nevertheless, it is generally agreed that the playtext is incomplete in itself until realised in performance (Bassnett 2001: 91). When translating a dramatic text from one language to another for performance, the translator is not only confronted with the conventional difficulties of bridging linguistic and cultural gaps in the written form, but the challenges of producing a script comprehensible, readable and playable for the performers, as well as instantaneously understandable for the audience (Yu 1983: 151). Since communication takes place through the actors between the translator and the audience, the translator needs to take into consideration the matter of ‘playability’. It includes the ‘speakability’ of the text, or the conformity to verbal conventions; the match between the text, image and action (Griffith 1985: 162), constituted by various signals such as word, tone, mimic, gesture, movement, make-up, hairstyle, costume, props, setting,
lighting, music and sound (Kowzan, quoted in Marco 2002: 57); and, in dialogue, the speech rhythms, the pauses and silences, the shifts of tone or of register, and the problems of intonation patterns that render emotions (Bassnett 2001: 106). Restrained by the complex “semiotics of theatre” (Elam 1988), the translator has to balance “adequacy” of reproducing the original and “acceptability” for the audiences (Even-Zohar 1978/1990: 51). The former is determined by adherence to the norms of the original, whereas the latter depends on the “target linguistic and/or literary polysystems as well as its exact position within them” (Toury 1980: 55). On the one hand, the translator should avoid too literal a translation that is unperformable, and adapt as and when required to conform to the established conventions in the target society. On the other hand, the translator needs to refrain from a free approach that “radically changes” the original (Bassnett 1991: 108), and maintain the meanings, connotations and style. An equivalent dramatic effect is, in the final analysis, what a translator should seek to reproduce. Although a translator’s behaviour cannot be expected to be fully systematic (Toury 1995: 67), the degree of adaptation in a given text deserves study. When it comes to a particular dramatist and a specific genre of play, such as Oscar Wilde’s (1854-1900) comedies, the special challenges lie in the language, his “finest achievement”, and wit, which “lays claim to arrogance” but “seeks to please us”, which is “an agent of renewal, as pertinent now as a hundred years ago” (Ellmann 1987: xiv). In order to generate an equivalent humorous effect, it is the translator’s duty to make necessary adaptations with regard to cultural references and rhetorical devices to be appreciated by the audience, and to conform to the target language in terms of expression, syntax and speech pattern to be performed by actors. All the time provided that linguistic features and intended meanings are adequately rendered. 2. Theatre translation: Performability Unlike other genres such as fiction and poetry, theatre imposes extra constrains apart from linguistic and cultural ones. In Zuber-Skerritt’s (1980: 92) words: A play is written for performance and must be actable. The audience must be able to understand it immediately and directly, and to accept it as an organic piece of work. The translation of a play requires more consideration of non-verbal and nonliterary aspects than does the translation of novels or poetry. A play depends on additional elements, such as movements, gestures, postures, mimicry, speech rhythms, intonations, music and other sound effects, lights, stage scenery. In particular, a play is dependent on the immediacy of the impact on the audience.
Translation for Performance: Oscar Wilde in China
Thus, apart from translating words and their meanings from one language and cultural background into another, translators must produce speakable and actable translations for players, who directly communicate with the audience (Zuber-Skerritt 1980: 92-93, 1984: 1). Thus the translated text should be both well-spoken and pleasing to the ear (Pavis 1989: 30). This requires adjustments to the linguistic, stylistic and cultural conventions of the target society in order to meet the expectations of the audience. The task of a translator as well as that of a producer of a modern play should be to transpose the play in such a manner, that the message of the original and the dramatist’s intention be adhered to as closely as possible and be rendered, linguistically and artistically, into a form which takes into account the different traditional, cultural, and socio-political background of the recipient country. (Zuber-Skerritt 1980: 95)
This points to verbal, non-verbal and cultural elements in theatre translation. These factors can be divided into language (verbal language, paralanguage and kinesics), style and culture. As for their relative significance, theorists hold different opinions. 2.1. Language Bassnett (1991: 111) believes that the principal problems facing drama translators are primarily linguistic ones—differences in register involving age, gender, social position, etc., deictic units, consistency in monologues and others. However, these aspects of language, the status-markers, are common concerns of literary translation in general. What distinguishes the language of theatre translation from those of other genres is the enunciation, accompanied by action. Because of its fleeting nature, an effective oral text must obey the rules of a spoken language first and foremost. It should in particular avoid long sentences, information overload, elaborate cross-referencing and excessive speed, as they make the text difficult to follow (Hervey & Higgins 1992/2002: 62). In Snell-Hornby’s (1997: 189-190) view, the basic theatrical sign is not verbal, but acoustic and/or visual. Paralanguage refers to intonation, pitch, rhythm, tempo, resonance, loudness and voice timbre that lead to expressions of emotion such as shouting, sighing or laughter; and kinesics involves body movements, postures and gestures (Poyatos 1993: 149-150). Hong Shen (1924d: 126) also called for attention to these two aspects: Physical movements are in accordance with inner emotions, in every lift of the head, every twinkle of the eye, every movement of the lip, every flicker of the finger, every wave of the arm and every sway of the body; either in stepping forward, standing still, or stopping in mid-stride; in raising one’s voice, or
Linyuan Wang remaining in silence. In addition, there are various postures of sitting and standing, various forms of looks and smiles, and various ways of waving one’s hands and lifting one’s foot [My translation].
Within this “dramatic situation”, the transfer should first of all simultaneously involve the source text’s semantic, rhythmic, aural, connotative and other dimensions, necessarily adapted to the target language and culture (Pavis 1989: 26). Secondly, the translator should seek unison between prosody and movement, as enunciation is accompanied by gesture, and accomplished by considerable use of deictics (Pavis 1989: 30-31). 2.2. Style Wellwarth (1981: 142-143) makes style his first principle of play translation: Style is that which causes a play to sound as if it had originally been written in the target language. […] The only form acceptable for dramatic translation is situational conceptualization. In other words, what is required is something more than a morphological transformation of words and a point-by-point transference of semantic values. What is required is the re-creation of a situation or cohesive semantic block in the new language in terms of that language’s cultural setting.
Wellwarth’s viewpoint concerns the communicative intentions of discourse, which contain seven criteria (de Beaugrande & Dressler 1981: 3): Cohesion—grammatical relationship between parts of a sentence, which is essential for its interpretation; Coherence—the order of statements that relates one another by sense; Intentionality—the deliberate and conscious delivery of the message; Acceptability—the communicative product made satisfactory for the audience; Informativeness—the inclusion of new information in the discourse; Situationality—circumstances in which the remark is made; Intertextuality—reference to the world outside the text or the interpreters’ schemata.
The translation of style means the reproduction of the original meaning in the accepted syntax of the target language, and the transference of the colloquial idiom of one language to that of the other, so that the language can “fall easily and familiarly on the ears of the audience” (Wellwarth 198: 142144). Bentley (quoted in Corrigan 1964: 144) holds a more definite view: “Since we cannot have everything, we would rather surrender accuracy than style”.
Translation for Performance: Oscar Wilde in China
2.3. Culture Customs, assumptions and attitudes can differ greatly from one culture to another. Heylen (quoted in Bassnett 2001: 93) suggests that in translation there is a sliding scale of acculturation, which runs from one extreme, where no attempt is made to acculturate the source text so that the text may be perceived as “exotic” or “bizarre”, through a middle stage of negotiation and compromise, and finally to the opposite pole of complete acculturation. According to Even-Zohar (1978/1990: 51): …in translation practice the emphasis is on acceptability when something totally unfamiliar to the recipient culture, whether it is a religion, a philosophy, or a literature, is first introduced, and then it will gradually move towards adequacy as it gains in familiarity.
In theatre, verbal language is only interpretable when the recipient is familiar with its position or meaning within the language system and culture concerned (Snell-Hornby 1997: 190). This dependence of the verbal text on target cultural expectations justifies the need for adjustment with regard to references to customs or social norms. Unlike readers of written texts, the audience of a play cannot stop to reflect, or to seek clarification by referring to translator’s notes or other sources. Translators need to imagine a particular horizon of expectations on the audience’s part, while counting on their hermeneutic and narrative competence, which influences the reception of a theatre translation (Pavis 1989: 29). Subsequently, to ensure cross-cultural communication, social, cultural and religious elements that may cause bewilderment among, or contradict the beliefs of, the target audience, it is necessary to make adaptations by means of substitution, elimination or elaboration within the text. 3. Translating Wildean humour into Chinese The defining feature of Wilde’s comedies is humour, in particular epigrams and witty dialogues. To ensure understanding, produce cohesion and coherence, and recreate specific humorous effects, the techniques of adaptations are broadly accepted in the theatre (Mateo, quoted in Marco 2002: 61). Translation ‘shifts’ (Catford 1965; Vinay & Darbelnet 1958/1995) are made at phonological, syntactic, semantic, textual and pragmatic levels. Regarding culture-specific items, such as idioms, fixed expressions, and religious and literary allusions, usual solutions include elaboration, annotation, domestication, deletion and substitution (Zhang 2004: 188). As for rhetorical devices, such as alliteration, rhyme, punning and antithesis, both their meanings and effects depend on the grammatical, rhythmical and 77
phonetic features of words. In these cases of untranslatability that threatens to compromise communication in theatrical performance, the strategy of compensation can play an important role in reducing the translation losses. [W]here conventional translation would entail an unacceptable translation loss, this loss is reduced by the freely chosen introduction of a less unacceptable one, such that important ST effects are rendered approximately in the TT by means other than those used in the ST. In other words, one type of translation loss is mitigated by the deliberate introduction of another (Hervey & Higgins 1992/2002: 44).
Compensation works by making the implicit explicit through elaboration, by reaching a similar result through the employment of a different rhyming scheme, or by distributing the intended effect to another place or places within the text. Not only can the losses be minimised, but the effects can be heightened. Humour and witticism in Wilde plays are largely based on epigrams in the form of antithesis, parallelism or the manoeuvring of proverbs or clichés (Pearson 1987: 197), and these literary techniques fall in the strength of the Chinese language. This phenomenon lies in the different writing systems as well as literary traditions in English and Chinese. Yu (1967: 24) explains that the Chinese language is ideal for parallel structures because of its monosyllabic characters, succinct wording, parallel grammar, flexible sentence structure and sonorous tones. Although English has what is called ‘euphuism’, the English literature is incapable of perfect parallelism: “Euphuism” consists of flamboyant and balanced structure, stresses on such effects as alliteration, and indulges in allusions to flora and fauna. It resembles Chinese parallel prose (pianwen) or the poetic essays in the Han Dynasty (hanfu). However, because of the complexity of the grammar, the abundance of function words, the endless inflections, and the uneven syllabic durations of the English language, it appears rather clumsy compared with the perfect antitheses in Chinese parallel prose (Yu 1979: 93) [My translation].
Both Hong Shen and Yu Kuang-chung used compensational methods by exploiting the unique features of Chinese poetics to preserve or recreate humour. Case 1 I never talk scandal. I only talk gossip. […] A man who moralises is usually a hypocrite, and a woman who moralises is invariably plain. (Wilde 2000: 46) [Emphasis here and below are mine] ᡁӾᶕн䈤ӪᇦⲴൿ ൿ䈍ˈਚ䈤ӪᇦⲴ䰢 䰢䈍Ǆ[ĂĂ]⭧Ӫ䚃ᆖˈབྷॺᗳ ᗳᘰਥ⍻˗ ަ䊼нᢜ (Hong 1924c: 129-130) . ྣӪ䚃ᆖˈ߶ᱟަ
Translation for Performance: Oscar Wilde in China
Hong (1924a: 330) believed that the forte of Wilde’s play was the subtle yet thought-provoking epigrams throughout the lines. He took special care to reproduce and, in a sense, perfect Wilde’s style in terms of humour and parallel structure. In the first couplet, Hong created an end-rhyme (huaihua and xianhua). In the second couplet, the matching phrases xin huai po ce and qi mao bu yang, both idioms containing four syllables, made the translation neater than the original. Case 2 DUMBY. Awfully commercial, women nowadays. Our grandmothers threw their caps over the mills, of course, but, by Jove, their granddaughters only throw their caps over mills that can raise the wind for them (Wilde 2000: 45). ᵾн励 Ӿᱟᣅ ᣅᡁԕᵘṳˈᣕѻԕ⩬⪦ˈ䶎ᣕҏˈ≨ԕѪྭҏǄ⧠൘ц⭼᮷᰾ˈ ᡰԕᣅ ᣅᡁԕ⩬⪦ˈᣕѻԕᵘṳˈ䶎ᣕҏˈ䠁䫡ѫѹҏ (Hong 1924c: 129).
Snell-Hornby (1997: 199) recommends the strategy of substitution with oriental analects and maxims, as they are more suitable to a Chinese audience. Hong replaced the culture-loaded idiom ‘to throw one’s cap over the mill’ (to behave in a reckless way) with a well-known quotation from the Book of Songs (Shi jing), to which a Chinese audience could immediately relate. He then parodied the adage in a similar vein as Wilde does. Hong once again improved upon the original by building a parallel structure, employing the same number of words in the two sentences. He moved “commercial” to the end of the second line, and added the function word ye to match that in the first line. Case 3 In The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde puns ‘Ernest’, Jack’s pseudonym, with ‘earnest’. The latter makes the title as well as the closing line delivered by Jack, when he finds that he was indeed baptized ‘Ernest’, and he has been telling nothing but the truth. The sarcasm, dramatic emphasis and circularity of the play would be lost with a transliteration of the name (ou nei si te ⅗ ᯟ⢩) or a dictionary translation of the adjective (renzhende 䇔ⵏⲴ). Yu Kuang-chung (1983) recreated the pun by using a pair of homophones: ԫⵏ (rènzhēn) for Ernest and 䇔ⵏ (rènzhēn) for earnest. Yu further patterned the treatment onto another ‘invented persona’ within the play. He created a second punning with names by translating ‘Bunbury’, a fabrication of Algernon, into ằࣹӱ (liáng miǎn rén), paronyms of є䶒Ӫ (liǎng miàn rén), a double-faced person. The name Bunbury is not as telling, which is
part of the ambiguity and subtlety of Wilde’s play. But the translator made the meanings explicit, the character Algernon more tongue-in-cheek, therefore ensuring the humorous effect. The two puns correspond to each other. They suggest that Jack and Algernon are each other’s mirror images, hinting their relations as revealed in the final scene. Case 4 ALGERNON. Well, would you mind my reforming myself this afternoon? CECILY. It is rather Quixotic of you. But I think you should try (Wilde 2000: 321). ӊਹ㜭 䛓ѸˈӺཙлॸᡁቡ㠚ᐡᶕ᭩䙐ˈᙫᰐᡰ䉃˛ 㾯㾯ѭ ⵏᱟཙ ཙⵏ⛲╛Ǆн䗷ˈᡁⴻᓄ䈕䈅а䈅 (Yu 1983: 78).
The image of Don Quixote may be well remembered by Chinese readers, but the problem is whether it provokes a laugher in theatre. As a matter of fact, the 1952 British film production deleted the reference. Yu, rather than keeping the allusion, translated the implied meaning by using a fourcharacter phrase tianzhen lanman (romantic, naïve). It echoes Jack’s comments on Cecily earlier in Act I, “Cecily is not a silly romantic girl” (Wilde 2000: 313), and the word ‘romantic’ was rendered by the same phrase. In this way, the translator distributed the humour throughout the text. 4. Analyses: Two performances The two versions chosen for study were both great theatre success. The first is Shaonainai de Shanzi ( ቁ ྦ ྦ Ⲵ ᡷ ᆀ ) or Lady Windermere’s Fan, adapted and directed by Hong Shen (who also played the part of Lord Darlington) in 1924, and the second is Buke erxi ( н ਟ ݯᠿ ) or The Importance of Being Earnest, translated by Yu Kuang-chung in 1983, and put on the stage by Yang Yang Shih-p'eng in 1984. Each piece is analysed from three points as studied in section two, namely, language, style and culture. Special attention is to the changes or adaptations made by the translator as a gateway to their idea of a performable text. 4.1. Shaonainai de Shanzi (Lady Windermere’s Fan) In 1924, Hong Shen (1894-1955) staged the play, now titled Shaonainai de Shanzi (The Young Mistress’s Fan), based on his own translation, published earlier in Dongfang Zazhi (The Eastern Miscellany) 21(2-5). Hong was a professional playwright, director, actor and teacher of drama. He clearly had the idea of staging the play in mind when he translated it, and wrote a preface
Translation for Performance: Oscar Wilde in China
and an afterword to justify his methods of gaiyi (adaptation). The reason for choosing this particular play is that it was congenial to the Chinese environment in terms of structure and theme. Firstly, the well-knit plot with the fan as the clue (Hong 1924a: 328) was highly reminiscent of traditional Chinese drama, such as Fengzheng Wu (Mistaken Kites) and Mudan Ting (The Peony Pavilion). China did not have ‘spoken’ play, that is, performance composed entirely of dialogues, until the twentieth century. The spoken dialogue, termed binbai (supporting speech), was part, but never the focus, of Chinese xiqu (sung opera) (Pollard 2009: 30). The familiar storyline of the play thus ensured understanding and reduced the risks of bewilderment or impatience among the audience. Secondly, Hong (1924a: 329-330) saw the social and moral values of the play—it pleaded for honesty and kindliness, and was exemplary of Confucian and Buddhist doctrines. As a result, Hong domesticated the play. The whole setting was transferred from the nineteenth century London to early twentieth century Shanghai, and proper names and concepts were replaced with corresponding Chinese ones. He ‘modernised’ the play by inserting popular themes and topics, such as new literature, women’s freedom and marriages based on love. A simple statement “behind the age” (Wilde 2000: 8) expanded to ‘conservative, stubborn, unliberated, and ignorant of the new trends of the world’ (Hong 1924a: 334). With zeitgeist and sarcasm insinuated in the lines, the familiar air these changes brought in greatly appealed to the audience. The performance caused a sensation, as accounted later by his contemporaries (Gu 1933; Zhu 1935; Cao 1996). 4.1.1. Language One of the most prominent features of the translated piece is that Hong added elaborate stage directions. They were either distinguished from the spoken lines by means of a smaller font size, or directly inserted in the text. These additions included descriptions of characters’ personalities, appearances, backgrounds and inner thoughts. The logic of events was thus made explicit, and characters credible for actors, the audience, and perhaps for the translator/director himself. For example, Hong ‘psychoanalysed’ Lady Windermere to explain her ambivalent attitudes towards Lord Darlington’s flirtatious compliments. He offered three reasons. First, it was a period when everybody about town was a ‘wit’. Secondly, Lady Windermere, being a good woman, intends to reform him. And thirdly, she does like him (Hong 1924a: 334). The last reason built way for the development of the play, and her decision to elope with him.
Case 5 [Exit LADY AGATHA with MR HOPPER] (Wilde 2000: 33). ⿰Ӂ⭿ ⭿⭿㪨㪨ᢦ⵰⦻ᱝⲴᐖ㟲䎠ࠪ৫ (Hong 1924b: 132).
Lady Agatha is entirely dominated by her mother, the Duchess of Berwick, regarding her marriage in particular. Her responses to everything the matriarch says are “Yes, mamma”. In the scene above, the Duchess has just scolded her for saying “the most silly things possible” (Wilde 2000: 32), that is, agreeing to move to Australia with Mr Hopper after marrying him. Where the original simply reads “exit”, the translation detailed the manner: Lady Agatha ‘timidly walks out, supported by Mr Hopper on his left arm’. The vivid portraiture helped the actors and ensured the comical effects. 4.1.2. Style Case 6 DUMBY. We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars? Upon my word, you are very romantic to-night, Darlington. CECIL GRAHAM. Too romantic! You must be in love. Who is the girl? (Wilde 2000: 47). ᵾн励 ᡁԜਟн䜭ๅ㩭൘㠝≤Ӆ䟼Ǆնᱟ൘Ӆ䟼ˈҏн࿘㿲ཙǄઓˈ䘉ਕ䈍ᖸ ᴹ⛩ۿଢ ଢᆖᇦⲴਓ≄Ǆ ᕐӖ ޜኲնۿଢ ଢᆖᇦˈᴤۿᯠ᮷ᆖᇦⲭⲴڊ䈍䈇Ǆ࡛ᱟਁ⭏Ҷᙻ⡡ˈ⣟ ⣟ҶᙍǄ ՟㤡ˈ਼䈱ਁ⭏Ҷ⡡ᛵ˛ (Hong 1924c: 130).
Hong used the methods of substitution, elaboration and creation. He substituted “romantic”, an adjective, with ‘philosopher’, a noun (zhexue jia), which further led and corresponded to wenxue jia in the following line. Baihua shi (verse written in the vernacular language) was a poetic form promoted by the ‘New Literati’ (xin wenxuejia), after they denounced classical Chinese poetry during the New Culture Movement (1915-1923) in China. The pertinence of this reference at the time of translation denoted a sarcastic tone. The translator also elaborated the relatively new term lian’ai with a traditional term xiangsi, which had been a common topic in poetic composition. 4.1.3. Culture Hong adapted cultural aspects which he assumed difficult or impossible for the audience to comprehend. One such example is the naming tradition. In the play, Lady Windermere is named after her mother, and she names her son 82
Translation for Performance: Oscar Wilde in China
after her father. For a Chinese audience at the initial stage of contact with Western culture, it was a strange notion. When naming their children, Chinese people went out of the way to avoid the same character in the names of the parents or elder family members. Due to this consideration, Hong gave different names to the mother and the daughter, and omitted the line where Lady Windermere mentions her son’s name. 4.2. Buke Erxi (The Importance of Being Earnest) Like Hong Shen, Yu Kuang-chung (born 1928) was keenly aware of the performance factor. He also emphasised the performability of the translated play in his preface and afterword. Yu (1983: 151) aimed to produce a text which could turn into an animated play on the stage, instead of a pedantic, closet play: it should suit the audiences’ ears and the actors’ tongues. Yu (1994: 172) believed that the responsibility of a translator is to preserve the spirit of the source text without compromising the target language. But Yu differed from Hong in his interpretation of Wilde and his play. Yu saw the artistic value, not the moral one. For him Wilde was a natural wit. The satire in his play is not targeted towards any class, country or people, but such human follies as hypocrisy, contradiction and selfishness (Yu 1983, 1992, 1995, 2008). That is why the play has universal appeal. As a result, Yu’s (1983, 1992) priority was to reproduce Wilde’s strength and spirit—dialogue, witticism and epigrams in particular—for Chinese audiences, rather than the theme, if there is one at all; or the plot, which could not stand rational analysis. While Yu conformed to certain Chinese customs of address, naming the butler Merriman Lao Mei (Old Mei) and the manservant Lane Lao Lin (Old Lin), he preserved their foreign identity and such social phenomena as fashion, class and religious practice, so that the play remained ‘foreign’ on the whole. This accommodated the purpose of the director Yang Shih-p'eng. As Artistic Director of Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, he used drama as an educational tool: loyalty of style and spirit to the original play was the norm, as the main purpose was to introduce theatre classics to cultivate Hong Kong audiences with no access to foreign performance (Luk 2007: 25). The initial performance in 1984 was an instant hit, and Yu’s version has been staged continuously over a period of twenty years. 4.2.1. Language Yu successfully reproduced the humour, vigour and emotional tone of speech by restructuring long sentences and adding sentence adverbs.
Case 7 LADY BRACKNELL. Well, I must say, Algernon, that I think it is high time that Mr. Bunbury made up his mind whether he was going to live or to die. [...] I should be much obliged if you would ask Mr. Bunbury, from me, to be kind enough not to have a relapse on Saturday, for I rely on you to arrange my music for me. It is my last reception, and one wants something that will encourage conversation, particularly at the end of the season when every one has practically said whatever they had to say, which, in most cases, was probably not much (Wilde 2000: 304-305). ᐤཛӪ టˈᡁ䈤䱯ਹੰ ੰˈ䘉սằࣹӱࡠ⭏ݸᓅ㾱↫㾱⍫ˈࡠ⧠൘ҏ ҏⵏ䈕лњߣᗳ Ҷੰ ੰǄ[ĂĂ]㾱ᱟ㜭ᴯᡁ≲Āằࣹӱāྭڊڊ⭏ݸһˈ࡛ቭ ቭᱏᵏޝᶕਁ⯵ˈᡁ ቡᝏ◰нቭҶˈഐѪᡁ䘈 䘈ᤷᵋѪᡁᆹᧂ丣Ҁ㢲ⴞ Ǆ䘉ᱟᡁᴰਾⲴа⅑䞂Պˈᙫ ᙫ 㾱ᴹ⛩ӰѸԕࣙ䈸ˈޤቔަᱟ⽮Ӕᆓ㢲ᐢࡠҶቮ༠ˈབྷᇦ㾱䇢Ⲵ䈍ࠐѾҏ䇢ݹҶ˗ ో䇨ཊᶕᇮҏ⋑ᴹཊቁ䈍ྭ䇢 (Yu 1983: 45). ަᇎో
The major shift is at the syntactic level. The monologue contains long sentences formed by subordinate clauses (whether, if, that, when, which), and Yu broke down sentences and reversed the orders to overcome grammatical constraints. Another feature is that he added function words that express the attitudes of the speaker. These include sentence adverbs, such as ye, zhengai, jin, jiu, hai and zongyao, as well as modal particles, such as ya, ne and ma. They either express the speaker’s disapproval or impatience towards Bunbury’s illness (ye zhengai, jin, ya), or the seriousness of her reception (hai, ne, zongyao), and the comic tone is greatly heightened. 4.2.2. Style As a poet, Yu is consciously aware of the rhythm, balance and other nuances of the spoken language. He frequently used four-character phrases, as they are resonant, easy to understand and pleasant to the ear. Case 8 ALGERNON. Relations are simply a tedious pack of people, who haven’t got the remotest knowledge of how to live nor the smallest instinct about when to die (Wilde 2000: 312). ӊਹ㜭 ӄӢޝᡊ䜭ᱟа⨝䇘়ⲴӪˈᆼޘн᰾ⲭྲօ⭏ ⭏ᗇަ䚃ˈҏṩᵜн亶ᛏྲ օ↫ ↫ᗇަᰦ (Yu 1983: 59).
The literal translation of “relations” is simply qinqi (Ӣᡊ), and that of “how to live” and “when to die” is ruhe huo (ྲօ⍫) and heshi si (օᰦ↫). Yu’s usage of four-character phrases created a literary ambience. What is more, the two phrases, shengdeqidao (⭏ᗇަ䚃) and sideqishi (↫ᗇަᰦ), 84
Translation for Performance: Oscar Wilde in China
are adapted from a fixed expression, shengdeqiming, sideqisuo (⭏ᗇަ, ↫ᗇަᡰ; live up to one’s name and die for a worthy cause). 4.2.3. Culture One point of ‘equivalence’ is worth noticing in Case 7. “Algernon”, the full name, is substituted by Aji (䱯ਹ), the shortened form. It is in the context that a loving aunt is giving an important lecture about the “primary duty of life” (Wilde 2000: 305). In the original play, only Jack, Gwendolen and Cecily use the familiar form of “Algy”. Lady Bracknell, on the other hand, always addresses and refers to her nephew by the full name. It suggests the aristocratic decorum and her respected seniority within the family. Yu made changes on another three occasions, including greeting (“Good afternoon, dear Algernon”), apology (“I’m sorry if we are a little late, Algernon”), and gratitude (“Thank you, Algernon”). These adaptations, by showing intimate relations and toning down the formality, conform to Chinese family values. For the other seven circumstances, when she expresses dissatisfaction (“I hope not, Algernon”) or gives a command (“Algernon, I forbid you to be baptized”), Yu maintained the full name Yajineng (ӊਹ㜭). 5. Conclusion The successful staging of a translated text is influenced by the theatrical system, the translator’s priorities and skill, and the host culture at the given time. Drama involves a series of semiotics that may be beyond the translator’s knowledge or experience, which is usually confined to written literature. As the lines are enunciated, enhanced by paralanguage and accompanied by body language, a performable and speakable text requires the balance of spoken vocabulary and literary diction, harmony between speech rhythms, emotion, gesture and movement, adjustment of cultural references and accommodation to audience expectations. Shifts at the phonological, syntactic, pragmatic and contextual levels are needed so as to accord with the target tradition. Techniques of adaptations and compensation regarding culture-specific items and rhetorical devices are necessary in order to reduce the losses. When Wilde’s comedies were chosen for translation during the 1920s, the underlying concern was their moral and social significance. ‘Acceptability’ is given priority at the expense of accuracy. In the 1980s, the focus shifted to the artistic and literary value, when adequacy was the prevalent criterion. However, an acceptable translation does not entail the distortion of the meaning to cater for audiences, nor does an adequate one entail a challenge for them. The successes of Hong’s adaptation
and Yu’s translations are based on their in-depth understanding of the original texts, mastery of the stylistic features of target language, and awareness of the performance requirements. For a performable text both acceptable to the audience and adequate as demanded by the norm, translators need to make adaptations to achieve the desired dramatic effect, while giving due consideration to the original style and purpose of the play. References Aaltonen, Sirkku. 2000. Time-Sharing on Stage: Drama Translation in Theatre and Society. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Bassnett, Susan. 1985. ‘Ways through the Labyrinth: Strategies and Methods for Translating Theatre Texts’ in Hermans, Theo (ed.) The Manipulation of Literature: Studies in Literary Translation. London: Croom Helm. 87-102. — 1991. ‘Translating for the Theatre: The Case against Performability’ in The Translator 4(1): 99-111. — 2001. ‘Still Trapped in the Labyrinth: Further Reflections on Translation and Theatre’, in Bassnett, Susan and Lefevere, André (eds) Constructing Cultures: Essays on Literary Translation. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press. 90-108. Catford, John Cunnison. 1965. A Linguistic Theory of Translation: An Essay in Applied Linguistics. London: Oxford University Press. Cao, Yu (ᴩ). 1996. ‘Hong Shen Jiushi Zhounian danchen Tan Hong Shen’ (Talk Delivered at the 90th Anniversary of Hong Shen’s Birth) (⍚␡ҍॱઘᒤ䈎䗠䈸⍚␡) in Tian, Benxiang and Liu Yijun (⭠ᵜ, ࡈаߋ) (eds) Cao Yu Quanji (Complete Works of Cao Yu) (ᴩޘ 䳶) Vol. 6. Hebei: Huashan Literature and Art Publishing House. 422-423. Corrigan, Robert W. 1964. ‘Translating for Actors’ in Arrowsmith, William & Rainer Shattuck (eds) The Craft and Context of Translation: A Critical Symposium. Garden City, New York: Anchor Books. 129-146. De Beaugrande, Robert & Wolfgang Dressler. 1981. Introduction to Text Linguistics. London: Longman. Elam, Keir. 1988. Semiotics of Theatre and Drama. London and New York: Routledge. Ellmann, Richard. 1987. Oscar Wilde. London: Hamish Hamilton. Even-Zohar, Itamar. 1990. ‘The Position of Translated Literature within the Literary Polysystem’, in Poetics Today 11(1): 45-51. Griffiths, Malcolm. 1985. ‘Presence and Presentation: Dilemmas in Translating for the Theatre’ in Hermans, Theo (ed.) The Manipulation of Literature: Studies in Literary Translation. London: Croom Helm. 161-182. Gu, Zhongyi (亮Ԣᖍ). 1933. ‘Xiju Xieshe de Guoqu’ (History of the Drama Association) (ᠿ ॿ⽮Ⲵ䗷৫) in Xi (Drama) (ᠿ) 1(5), 53-55. Hervey, Sandor & Ian Higgins. 1992/2002. Thinking French Translation: A Course in Translation Method: French to English. London and New York: Routledge. Hong, Shen (⍚␡). 1924a. ‘Shaonainai de Shanzi: Gaiyi Xulun, Diyimu’ (The Young Mistress’s Fan: Preface to Adaptation and Act I) (ቁྦྦⲴᡷᆀ ᭩䈁ᒿ䇪, ㅜаᒅ) in Dongfang Zazhi (The Eastern Miscellany) (ьᯩᵲᘇ) 21(2): 323-343. — 1924b. ‘Di’ermu’ (Act II) (ㅜҼᒅ) in Dongfang Zazhi (The Eastern Miscellany) (ьᯩᵲᘇ) 21(3): 123-136. — 1924c. ‘Disanmu’ (Act III) (ㅜйᒅ). Dongfang Zazhi (The Eastern Miscellany) (ьᯩᵲᘇ) 21(4): 123-133.
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— 1924d. ‘Disimu, Houxu’ (Act IV and Afterword) (ㅜഋᒅ, ਾᒿ) in Dongfang Zazhi (The Eastern Miscellany) (ьᯩᵲᘇ) 21(5): 117-128. Luk, Thomas Runtong (䱶⏖ἐ). 2007. Xifang Xiju de Xianggang Yanyi: Cong Wenzi Dao Wutai (Translation and Adaptation of Western Drama in Hong Kong: From Script to Stage) (㾯ᯩ ᠿⲴ俉╄㓾˖Ӿ᮷ᆇࡠ㡎ਠ). Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press. Marco, Josep. 2002. ‘Teaching Drama Translation’ in Perspectives 10(1): 55-68. Pavis, Patrice. 1989. ‘Problems of Translation for the Stage: Interculturalism and Post-Modern Theatre’ (tr. Loren Kruger), in Scolnicov, Hanna & Peter Holland (eds) The Play out of Context—Transferring Plays from Culture to Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 25-44. Pearson, Hesketh. 1987. The Life of Oscar Wilde. England: Penguin Books. Pollard, David E. 2009. ‘Li Yu on the Theatre: Excerpts from Pleasant Diversions’ in Renditions 72: 30-70. Poyatos, Fernando. 1993. ‘Aspects of Nonverbal Communication in Literature’ in Holz-Mänttäri, Justa & Christiane Nord (eds) Traducere Navem. Tampere: University Press. 137-151. Snell-Hornby, Mary. 1997. ‘“Is This a Dagger Which I See before Me?”: The Non-Verbal Language of Drama’, in Poyatos, Fernando (ed.) Nonverbal Communication and Translation: New Perspectives and Challenges in Literature, Interpretation and the Media. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 187-202. Toury, Gideon. 1980. In Search of a Theory of Translation. Jerusalem: Academic Press. — 1995. Descriptive Translation Studies—And Beyond. Amsterdam and the Netherlands: John Benjamins. Vinay, Jean-Paul & Jean Darbelnet. 1958/1995. A Comparative Stylistics of French and English: A Methodology for Translation. (tr. Juan C. Sager and M.-J. Hamel). Philadelphia: John Benjamins Wellwarth, George E. 1981. ‘Special Consideration in Drama Translation’ in Gaddis, Rose Marilyn (ed.) Translation Spectrum: Essays in Theory and Practice. Albany: State University of New York Press. 140-146. Wilde, Oscar. 2000. The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays, in Cave, Richard (ed.) London: Penguin Books. Yu, Kwang-chung (։ݹѝ). 1967. ‘Zhongxi Wenxue zhi Bijiao’ (A Comparison of Chinese and Western Literature) (ѝ㾯᮷ᆖѻ∄䖳), in Yu Kuang-chung Tan Fanyi (Yu Kuang-chung on Translation) (։ݹѝ䈸㘫䈁). Beijing: China Translation and Publishing Corporation. 12-24. — 1979. ‘Lun Zhongwen zhi Xihua’ (On the Europeanization of the Chinese Language) (䇪ѝ᮷ ѻ㾯ॆ), in Yu Kuang-chung Tan Fanyi (Yu Kuang-chung on Translation) (։ݹѝ䈸㘫䈁). Beijing: China Translation and Publishing Corporation. 85-99. — 1983. ‘Yu Wang’erde Bahe Ji—Buke Erxi Yihou’ (Note on a Tug-of-War with Wilde— Afterword to the Translation of The Importance of Being Earnest) (о⦻ቄᗧᤄ⋣䇠üü ǉнਟݯᠿǊ䈁ਾ), in Buke Erxi (tr.). Taipei: Dadi Press. 149-160. — 1983. Buke Erxi (The Importance of Being Earnest) (нਟݯᠿ). Taipei: Dadi Press. — 1992. ‘Yixiao Bainian Shandi Feng—Wen Furen de Shanzi Bainian Jinian’ (A Smile, A Hundred Years, A Puff of Wind from the Fan—Centenary of Lady Windermere’s Fan) (аㅁ Ⲯᒤᡷᓅ仾——ǉཛӪⲴᡷᆀǊⲮᒤ㓚ᘥ) in Wen Furen de Shanzi (tr.). Taipei: Dadi Press. 1-17. — 1994. ‘Translation of Drama: The Importance of Being Earnest as Example’ in Seymour, Richard K. and Ching-chih Liu (eds) Translation and Interpreting: Bridging East and West: Selected Conference Papers. Honolulu, Hawaii: College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature, University of Hawaii: East-West Center. 155-161.
Linyuan Wang — 1995. ‘Bainian de Zhangsheng—Wang’erde Xiju Lixiang Zhangfu Yihou’ (A Hundred Years’ Applause—Afterword to the Translation of Wilde’s Comedy An Ideal Husband) (ⲮᒤⲴᦼ ༠——⦻ቄᗧௌǉ⨶ᜣиཛǊ䈁ਾ) in Lixiang Zhangfu (tr.). Taipei: Dadi Press. 1-14. — 2008. ‘Shangliu Shehui zhi Xialiu—Buyaojin de Nüren Yihou’ (The Baseness of the Upper Class—Afterword to the Translation of A Woman of No Importance) (к⍱⽮Պѻл⍱—— ǉн㾱㍗ⲴྣӪǊ䈁ਾ) in INK 57, 83-85. Zhang, Nanfeng (ᕐইጠ). 2004. Zhongxi Yixue Piping (Criticism on Chinese and Western Translation Studies) (ѝ㾯䈁ᆖᢩ䇴). Beijing: Tsinghua University Press. Zhu, Guangqian (ᵡ)▌ݹ. 1935. ‘Du Weiquqiuquan’ (Reading She Stoops to Compromise) (䈫 ǉငᴢ≲ޘǊ) in Ta Kung Pao (བྷޜᣕ) (10 February 1935). Zuber-Skerritt, Ortrun. 1980. ‘Problems of Propriety and Authenticity in Translating Modern Drama’ in Zuber-Skerritt, Ortrun (ed.) The Languages of Theater: Problems in the Translation and Transposition of Drama. Oxford: Pergamon Press. 92-103. — (ed.). 1984. Page to Stage: Theatre as Translation. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
Research on Reproduction of the Musicality in the Translation of Shengshengman Lixin Wang & Zhaodi Zhang Harbin Institute of Technology (China) Northeastern University (China) Abstract Li Qingzhao’s Shengshengman enjoys a high status in classic Chinese poetry. Much research has been carried out on its English translations from different perspectives, such as aesthetics, pragmatics, hermeneutics and culture. This paper, however, conducts a contrastive study on Shengshengman’s five English translations from the viewpoint of musicality reproduction. The five selected versions are from Chinese translators Xu Yuanchong, Lin Yutang, Zhun Chunshen, a foreign translator John Turner and also one from online with an unknown identity. By a combination of quantitative and qualitative research, this paper attempts to make an objective evaluation on each translator’s gains and losses in musicality transference from five aspects: form construction, rhyme scheme, tonality, reduplicated words reproduction and onomatopoetic words representation. After data analysis and discussion, the results demonstrate that Xu’s translation tops others in rhyme scheme, tonality and reduplicated words. Lin’s and Zhu’s translations are better in form construction and onomatopoetic words. John Turner brings his own creativity into full play, but his translation is more like writing than translating. The online one presents no other strength except in the tonality reproduction. Final conclusions are drawn as follows. First, translators should translate verse into verse in which the original musicality is better preserved. Second, translators should be creative to generate similar sound effect instead of keeping strict adherence to the original metrical rules. This paper is of great significance in tapping the feasibility of musicality reproduction in English translation of Chinese poetry as well as enlightening translators to produce better poetry translation works.
Keywords musicality reproduction, Shengshengman, Chinese poetry translation
Li Qingzhao’s Shengshengman is a representative masterpiece of Song poetry whose sound beauty poses great challenge to translation. Many great translators home and abroad have made arduous efforts to reproduce the original musicality. Ever since these translation versions came into the public view, researchers have carried out numerous studies on them from different angles, such as aesthetics, pragmatics, hermeneutics and culture. Studies involved include research on the translation of the original images, culturalloaded words, and femininity reproduction etc. However, as most of their studies are qualitative in nature, their conclusions are subjective and lack strong persuasive power.
Lixin Wang & Zhaodi Zhang
This paper, however, by a combination of quantitative and qualitative research, provides tentative and contrastive research on Shengshengman's five English translation versions from the viewpoint of musicality reproduction, since a notable feature of it is its sound beauty. The five selected versions are from Chinese translators Xu Yuanchong, Lin Yutang, Zhun Chunshen, a foreign translator John Turner and also one from online with an unknown identity. The reason for choosing them is because they bear different backgrounds and have different translating levels so that their differences or features in translating the poem can be easily grasped, and thus an objective evaluation on each translator’s gains and losses in musicality transference can be clearly made and final rules can be concluded from their endeavour. The evaluation criteria are based on the agreement reached by great translators home and abroad in expounding how to transfer the sound beauty during translation. The paper desires to shed some light on tapping the feasibility of musicality reproduction in English translation of Chinese poetry, enlightening translators to produce better poetry translation works as well as deepening studies on Chinese poetry translation, making it more specific, objective and scientific. The whole thesis is comprised of four parts. The first part is an introduction. The second part lays a theoretical foundation in evaluating musicality reproduction in translating Li Qingzhao's Shengshengman. The third part as the main body of the paper makes an analysis on the five translation versions from five aspects: form construction, rhyme scheme, tonality, reduplicated words reproduction and onomatopoetic words representation. The fourth part is the conclusion. 2.
Criteria of evaluating musicality reproduction in poetry translation
Although there is no unified standard on how to translate classical Chinese poetry at present, many influential translation masters at home and abroad do reach a lot of agreements in dealing with the issue of musicality reproduction in poetry translation. Their consensuses comprise the paper’s criteria of evaluating musicality reproduction in poetry translation. In the west, Herbert A. Giles (1845-1945), professor of Chinese in the University of Cambridge, published his Chinese Poetry in English Verse in London in 1898. He stated that almost all classical Chinese poems can be sung, so rhyme is a very important part of its sound system (Herbert A. Giles, 1898). From his statement, it can be seen that he advocates a preservation of rhyme to produce the sound beauty. W.J.B. Fletcher, as a follower of Herbert. A. Giles, maintained that the original form should be kept and the original meter should be respected. His ideas are reflected in his work Gems of Chinese Poetry, published in Shanghai in 1919. John Turner published his A 90
Research on Reproduction of the Musicality in the Translation of Shengshengman
Golden Treasure of Chinese Poetry in Hong Kong. He held that translators should make the translation of a poem read like a poem itself, instead of complying with the modern fashion of putting Chinese verse into prose. By rhyme and rhythm, the poem’s structure can be balanced and its characters can be paralleled and thus the original musical beauty can be presented (John Turner, 1976). Peter Newmark (2001), as an English expert in translation studies, also says that: “The sound effects consist of alliteration, assonance, rhyme, meter, intonation, stress, onomatopoetic… In poetry, they are essential” (42-43). Other famous translators, including David Hawkes and Charles Budd, maintain the same opinion that is in the translation of classical Chinese poetry; sound beauty is an inseparable part to transfer, because it makes great contributions to the distinguishing feature of poetry. Translators should make efforts in structure construction, rhyme scheme, rhythm and other musical elements to reproduce the original sound effect. In China, translators almost share the same ideas with their counterparts. Wu Juntao (1985), as an experienced poetry translator, extends his opinion that: “If you want to convey the spirit and features of the original to a considerable perfection, you must try your best to make your translation close to the original both in spirit and in features. Since the original is poetry, it is better not to translate it into prose” (31). Apparently, he advocates to preserve the original features of poetry, including the sound system. Professor Cong Zihang (2007) points out in his book Theoretical Study on English Translation of Chinese Classic Poetry that the musicality of poetry language is achieved by the combination of rhyme and rhythm. Without considering poetic elements like rhyme and rhythm in translating, translators would fail to ensure that readers in English speaking countries can appreciate Chinese metrical verses and that the original poetry can be kept integral. It can be seen that Professor Cong emphasises considering the original text typology and keeping the original rhyme and rhythm in translating poetry. The sound effect of the original work should be paid due attention. Professor Gu Zhengkun (2003) also presents his ideas in his book Chinese and West: Comparative poetics and Translatology: “the unified construction form means unified rhythm patterns” (15). Obviously in Gu’s view, the construction form of a poem is closely related to rhythm which represents the poems’ musicality; therefore the original work’s construction form should be taken into consideration in reproducing the sound beauty of a poem. Another poetry translation master Xu Yuanchong (1983) thinks that without rhyme in translation, the original poem’s style and flavour are ruined. The sound beauty of Chinese poetry should be kept in way of alliteration, rhyme and iambus. His ideas are shared by Professor Liu Miqing (2005) who points out:
Lixin Wang & Zhaodi Zhang At least the rhyme should be kept to save the original sound beauty… poems with different lines contain inner metrical patterns and they can’t be translated into proses which has no such form. That’s to say translators should make efforts to maintain original sense of metre (101).
Huang Gaoxin (1999), the famous poetry translator also agrees this idea: The poetic meter which decides a poem’s rhythm and rhyme is the important mark of poems’ sound beauty. In translating poems, the metrical pattern of the original work should be represented so that the translated version can mirror the original sound beauty (101).
To sum up, the consensuses reached home and abroad in evaluating the musicality reproduction in poetry translation process are as follows. First, the translated poem should bear a similar construction form to the original one so that the rhythm produced by its form can be saved. Second, the translated poem should pay attention to its rhyme, without which a poem would lose most of its sound beauty. Third, the translated poem should try to grasp all the musical elements of a poem apart from its rhythm and rhyme, otherwise the musicality cannot be fully expressed in the translation process. 3.
Data analysis of translation versions
Gu Zhengkun (2003) has a remark that: “Ci of the Song Dynasty is much of the most beautiful poetry in China” (16). Li Qingzhao's poem Shengshengman is exquisite in sound beauty which mainly reflects in its form, rhyme, tonality, reduplicated words and onomatopoetic words. According to the second part above, whether these metrical elements can be well presented is a critical point in evaluating translation quality of this poetry. The following part will makes a contrastive research on the musicality reproduction in Shengshengman's five English translation versions. The five selected versions are from Chinese translators Xu Yuanchong, Lin Yutang, Zhun Chunshen, a foreign translator John Turner and also one from online with an unknown identity. With statistics analysis plus descriptive explanation, the paper, in the hope of shedding light on better translating poetry, studies each translator’s gains and losses in musicality transference. As the original work produces sound effect in form construction, rhyme scheme, tonality, usage of reduplicated words and onomatopoetic words, the author judges translating quality of each translator from the above five aspects to see whose work is best done.
Research on Reproduction of the Musicality in the Translation of Shengshengman
3.1. Construction form The form is the most direct way to reproduce the musicality, as the above declares, the variation in sentence length reflects a kind of rhythm. The five English translation versions have different characteristics in their form construction: Table 1. Construction form of each translation Tr.
Notes: TW: total words; WLL: words in the longest line; WSL: words in the shortest line.
It can be seen that all the translation versions are longer than the original one. This is “because translating the Chinese poetry in English means more than word-for-word rewriting, the grammar structure and part of speech collocation should be also taken into consideration” (Gu 2003:18). It is almost impossible to achieve the equal word numbers in translating Chinese poetry in English. However, each translator manages to apply different verses to reproduce the original rhyme. Relatively speaking, Zhu’s and Lin’s translations are closer to the original one in the total words, stanza, line and the words in the longest lines, indicating that they attempt to imitate the original rhythm patterns. Xu’s translation, although is longer than the original one, and with 16 lines in the first stanza, it differs greatly from the original one which is only 11 lines; he makes efforts to reproduce musicality brought by form in his stanza, the word number in the longest lines and shortest lines as well as word mode. That’s to say he transfers the rhythm by the variation of the sentence length. Translation from the online contains two stanzas and has the most six-word sentences, the same as the original poetry, indicating that the translator tries to grasp Li’s musicality in the general form. The defects are that he neglects the total word numbers and his longest line is much longer than the original, which ruins the author’s rhythm. John Turner’s version is quite special among the five in that he translates the twostanza poem in three-stanza, resulting in a much longer passage with 173 words in total than the original 97. In his translation, the three-word, four93
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word, five-word, six-word sentences occur frequently, different from the original one with six-word as its fixed sentence pattern. To sum up, all the translators use sentence variation to reproduce the original musicality, but each is characterised by different features. To be specific, Zhu’s and Lin’s translations are closer to the original poetry in general. Their translations are not only divided to lines in accordance with the original but the sentence length evens well with the original. Others vary greatly from the original form and hence are inferior to Zhu’s and Lin’s in this aspect. 3.2. Rhyme scheme Rhyme, serving as an important feature of poems, plays a significant role in creating sound effect in classical Chinese poems. Without the aid of rhyme, poetry can be ruined just like the collapse of a building. Rhyme scheme in Shengshengman contributes a lot to its musicality. Translation of the rhyme scheme is, to a large degree, decides whether the translation is good or not. The follow table presents five translators’ translation. Table 2. Rhyme scheme of each translation Rhyme Pattern Xu Zhu End Rhyme Head Rhyme
aabbccddeef aabbccddee ×
Internal Rhyme Alliteration
Note: the percentage in the table means the proportion of words with these rhyme patterns to the total word number. Ĝ means translators use such rhyme patterns, but less than 5%. × means the translator doesn’t use such pattern.
Li’s shengshengman has an end rhyme pattern /i/or its variation and contains much alliteration and assonance to enhance its sound effect. From Table 2, it can be seen that each translator makes his efforts in rhyme patterns, among whom Xu Yuanchong distinguishes others in that he is the only person succeeding in keeping an end rhyme. This just embodies his constant position of translating poetry with rhyme. Although Zhu Chunshen fails to keep a unified end rhyme, he applies many rhyme words. Among the total 27 sentence end words, there are 23 words are rhyme words which have quickly changed rhyme feet. They make his translation sound beautiful. Lin’s, 94
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Turner’s and the online translation also draw support from end rhyme to transfer the original musicality, but do not take a big proportion as Zhu’s. Particularly, no translators can manage to keep head rhyme, because it is usually hard to hold both meaning beauty and sound beauty. In translating poetry, translators usually put expressing meaning as their priority and maintaining sound beauty is the second factor they pay attention to. In terms of internal rhyme, even if no translators can succeed in keeping an internal rhyme from the beginning to the end, Zhu, Lin and Turner do make some tentative efforts in this aspect. In terms of alliteration, it is reflected in each person’s translation; Lin’s and Turner’s translations are particularly salient in this aspect. No doubt so say the application of alliteration is helpful in increasing metrical sense. Although the online translation use some alliteration, it is not so obvious as others. What’s more, all the translators employ eye rhyme which may do little help in reading to feel the sound effect but transfer musicality in visual sense. Relatively speaking, though others take some measures like the application of internal and alliteration to present the original rhyme scheme. Xu Yuanchong’s translation distinguishes others in that he is the only person succeeding in keeping an end rhyme which is the most challengeable task in poetry translation, and also it is closest to the original integral /i/ jiaoyun. 3.3. Tonality With a great many sounds produced by the touch between the teeth and tongue, plus a close vowel /i/ serving as the rhyme foot, Shengshengman expresses the female author’s depression and pathos. How to represent depressed music is an inevitable question faced by each translator. In English the labiodental and alveolar can be used to generate original tonality in terms of the place of articulation. If the manner of articulation is taken into consideration, fricative and affricate can achieve the similar sound effect to the original poem. As /f/ /v/ are both labiodental and fricative, they are here classified into fricative and since the labiodental only contains /f/ /v/, when they are included in the fricative, there is no consonant in the row of labiodental, so here it is omitted. Besides, the diphthongs (belongs to tense vowels) and other tense vowels produce a relatively slow sound which to some extend reaches the effect produced by the original tonality, so here they are also counted.
Lixin Wang & Zhaodi Zhang
Table 3. Phonemes of each translation End-word Xu Zhu phonemes Alveolar 16 18 Fricative 2 0 Affricate 0 0 Diphthongs 6 5 Tense vowels 0 0 Total Proportion to the total
19 0 0 0 0
19 3 0 2 2
16 1 0 2 0
From Table 3, it can be seen that in order to translate the original low tonality, all the translators, with the aid of sentence-end phonemes, produce a similar depressed tonality. Among the phonemes, alveolar is most frequently used, as “alveolar are made with the tongue tip or blade and alveolar ridges” (Hu 2008: 32). It is in accordance with the original sound which are most produced by the touch of tongue and teeth, like “ci di”, “zen”, “liao de”. Each of the translators uses a large number of effective phonemes to build Li Qingzhao’s depressed mood, reaching above 75%. In particular, Xu and Zhu surpass the other three versions with a high percentage of above 90%. Different from the other three versions, diphthongs in their translations account for a noticeable percentage, indicating that both of them realise the effectiveness of diphthongs in expressing the sad emotion. The online version was a little inferior to Xu’s and Zhu’s, but also does a good job with a relatively high percentage of 90. These sentence-end phonemes are turned out to be useful in transferring the original tonality. 3.4. Reduplicated words reproduction In Li’s Shengshengman, there are seven groups, altogether 14 re-duplicated words in the initial place: “xun xun mi mi, leng leng qing qing, qi qi can can qi qi”. These re-duplicated words bear a strong sense of music. How to reproduce this sound beauty is an inevitable issue needed to be handled by each translator; the following tables shows how they translate them.
Research on Reproduction of the Musicality in the Translation of Shengshengman
Table 4. Reduplicated words reproduction Tr. Xu Zhu Lin SL 22 22 14 structure parallelism parallelism parallelism rhyme aabb end, alliteration internal alliteration rhythm trimetric free two feet iambic iambic feature miss-mi tense so+7 monocheer-qi vowels, syllabic nasal words consonants
Turner 35 free end, internal alliteration free
Online 21 free free
This Table clearly shows that, in terms of the sentence length (SL), Lin’s 14 words are the same as the original, besides, he skilfully uses seven “so” plus seven “d” letter initialled monosyllabic words, forming a two feet iambic, with parallel structure, it is quite impressive while reading and the effect brought by the re-duplicated words are well presented. Xu’s translation, though a little longer than the original, uses the rhetorical device of parallelism and “aabb” rhyme, namely a couplet, making up a neat trimetric iambic. What is more precious is that “miss” and “mi”, “cheer” and “qi” share the similar pronunciations, and thus the sound beauty and sound similarity are both fulfilled. There are no unified rhythms in Zhu’s translation, whose sentence length is also longer than the original, but his application of parallel structure and, a large number of end, internal and alliteration with tense vowel, nasal consonants make his translation read smoothly. Turner’s translation is the longest among the five and he doesn’t use any rhythm, this is consistent with his idea that poetry translation is a new creation, nevertheless, the employment of end, internal rhyme and alliteration make up the deficiency to some extent. The online one in this aspect doesn’t reveal any cooperative advantage—no rhythm, no rhyme, no feature, showing that poetry translation is rather challenging. In a word, in dealing with re-duplicated words, Xu’s and Lin’s translations better transfer the original sound beauty and can serve as reference for other translators.
Lixin Wang & Zhaodi Zhang
3.5. Onomatopoetic words representation Table 5. Onomatopoetic words representation ⛩⛩┤┤ Translation
Zhu dripping dropping alliteration end rhyme
Lin pit-a-pat alliteration onomatopoeia
Turner drop drip alliteration end rhyme
Online drop after drop repeat words
The onomatopoetic words “dian dian di di” appear in the context of “wu tong geng jian xi yu, dao huang hun, dian dian di di”. Xu translates it into “a fine rain drizzles”, “drizzles” in Oxford Advanced Learner’s EnglishChinese Dictionary means “[v] raining lightly”(524). From this explanation, it can be seen that Xu shows readers the rain is fine and light, however the rain sound—onomatopoetic effect is lost. Zhu and Turner reproduce the musicality with the aid of rhetorical devices alliteration and end rhyme, better than Xu’s but inferior to Lin’s whose translation is “pit-a-pat, pit-apat”. This translation is not only alliteration but also onomatopoetic. Readers can catch the constant fine autumn rain. The original sound beauty created by the onomatopoetic words is well presented. The online one just repeats “drop”, failing to highlight the fineness and the musical sound of the rain. So it is reasonable to say that Lin, Zhu, and Turner do a relatively good job in this aspect, but Xu and the online version don’t handle it quite well. 4.
Musicality is a notable feature of Li Qingzhao’s Shengshengman. How to reproduce the metrical beauty is an evitable question faced by every translator. By a combination of quantitative and qualitative research, the paper contrasts study five English translations, including Chinese translators and a foreigner. The paper makes an objective evaluation on each translator’s gains and losses in musicality transference from five aspects: form construction, rhyme scheme, tonality, reduplicated words reproduction and onomatopoetic words representation. After data analysis and discussion, the result demonstrates Xu Yuanchong, an expert in translating Chinese poetry, tops others in rhyme scheme, tonality and translating sentence initial reduplicated words, which enlightens others to draw reference from it. Lin’s and Zhu’s translations are better in form construction and onomatopoetic words handling and their skills in these aspects leave a valuable experience
Research on Reproduction of the Musicality in the Translation of Shengshengman
for others to learn from. John Turner’s translation is quite special in the five; he brings his own creativity into full play, but his translation is more like writing than translating and he doesn’t take the metrical elements seriously. So to speak, he is inferior to Xu in transferring the metre. The online version presents no other strength except in the tonality reproduction. After an analysis of each translator’s gains and losses, final conclusions are drawn as follows. First, translators should translate verse into verse in which the original musicality is better preserved. Since musicality is an inseparable element of classic Chinese poetry, translators should strive to produce this sound beauty instead of ignoring them by translating them into prose in which the music is greatly damaged. Second, translators should be creative to generate similar sound effect instead of keeping strict adherence to the original metrical rules. Because there exist great differences between Chinese poetry and English verse, when the musicality in Chinese can’t find its counterpart in English, translators should be encouraged to create a similar sound effect. The paper is of significance in two points. First it reveals some feasible ways to reproduce the musicality in poetry translation and will enlighten translators to find a better way in dealing with traditional Chinese poetry, and thus the elite Chinese culture can be somehow savoured by foreigners. Second, as this research first tries to use quantitative method to study Li Qingzhao’s poetry translation, it will make Li’s poetry study more specific, objective and scientific. Though great efforts have occurred, this paper is nevertheless not impeccable; some limitations need mentioning. First, since the author just chose one poem as a study subject without analysing others, it is not enough to deepen Chinese poetry translation studies. Second, the translation versions are just five, though helpful in providing some reference for translators in transferring musicality, they are insufficient to represent all the translation methods, and for this reason, the present author hopes more scholars can delve deeper in Li’s poetry study and make their due contributions towards the development of Chinese traditional culture. References Fletcher, William John Bainbrigge 1919. Gems of Chinese Poetry. Shanghai: Commercial Press Limited. Giles, Herbert A. 1898. Chinese Poetry in English Verse. London: B. Quaritch Publication. Gu Zhengkun. 2003. China and West: comparative poetics and translatology. Beijing: Tsing University Press. Hornby, Albert Sydney. 2009. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. Shanghai: The Commercial Press.
Lixin Wang & Zhaodi Zhang Huang Gaoxin. 1999. A Series of Translation Studies in China. Wuhan: Hubei Education Press. Hu Zhuanglin. 2008. Linguistics: A Course Book Third Edition. Beijing: Peking University Press. Liu Miqing. 2005. An Introduction to Translation and Aesthetics (2nd Edition). Beijing: China Translation & Publishing Corporation. Li Qingzhao. 2009. Shu Yu Poem. ShenYang: Wan Juan Publishing House. Newmark, Peter 2001. A Course Book of Translation. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Languages Education Press. Turner, John A. 1976. A Golden Treasure of Chinese Poetry. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press. Wu Juntao. 1985. An English Version of Du Fu’s Poems. Shanxi: Shanxi People’s Publishing House. Xu Yuanchong. 2006. Art of Translation. Beijing: Wu Zhou Broadcasting Corporation. Xu Yuanchong. 2007. 100 Tang and Song Ci Poems. Beijing: China Translation & Publishing Corporation.
Technological Interventions in Literary Meaning: A Case of Machine Translation Tong King Lee The University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong) Abstract This paper develops the notion of embodiment in literature and literary translation with an illustrative case example involving the use of machine translation in the production of bilingual poetry. From the physical design of the literary artefact to the defamiliarised reading experience that emerges from the characteristic literalism in automated translation, the case example in question demonstrates the performative nature of poetry writing/translation, as mediated through technology. The paper argues that the interplay among textuality, technology and translation is central to the creation of a ‘material’ poetics that deconstructs conventional notions of how literary meaning can be conceived and translated.
Keywords machine translation, technology, embodiment, material poetics, Pink Noise.
This paper argues for an embodied perspective on literary writing/translation, with an eye on how technology may contribute to the enterprise of multimodal literature by way of innovative media and machine translation. In line with the ‘somatic turn’ in the social sciences that has brought attention to the sociological meaning of the senses (Vannini, Waskul & Gottschalk 2012), developments in the field of communication studies have pointed to the intersemiotic constitution of meaning in writing (Kress & van Leeuwen 2001, 2006) and translation (Lee 2012, 2014). Although discursive practices have for long engaged the multiple sensory faculties of their readers (e.g., through the use of illustrations in children’s literature; see Oittinen 2003), the notion of embodiment is new to literary studies in general and to translation studies in particular. New empirical material is thus needed to illustrate the practice of embodied literature, for instance, through the use of non-traditional material platforms and visual devices in writing and translation. By contrast, machine translation (MT) has garnered a rich literature in the field. MT has traditionally been treated from technical approaches, with emphasis on the operations of computing technology in enhancing the range and efficiency of translating processes (Wilks 2009; Koehn 2010; Olive et al. 2011). In extant studies, machine translation has for the most part been associated with pragmatic texts such as technical documentation,
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characterised by recursive terminology and generally uncomplicated syntax. MT, however, is by no means exclusive to such practical tasks as the translation of instruction manuals; used creatively, it can become the discursive engine behind literary endeavours that seek to dissolve perceived barriers between creative writing and translation, as well as cast new light on the contingency of meaning in multimodal and multilingual performances in literature. This paper describes such an endeavour in the Taiwanese literary scene. 2.
Technology and its discontents
The notion of technology need not be restricted to digital platforms; in the widest sense, it includes any process by which a task is executed, by applying certain techniques or tapping into resources that could enhance the task at hand, either in terms of its efficiency and/or effectiveness, or in terms of its aesthetic properties. Thus, the art of making a wooden sculpture from a tree is technology, as is producing wine from grapes (Vannini, Waskul & Gottschalk 2012: 50). Indeed, the use of language involves complex techniques used to meet specific ends (consider the concept of speech acts, for example), such that it is possible to speak of a “technology of language” (Vannini, Waskul & Gottschalk 2012: 56). In a similar vein, writing has been seen as “the oldest and one of the most enduring technologies we know” (Liu 2010: 18), a fact which, in both Chinese and Japanese, is embodied in the lexical item ᮷ ᰾, literally ‘illumination through written text(s)’ or ‘text shines forth’ (Vannini, Waskul & Gottschalk 2012: 17). Technologies in publishing may be manifested in the form of inventive uses of communicative media, in which digital and electronic expertise may (as, for instance, in the cases of the iPhone and iPad) or may not be directly involved. The use of transparency, colour contrast and parallel-text layout in Taiwanese writer Hsia Yü’s poetry collection Pink Noise is an example of the latter, whereby technology takes the form of an innovative employment of material to produce a tactile volume of literature inflected with postmodernist visual effects. On the other hand, MT is exemplary of the intervention of digital technology in discursive processes. The application of MT to literary writing is a marked discursive venture, not only because the machine translator has not often been associated with ‘soft’ texts, but also because the notorious literalness of machine translation does not sit comfortably with the characteristic fluidity of literary writing. As will be explained below, the markedness of the machine in poetry writing makes it the prime candidate for the role of the translator in Hsia’s experimental project, where literalness in translation is imbued with a different value from communicative approaches to translation theory. 102
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Pink Noise is, therefore, a product of technology, both in the digital and non-digital senses. It illustrates the confluence of technology and literary writing, and provides empirical material on which we can theorise about how (automated) translation contributes to the development of an embodied literature and, at the same time, becomes a performance in its own right. 3.
Embodiment and materiality in literary writing/translation
The embodied nature of literature has always been central to the aesthetics of Hsia Yü’s publications. By ‘embodiment’, I refer to the corporeal form which a piece of literary creation takes, usually entailing a mode of representation beyond the printed word and engaging more than one sense faculty. Hsia’s preoccupation with the tangibility and visuality of literature is exemplified in most of her earlier publications, notable among which is Rub Ineffable, a collection of ‘recycled poems’ cut out (by hand) from Hsia’s earlier volume Ventriloquy and (re)presented in pastiche form. Also exemplary in this respect is Salsa, designed in such a way that readers need to tear up along the sides of facing pages that are attached to each other, which reminds us of faulty publications in which a couple of un-separated pages can sometimes be found. In her 2011 lyric collection That Zebra, Hsia cut up her multi-colourstriped book (inspired by the patterning of zebra stripes) into two halves in a top-bottom fashion. Readers may read in random permutation, combining the first half of a lyric poem with the second half of another poem – in any arrangement and for any number of times – thereby generating a plethora of interpretations and challenging the organic unity of poetic form. Perhaps Hsia’s most ground-breaking work to date is Pink Noise (Hsia 2008). This collection is a highly experimental project that taps into the translation application of a Macintosh web tool (the now-defunct Sherlock) to generate 33 bilingual poems (32 English-Chinese pairs and one FrenchChinese pair). The poet first gathered English phrases and clauses plucked randomly from the web and pieced them into a form that resembled a poem. The ‘poem’ was then fed into the application to produce a Chinese translation. Hsia then modified the English text based on its translation (which invariably turned out to be a different creature), and fed the new English version into the machine translator to churn out another Chinese translation. Elsewhere I have discussed the implication of this computer-mediated, reiterative method of writing/translation for re-thinking the boundary between writing and translation (Lee 2011a) and for deconstructing the agency of the translator (Lee 2011b). Here I would like to highlight how the project displays the viscerality of writing through its multimodality. In the next section, examples will be provided to show how automated translation is strategically deployed to produce an embodied literature in this highly imaginative project. 103
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In his study of nonverbal communication, Poyatos (2008: 8) alerts us to our “sensorial involvement with a book” that precedes the act of reading proper. This consists of our interaction with books as objects, including our visual perception of its size, dimension, colour, as well as our tactile/kinaesthetic perception of its texture, thickness, weight, dimensions, surfaces and contours (Poyatos 2008: 4-8). Pink Noise presents a good example of such a pre-reading multimodal experience of a book. The book in question is printed entirely on vinyl (see Figure 1). It is colour-coded, with the English poems printed in black and their Chinese translations printed in pink. The formatting is such that the English and Chinese poems (printed on separate pages) are left- and right-justified respectively and fall in alignment with each other when the transparencies on which they are printed are held together. For this purpose, one would need to insert a piece of paper (preferably light-coloured) beneath the Chinese translation, so as to block off interference from the other printed transparencies and render the parallel texts possible to read. It is immediately obvious that the tactile and visual properties of Pink Noise are designed not to facilitate but to inhibit reading – the transparency material is slippery and the book considerably heavy; the superimposition of texts and colours is confusing to the reader’s eyes (see Figure 2). But why would any author create an inhibitive reading experience for his or her reader? We might venture with the hypothesis that the motivation for designing a book based on the principle of unreadability is to deconstruct the conventional habits and expectations of reading. It foregrounds the materiality of printed literature – hence constructing literature as an artefact, and bears out the sheer physicality involved in reading such literature (consider, for instance, the turning of the vinyl pages between fingers and the tracking through the coloured printed words).
Technological Interventions in Literary Meaning
Figure 1. Transparency material used as printing medium in Pink Noise (reproduced by permission of James Kao)
Figure 2. Superimposition of texts (and colours) in Pink Noise (reproduced by permission of James Kao)
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In the scheme of the poet, the reader is forced to struggle with the slippery material and contrasting visuals of the book to access the poems, which are another source of difficulty, as we shall see below. This ‘struggle’ – in effect, a cumbersome reading process – is an integral part of the reading experience: the embodied nature of reading emerges through the reader’s attempt to orientate himself or herself in unfamiliar material territory. The defamiliarisation of the physical conditions of reading through the innovative employment of various senses creates a sense of alienation. It is owing to such alienation that the reader starts to feel the act of reading, rather than execute the act (and take it for granted) without conscious attention to its operation. In other words, this book of bilingual poetry is designed in such a way that the corporeality of literary reading comes to the fore, whereby the reader is viscerally engaged with the physical material in which literature is embodied. The ground is thus set for the reader to confront the mechanics of machine translation and the epistemological challenges it brings. 4.
Machine translation: Fetishism for the word
If reading Pink Noise proves to be a physically tiresome affair, this is further exacerbated by the 33 computer-mediated Chinese translations, which are literal, nonsensical, and sometimes unexpectedly funny and ironic. In this bilingual collection, machine translation creates the effect of noncommunicability through its disregard for grammaticality (Lee 2011b: 100), and non-communicability is a double-edged sword: it may turn off readers, or it may turn them on. While Hsia makes it extremely difficult for readers to make sense of the translated poems, she draws her readers’ attention to the word. By ‘word’ I refer to the physical body of a word, not the semantics of a word loaded into it by convention and tradition, but the word per se. Being forced to juggle with the signification of the marginally comprehensible translated text, the reader is alerted to how meaning is embodied – or, better still – disembodied from the Chinese signifiers. Conventional usage has bred complacence in writers and readers alike, such that language users invoke linguistic resources without contemplating the very form that carries the meanings they express. By rendering her Chinese poems almost undecipherable through machine translation, Hsia subverts the properties of communicability of meaning and invisibility of signifying operations, both central to efficiency and effectiveness in pragmatic inter-linguistic practices. Take the following poem as an example (Hsia 2008):
Technological Interventions in Literary Meaning
English ‘source’ text Plenty of chances to see old friends and relatives They missed plenty of chances To see their old friends and relatives They are severely agitated personalities Who hunger constantly To express all the myriad thoughts in their heads But often they have no one to listen to They want another chance An omniscient narrator who does not appear in the poem Like a creaking pendulum teetering back and forth with narrations He can’t afford to replace Chinese translation by Sherlock ⣏慷㨇㚫䚳侩奒㇂㚳⍳ ṾᾹ゛⾝⣏慷㨇㚫 䚳ṾᾹ䘬侩奒㇂㚳⍳ ṾᾹ㗗♜慵⛘䘬塓溻准䘬ᾳ⿏ 婘䴻ⷠ㷜㛃 堐忼㚱䃉㔠䘬゛㱽⛐ṾᾹ䘬柕墉 ỮṾᾹ䴻ⷠ㚱㰺Ṣ倥 ṾᾹ゛天℞Ṿ㨇㚫 㰺↢䎦⛐娑䘬ᶨᾳℐ䞍妋婒⒉ ⁷ᶨ㈲⏙⏙枧䘬㒢拀帋嶂⛘⍵央ẍ㔀徘 Ṿ䃉㱽㚧㎃ Back-translation by Google Translate Ample opportunity to see old friends and relatives They miss a lot of opportunity To see their old friends and relatives They are seriously the personality to be encouraged Who are often eager to Express all ideas in their numerous header But they often Moren listen They want another chance
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Did not appear in the omniscient narrator of a poem Like a creaking of the pendulum hobble over and over again to describe He can not replace This example illustrates the tracks of divergence in machine-generated translation, with implications for how literary meaning can be (mis)construed across languages. “They missed plenty of chances”, a perfectly well-formed English sentence, becomes tamen xiangnian daliang jihui, where the verb “missed”, with the sense of ‘fail to encounter’ in the English line, is rendered by the machine as xiangnian ゛⾝, one of several lexical equivalents in Chinese for the English verb, here with the sense of ‘to think fondly of [something or someone]’. A polysemous verb in the English poem thus splits itself in the Chinese translation, whereby the sense of ‘they failed to encounter plenty of chances’ morphs into that of ‘they thought fondly about [or reminisced] the abundant opportunities’. This happens because the machine is notoriously literal and hence unable to cancel out irrelevant meanings in context. From the perspective of semantic transfer, the translation would have been an utter failure, and a human translator who produces such translation would most certainly be marked down severely. But in Hsia’s project, this apparent weakness of the machine translator is an invaluable trait that the poet exploits to release language from its conventional patterns of signification. The syntactic inflexibility of the machine translator results in a translated prose that borders on ungrammaticality, as seen in line three: tamen shi yanzhong di de bei guwu de gexing Ṿ Ᾱ 㗗 ♜ 慵 ⛘ 䘬 塓 溻 准 䘬 ᾳ ⿏ . Through such syntactic distortion, new interpretations of an original line are sometimes borne out in the translation. The construction bei guwu de gexing, a marked structure in Chinese, could mean something like “a personality that is encouraged” (see back-translation), which does not make a lot of sense but is not totally nonsensical either. In any case, this sense derived in translation can be said to be absent in the corresponding line in the source text “They are severely agitated personalities”, which more or less means ‘they are agitated people’. The line in the source text can be seen to have gained an ‘afterlife’, à la Walter Benjamin, or a new life even, through the machine translator’s (mis)reading, wherein a new interpretation (always potential and tentative) is born. This is made possible by the machine translator’s syntactical distortion of the target language, an obvious negative attribute in conventional eyes. In this particular project, however, Hsia Yü turns the tables by celebrating the incapacity of the machine to translate accurately and fluently. In so doing, the poet destabilises the two criteria that have often been taken for granted in translation, projects incommunicability as an aesthetic quality and
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scandalises native speakers’ intuitive sense of the Chinese language by corrupting its grammatical and collocational patterns. In Pink Noise, while the ‘original’ poems do not possess a firm interpretive meaning (as of all poetry), they are generally written in viable English. The Chinese translations, on the other hand, are often characterised by a waywardness that will throw the native reader into utter frustration. Let us look at another example from the collection: English ‘source’ text I used to think that it wasn’t good to write so often If you don’t mind our saying so: Feeling stuck in a rut Or mired In some habitual ways of thinking? These little black keys start to lose all meaning After a few minutes of staring at them You’d be surprised at how much time this can free up And how much better you will feel As if jealous of the other For your younger Perkier pudding breasts Chinese translation by Sherlock ㆹ忶⍣ⷠ娵䇚⬫ᶵ㗗⤥恋湥䴻ⷠ⮓ ⤪㝄ぐᶵṳシㆹᾹ䘬婒⤪㬌烉 デ⇘湷旬⛐干廒䕽御 ㆾ㌚ℍ㊩ᷭ㇘ 䓐ᶨṃ㖍ⷠ⿅䵕㕡⺷烎 忁ṃ⮷䘬湹刚斄挝⫿攳⥳᷇⣙㚱⏓佑 ⛐⸦姀抬ↅ㛃ẍ⼴⛐⬫Ᾱ ぐ⮵⣂⮹㗪⇣⮯樂⣯忁⎗傥慳㓦 ᷎ᶼ⣂⮹㚜⤥ぐ⮯デ⇘ ⤥⁷⩱⤺℞Ṿ 䇚ぐ䘬㚜≈⸜庽䘬
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㚜≈槽⁚䘬ⶫᶩḛ Back-translation by Google Translate I used to think that it is not good so often write If you do not mind our saying so: Feel stuck in the wheel traces Or mired With some everyday ways of thinking? These small black began to lose all meaning of the keyword After a few records in their gaze You will be surprised on how much time it may be released And how much better you will feel As if jealous of the other For your younger More proud of the pudding breasts In the Chinese translations of Pink Noise, it is common for metaphorical expressions in the source text to be rendered literally by the machine (Lee 2011b). In the example above, the English idiom “feel stuck in the rut” is rendered literally as gandao nianfu zai chelun henji デ⇘湷旬⛐干廒䕽御 “feel stuck in the wheel traces (tracks)”, which does not deliver the idiomatic meaning of the corresponding English expression. Indeed, the literal rendition does not make much sense in Chinese. But ‘sense’, as it were, is a construct, and as with all other constructs, it can be deconstructed. In “These little black keys start to lose all meaning/After a few minutes of staring at them”, “keys” (probably referring to ‘keys’ on the computer keyboard) becomes guanjianzi 斄挝⫿ ‘keywords’ and “minutes” (referring to a unit of time) becomes jilu 姀抬 (as in ‘minutes of a meeting’). This unconscious distortion of the source text by way of selecting irrelevant semantic options accruing from a word results in nonsensicality. But the concept of nonsense/non-sense hinges on our conventionalised notion of ‘sense’, which begs the question: what is ‘sense’ in language? In Chinese, there is a word for this: yugan 䃎ᝏ, literally ‘the feel for language’. It refers to the native speaker’s intuition of what works and what doesn’t work in a certain language. But is such intuition inherent, or is it the product of linguistic institutionalisation? A philosophical perspective is needed to appreciate the implications of Pink Noise. To simply pronounce judgment on the illisibilité (unreadability, à
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la Roland Barthes) of the Chinese translations in the poetry volume and the untenability of the machine in translating literature is to entirely miss the point. The syntactic and semantic disturbances induced by machine translation expose the traces that ‘meaning’ can potentially follow through. When the perfectly comprehensible “You’d be surprised at how much time this can free up/And how much better you will feel” is distorted into the neargibberish Nin dui duoshao shike jiang jingqi zhe keneng shifang/bingqie duoshao genghao nin jiang gaodao ぐ⮵⣂⮹㗪⇣⮯樂⣯忁⎗傥慳㓦/᷎ᶼ ⣂⮹㚜⤥ぐ⮯デ⇘, but back-translated by Google as “You will be surprised on how much time it may be released/And how much better you will feel”, one begins to ponder how meaning can loop back onto itself via a set of (translated) signifiers that does not make conventional sense. Machine translation plays a deconstructing role here by refusing to abide by conventional principles of translation, for instance, of rendering an idiom in a source text with a functionally-equivalent idiom in the target language. By refusing to translate ‘properly’, the machine refuses to play the meaning ‘game’, which allows for productive communication. But literature need not be ‘productive’ in the usual sense; in the world of Hsia Yü, literature serves as a force of resistance to conventional usage of language. By tracing the contours of the source language closely, the machine translator produces poetry that is at once faithful (to the form) and traitorous (to the sense). What emerges is a unique form of language, translationese perhaps, but no doubt distinct from both the source and target languages and assuming a hybrid identity of its own. While I would not venture to say it might be something close to the ‘pure language’ envisioned by Walter Benjamin, this hybrid code is nonetheless a material reminder of the arbitrary association of form and sense in our language (in this case, Chinese), a linguistic fact that we often overlook in our bid to achieve linguistic efficacy. The implication of such machine-generated translated product goes beyond a poet’s casual play with the machine translator. It throws critical light on the constitution of literary meaning, as inflected through translation. I have elsewhere expounded on the metaphorics of the notion of ‘transparency’ in Pink Noise, noting the apparent paradox between the visual transparency of the volume and the non-transparency of meaning that is at the centre of this project (Lee 2011b). I will further argue here that by producing an unruly translation that tests the native speaker’s patience, Hsia Yü protrudes the material contours of the Chinese language, for the reader is forced to read the translation closely and reiteratively in order to derive some tentative ‘sense’ of it. Through her fetish-like interest in the ‘body’ (i.e., the form) of the language, the poet manifests an embodiment of language through machine translation. The literary word per se, not literary ‘meaning’ – the palimpsest formed by fossilised layers of ‘senses’ – is the object of 111
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concern. Coupled with the physical properties of the book, this emphasis on the corporeal nature of language constructs a concept of writing/translation that subverts usual modes of signification, meaning-production and literary reception. This enables readers to derive the pleasures (or displeasures, as the case might be) of reading literature by working their way from the fundamental core of language itself. 5.
Materiality, performativity and machine translation
In Pink Noise, the embodiment of language, as realised through the literalism of machine translation, foregrounds the materiality of the linguistic sign. This foregrounding, I would suggest, is a type of performance, one that is mediated by technology and enacted through translation. By making her book unwieldy to the touch and visual senses, Hsia Yü defamiliarises the reading process, hence throwing readers right to the deep end and leaving them uncertain as to what to expect. The strategic use of the machine translator to create marginally grammatical expressions further foreignises the reading experience to which readers are accustomed, confusing their usual expectation of drawing out well-defined meanings from well-formed structures. Under such intense material and discursive conditions, readers are compelled to engage with the language itself rather than to go straight for the ‘meaning’ behind the signifiers. It is in this sense that translation, oxymoronically, facilitates a breakdown in literary communication and reorients the reader back to the signifier, i.e., the Chinese character, which embodies the semantic and phonetic values of the language. Indeed, if Pink Noise is construed as a multimodal performance, the act of translation participates by producing a jarring linguistic experience that forces readers to recognise the tangible qualities of literary production and share the poet’s fetish for the physical contours of the Chinese language. In her intriguing book The Freudian Robot, Lydia Liu ruminates on the theoretical link between literary imagination and technology. In particular, she looks at literary experiments that play with “stochastic processes” (such as James Joyce’s novels) and calls for a philosophical understanding of a machine-mediated world of communication: When confronted by literary experiments that do not involve authorial consciousness but instead rely on chance or unconscious stochastic processes, our first reaction is to be skeptical or to judge the outcome as good or bad poetry. But is the judgment relevant to what is really going on? The problem is that our artistic judgment often depends on criteria that are increasingly difficult to disentangle from the standards of media technology, the global market, and public institutions that produce and evaluate artistic works. As the new media have gained in popularity in recent years, the pendulum now seems to swing in the opposite direction. Not only do a growing number of people not object to computer-generated literature, music, games, film, and art installations, but
Technological Interventions in Literary Meaning they begin to embrace them as postmodern and posthuman expressions….for better or worse, the machine has turned into the engine of contemporary social and political life and is here to stay. Our task then is to grasp the philosophical implications of this event through the technicality of the machine itself and relate this knowledge to a broader political understanding of the digital media (Liu 2010: 42-43).
By tapping into the random operations of a machine translator, Hsia Yü’s project becomes one of those “literary experiments that do not involve authorial consciousness but instead rely on chance or unconscious stochastic processes”. The significance of Pink Noise lies in the way it challenges habitual reading practices and destabilises the epistemological basis of literary meaning, as it is conventionally defined. Machine translation plays a key part here by participating in the (un)making of literary meaning. The perceived weakness of the machine translator – its incapacity to produce sensible and fluent language – is celebrated here for its inadvertent deconstruction of our assumptions about how the Chinese language should read like, as well as how any given utterance means what it has come to mean. It defamiliarises the Chinese language to the extent that native speakers feel alienated, thus drawing them ever closer towards the materiality of the (Chinese) sign. This focus on the materiality of meaning ties in with the bizarre physicality of the book, which activates the sensorial potentials of reading literature. What emerges then is an embodied literary reading experience, as mediated by translation technology, which is defamiliarising not only to the senses but also to the sensibility of the common reader. 6.
Pink Noise foregrounds the materiality of experimental Chinese literature in an unprecedented way. Its contribution lies in its aggressively embodied nature – its eyebrow-raising physical make-up as well as the highly alienating nature of its translated prose. Its unconventionality aside, the poetry collection is theoretically interesting in its enactment of a deconstructionist position with respect to literary meaning. Through the use of machine translation, Hsia Yü rebels against the readability of literature by celebrating the nonsensicality of its translated texts. Meaning in translation is dissipated through distorted syntax and unacceptable collocations. Even the notion of ‘originary meaning’ is put into question – the source texts are not really any genuine ‘sources’, for they are but a montage of random clippings from cyberspace. As an innovative poetic artefact, Pink Noise is significant not only because of its anomaly as a literary experiment. As a literary anomaly, it brings into relief certain features of literary writing that are not evinced in more conventional works, namely, its materiality and intersemioticity. 113
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Through this case study, I hope to have elucidated the relationship between translation, technology and experimental literature within a single text, with a view to theorising the complex interplay between the three in multimodal works of art. This is a productive line of research that deserves more attention than it has currently received.
References Hsia Yü ༿ᆷ. 2008. Pink Noise ㊹㌵㢢ಚ丣 (Second edition). Taipei: Self-Published. Koehn, Philipp. 2010. Statistical machine translation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kress, Gunther & Theo van Leeuwen. 2001. Multimodal Discourse: The Modes and Media of Contemporary Communication. London: Arnold. Kress, Gunther & Theo van Leeuwen. 2006. Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design (2nd Edition). London: Routledge. Lee, Tong-King. 2011a. ‘Translational (de)construction in contemporary Chinese poetics: A case study of Hsia Yü’s Pink Noise’ in The Translator 17(1): 1-24. Lee, Tong-King. 2011b. ‘The death of the translator in machine translation: A bilingual poetry project’ in Target 23(1): 92-112. Lee, Tong-King. 2012. ‘Performing multimodality: Literary translation, intersemioticity and technology’ in Perspectives (iFirst article) DOI: 10.1080/0907676X.2012.693107. Lee, Tong-King 2014. ‘Translation, materiality, intersemioticity: Excursions in experimental literature’, in Semiotica 202: 345-364. Liu, Lydia H. 2010. The Freudian Robot: Digital Media and the Future of the Unconscious. Chicago: Chicago University Press. Oittinen, Riitta. 2003. ‘Where the wild things are: translating picture books’ in Meta 48(1/2): 128-141. Olive, Joseph, Caitlin Christianson & John McCary (eds). 2011. Handbook of Natural Language Processing and Machine Translation. New York: Springer. Poyatos, Fernandos. 2008. Textual Translation and Live Translation: The Total Experience of Nonverbal Communication in Literature, Theater and Cinema. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Vannini, Phillip, Dennis Waskul & Simon Gottschalk. 2012. The Senses in Self, Society and Culture: A Sociology of the Senses. London: Routledge. Wilks, Yorick. 2009. Machine Translation: Its Scope and Limits. New York: Springer.
Translating Motion Events from English into Chinese: An Examination of Literary Works Vincent X. Wang University of Macau* Abstract The paper aims to study how motion events are narrated in two English novels and their Chinese translations. Typologically, English is a satellite-framed language, while Chinese has been found to pattern with neither satellite-framed languages nor verb-framed languages. Some researchers have proposed that Chinese belongs to a third language type – equipollently-framed languages (Slobin 2004; Chen & Guo 2009). This study investigates excerpts from two classic English novels and their Chinese translations. The results show that the Chinese translations not only rely on manner-of-motion verbs even more heavily than do the English originals, but also exhibit as diverse a range of manner-of-motion verbs as were used in the English originals. In addition, path information expressed by verb particles and prepositions in English is largely retained through the use of V2 and V3 in the serial verb construction in Chinese. The results reveal important typological similarities between Chinese and English, lending support to Talmy’s (2009) contention that Chinese is an S-language.
Keywords Chinese-English translation, language typology, motion verb, satellite-framed language, equipollently-framed language
1. Introduction Linguistic differences between source and target languages present a crucial factor that needs to be considered in the context of translation. Insights gained from linguistics, especially in relation to linguistic relativity and language typology, have significantly extended our understanding of the way in which languages differ from one another in terms of the meanings conveyed and the forms used (Gumperz & Levinson 1996; Lü 1999; Talmy 1985, 2000). Chinese and English belong to the Sino-Tibetan and IndoEuropean language families respectively. Typologically, English is a satellite-framed language, while Chinese is often considered to pattern with neither satellite-framed languages nor verb-framed languages (Shi 2008; Slobin 1997). The present study sets out to examine how motion events are narrated in two English novels and their Chinese translations. The aim is to reveal: (a) the diversity of motion verbs in Chinese compared to their English counterparts, and (b) the granularity of path that the Chinese translations achieve. The findings of this study lead to a discussion of typological issues relating to the Chinese language.
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2. Motion verbs and language typology In this Section, I will review the key concepts of satellite-framed and verbframed languages proposed by Talmy (1985), examine how Chinese fits into the Talmian language typology, and address the usefulness of translated texts in comparative language research. 2.1. Satellite-framed and verb-framed languages According to the Talmian language typology, Germanic languages are typically satellite-framed (abbreviated as S-languages), while Romance languages exemplify the verb-framed type (V-languages). Let us look at an example given by Slobin (1997): (1)
I ran out the kitchen door, Past the animal pens, Towards Jasón’s house.
Salí por la puerta de la cocina, ‘I exited through the kitchen door,’ pasé por los corrales ‘passed by the animal pens,’ y me dirigí a casa de Jasón. ‘and directed myself to Jasón’s house.’
The English sentence in (1) uses only one verb (ran) and three prepositions (out, past and towards) to describe the movements of the protagonist. It exhibits S-language characteristics – out, past, and towards delineate the path of the motion in terms of the starting point, a reference point one passed, and the destination. The motion verb in an S-language tends to express the manner of motion – e.g., the manner of running in (1). By contrast, the Spanish translation in (1) shows typical V-language characteristics. The path information is conveyed by three verbs – salí ‘exited’, pasé ‘passed’ and me dirigí ‘directed myself’ – while the manner of running is not expressed. We may also note that the three prepositions – por ‘by’, por ‘by’ and a ‘to’ – do not describe a path as specific as the path conveyed by their English counterparts out, past and towards. Slobin (1997: 438) pointed out that, although a translator attempts to produce a translation that is faithful to the original when describing a motion event, the typological differences between English and Spanish are so great that a faithful translation often becomes “stylistically intolerable”. For example, salí corriendo ‘I exited running’ is a translation that retains the manner of motion, but sounds so unpalatable in literary translation that the translator opted not to use it in (1). Generally speaking, S-languages possess a relatively large repertoire of manner verbs to give a fine-grained account of the manner/cause of the 116
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movement, while V-languages only have a relatively restricted repertoire of such verbs – mainly verbs that entail path or general motions such as come, go, enter, exit, ascend and descend. S-language speakers tend to be linguistically more resourceful and reach a higher level of granularity in motion event description than speakers of V-languages. In addition, Slanguages more readily delineate the path of motion – the core of a movement – than V-languages do, because the former possess richer satellites than the latter, as shown in example (1). Based on the relevant literature, Table 1 summarises some major differences between S- and Vlanguages. Table 1. Comparison of S- and V- languages in motion event description types of manner verb prepositional phrases ground & path scene setting boundary crossing indication of motion event
a larger repertoire of finegrained types frequently used
frequently indicated (largely by prepositional phrases) dynamically expressed by verbs of manner tend to indicate a series of motions in one continuous journey
path tends to be expressed by verbs
occur frequently, indicating a protagonist moving from place A to B
more static description of setting tend to express several separate motions, indicating boundary crossing occur sparsely – protagonists simply appear in different places
Such differences in typology further suggest that speakers of V-languages and speakers of S-languages tend to differ in terms of how they perceive and conceptualise motion events (Slobin 1996, 1997; Talmy 2000). In view of such differences, translation is a process that intercedes between two distinct ways of thinking, each possessing its own conventions and preferred styles for expressing motion events. 2.2. How Chinese fits into Talmian language typology The essence of Talmian language typology is that S-languages express path information with satellites, whereas V-languages do so using main verbs. In 117
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terms of how Chinese fits into Talmian language typology, researchers have expressed different opinions. For Talmy (1985, 2000, 2009), Chinese is an Slanguage, and shares more similarities with S-languages than with Vlanguages. Like Germanic languages, the Chinese language not only uses a rather large array of manner-of-motion verbs, but also describes paths of motion with a considerable level of granularity. However, there is still evidence to suggest that Chinese is not entirely an S-language, because identical Chinese verbs can play the roles of both main verb and satellite in motion event descriptions, depending on the linguistic context. For example, ৫ qù is a lexical verb in ৫ े Ӝ qù běijīng ‘go [to] Beijing’, but a satellite/deictic in 䐁к৫ pǎo shàng qù ‘run up there’. Given the difficulty in determining whether a given Chinese verb is a main verb or a satellite, it is open to debate to make the claim that Chinese resembles S-languages on the grounds that it tends to express path of motion with satellites. In view of such difficulties, some researchers have proposed that Chinese belongs to a third language type – equipollently-framed languages (Slobin 2004; Chen & Guo 2009) – for these researchers, the Chinese language treats manner and path with equal importance. Such researchers consider Chinese to be a language type in its own right, a line of argument that contrasts with Talmy’s proposition that Chinese belongs to the S-language group. Detailed descriptions of Chinese speakers’ narrations of motion event have been given by Chen (2005) and Chen and Guo (2009), who support Slobin’s view of the equipollently-framed category. More recently, Ji, Hendriks and Hickmann (2011: 1044) proposed moving beyond the typological distinction between satellite-framed and verb-framed languages, in view of the fact that the Chinese language does not show distinct word classes morphologically. Instead, they used utterance density – which indicates information constituents expressed in motion event descriptions – to compare and contrast Chinese and English. Chinese tends to rely on verb compounds to describe motion events. This is one example given by Ji et al. (2011: 1045): (2)
V1 V2 Manner and/or cause Path 䐁 л pǎo Xià run Descend ‘run down (towards the speaker)’
V3 deixis ᶕ lái come
In (2), V1 䐁 pǎo ‘run’ is the main lexical verb, which can occur in the potential forms with potential infixes (Li & Thompson 1981: 56), н bù ‘not’
Translating Motion Events from English into Chinese
and ᗇ dé (a particle following a verb to express possibility or capacity). V2 and V3 express path information and deictic meaning respectively. V1 in verb compounds tends to reveal the information about manner/cause or the figure of motion, showing a large open-class repertoire. By contrast, V2 and V3 are positions that can be taken only by a small number of verbs, and do not express manner/cause or the figure of motion. Verb compounds have been studied extensively under the rubrics of serial verb constructions and resultative verb compounds (RVCs). In relation to serial verb construction, Paul (2008) aptly pointed out that a range of different linguistic constructions had been subsumed under the heading of serial verb construction. Li and Thompson (1981) used serial verb construction in a rather broad sense, referring to a series of verbs that occur together in a sentence. However, serial verb construction is viewed in a narrower sense by cognitive linguists such as Leonard Talmy and Dan Sloban, who confine its scope to the use of more than one verb to describe a single motion event. For Talmy and Sloban, serial verb construction in Chinese refers to 䐁кᶕ pǎo shàng lái ‘run up come’, 䎠എ৫ zǒu huí qù ‘walk back go’, but not 䘋ᶕ䖜а䖜 jìn lái zhuàn yī zhuàn ‘come in (and) walk around a little’, because it contains two motion events. I use the narrow definition of serial verb construction in this research. In terms of resultative verb compounds, Li and Thompson (1981: 54) noted that there are two types of verb compounds in Chinese – resultative verb compounds (RVCs) and parallel verb compounds. Of the various types of RVCs, directional RVCs are particularly relevant to motion event constructions. Li and Thompson (1981: 55-63) presented a detailed account of directional RVCs, which are composed of a displacement verb (V1) and one or two directional verbs (V2). Li and Thompson’s (1981) description of RVCs in Chinese reflects Chao’s original (1968: 458) work on directional verb complements. This type of schematic model is further seen in Ji et al.’s (2011) formulation of verb compound structure – V1 + V2 + V3 in (2). 2.3. Linguistic typology and translation Translated texts have served as important resources for typological investigations of motion events (e.g., Slobin 1996, 1997, 2004a, 2008). In literary translation, for example, a translator needs to reproduce the social interactions that protagonists conduct in a particular situational context from the source language (SL) to the target language (TL). The social interactions in question may not necessarily occur naturally in TL speaking communities. In addition, the information may be packed in the SL in a manner that differs from that of the TL. At this juncture, the translator has to derive a balance between two driving forces – one leading to a faithful translation with respect 119
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to the original (adequate translation in Toury’s 1995 terminology), and the other pointing to a freer translation that is acceptable and easy to understand for target-language readers (appropriate translation for Toury). In relation to motion event description, a literary translator works in fictional but meaningful social contexts, in which motion events narrated in a conventional way in the SL require translation in a perhaps typologically distant TL. Typological differences manifest in at least the following ways. When a translation remains too faithful to the SL text, it seems awkward, unconventional and marked in the TL, but when a translation is too close to the TL, it loses the linguistic properties (or flavour) of the SL text, and often also loses information conveyed by the original text. We have seen in (1) that the translator needs to either omit the information about the manner of motion or produce a stylistically awkward translation. Translated texts are of particular use for typological studies, because they involve linguistic properties and social contexts that may not naturally occur in the social settings of the TL. The attempt in this research to investigate typological issues using evidence from translation echoes Mauranen’s (2002) proposal that translation presents meaningful contexts from which contrastive language studies can benefit a great deal. 3. Method 3.1. Sample This study investigates motion events in two classic English works – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and Animal Farm by George Orwell – and their Chinese translations by Chao Yuen Ren and Fu Wei Ci respectively. The first chapters of the two works (around five thousand words in English) are selected for our sample, and present a rich source of motion events. In this study, I focus on motion events of self-initiated movement, in which a person or an entity makes a motion by him/herself or itself – typically starting from one place, traversing a certain path, and ending up in another place (Slobin 1997; Chen & Guo 2009: 1754). 3.2. Data analysis method I will examine the ways in which motion events are expressed in the English originals and their Chinese translations, and compare the two in terms of: (a) the diversity of motion verbs, and (b) the level of granularity of path. However, there are certain difficulties associated with the identification of motion verbs and path elements, which require some clarification here.
Translating Motion Events from English into Chinese
First, it is sometimes difficult to identify verbs in Chinese, because they are not morphologically inflectional and show no finiteness (see e.g., Huang, Li & Li 2009: ch.1). A number of tests are useful for our identification of verbs from other word classes – (a) negation by н bù ‘not’, (b) verb reduplications, and (c) aspect marking by Ҷ le (a perfective aspect marker). For example, in 䘎ᘉ৸ᖰ䎠 liánmáng yòu wǎng qián zǒu ‘hurriedly again go forward walk’, there are three candidates in the verb complex ᖰ䎠 wǎng qián zǒu ‘go forward walk’ that are subject to the tests – ᖰ wǎng ‘go’, qián ‘forward’, and 䎠 zǒu ‘walk’. Based on the above tests, only 䎠 exhibits the properties of a full lexical verb, which can be negated нᖰ䎠 bù wǎng qián zǒu ‘not go forward walk’, reduplicated ᖰ䎠(а)䎠 wǎng qián zǒu (yī) zǒu ‘go forward walk (a little) walk’, and joined with an aspect marker Ҷ le to form ᖰ䎠Ҷ wǎng qián zǒu le ‘(have) walked forward’. The other two candidates ᖰ wǎng ‘go’ and qián ‘forward’ in the expression ᖰ䎠 wǎng qián zǒu ‘go forward walk’ fail the tests with regard to standard modern Mandarin Chinese – e.g., reduplications of *ᖰᖰ䎠 wǎng wǎng qián zǒu ‘go go forward walk’ or *ᖰ䎠 wǎng qián qián zǒu ‘go forward forward walk’, or aspect marking by Ҷ le, e.g., *ᖰҶ䎠 wǎng le qián zǒu ‘(have) gone forward walk’ or *ᖰҶ䎠 wǎng qián le zǒu ‘go (have) forwarded walk’. In this study, I follow Slobin’s (2004a, 2004b) scope for the motion verb of manner 1 . Manner-of-motion verbs tend to reveal information such as speediness, slowness, aim/aimlessness, figure, ground or cause of the motion, and often express evaluative value – e.g., run, fly, crawl, hurry, wander, lurch… By contrast, path verbs mainly indicate the trajectory of the motion, such as come, go, and return. In addition, deictics delineate whether the moving figure moves towards or away from the speaker. Second, researchers have divided opinions about path elements. Talmy (1985) proposed that it is possible to maintain a distinction between satellites and prepositions. However, this position has recently been challenged by the existence of some overlap between the two, and the need to make such a distinction has also come into question (Beavers, Levin & Wei Tham 2010; Filipovic 2007). We take Filipovic’s (2007: 35) position in the present study by considering satellites and prepositions together as path particles. 4. Results We now investigate our sample by comparing the Chinese translations with the English originals in terms of (a) diversity of motion verbs, and (b) granularity of path in motion event descriptions.
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4.1. Diversity of motion verbs There are 66 motion verbs in the English originals, and 92 verbal constructions in the Chinese translations, including 26 verbal constructions that were added in the translations. Both the English and Chinese texts predominantly make use of manner-of-motion verbs to describe motion events, while the Chinese translations use them (80%) more frequently than do the English originals (53%). The manner-of-motion verbs in the Chinese translations are as diverse in type (19 types) as those in the English originals (see Tables 2 and 3). Table 2. Motion verbs in the English originals: Types and distribution Motion verb
Type and frequency
Manner (19 types)
fall (7), walk (4), run (3), creep (2), hurry (2), jump (2), turn (2), wander (2), bury (1), climb (1), dance (1), file (1), flee (1), flutter (1), lurch (1), pop (1), spring (1), squeeze (1), tumble (1) get (8), make (1)
Neutral (2 types) Path (2 types) Deictic (2 types) Total (25 types)
Percent and frequency 53% (35)
arrive (1), pass (1)
go (12), come (8)
30% (20) 100% (66)
Table 3. Motion verbs in the Chinese translations: Types and distribution Motion verbs
Type and frequency
Manner (19 types)
䎠 zǒu ‘walk’ (16), ᦹ diào ‘fall’ (10), 䐁 pǎo ‘run’ (4), 䫫 zuān ‘go into’ (4), 䐣 tiào ‘jump’ (3), ⡜ pá ‘climb/crawl’ (2), ㄉ zhàn ‘stand’ (2), Ր chuán ‘pass’ (1), 䖜 zhuǎn ‘turn’ (1), 䐏 gēn ‘follow’ (1), ┊ gǔn ‘roll’ (1), ᥔ jǐ ‘squeeze’ (1), ⍱ liú ‘flow’ (1), 㩭 luò ‘fall’ (1), ሴ shè ‘shoot’ (1), 䘳 táo ‘flee’ (1), 㹼 xíng ‘walk’ (1), ᩷᩶ yáobǎi ‘sway’ (1), ᩷᩷ᱳᱳ yáo yáo huàng huǎng ‘stagger’ (1)
Neutral (0 type)
Percent and frequency 80% (53)
Translating Motion Events from English into Chinese
Path (5 types) Deictic (1 type) Total (25 types)
ࡠ dào ‘arrive’ (4), ࠪ chū ‘exit’ (2), 䘋 jìn ‘enter’ (2), 㓿䗷 jīngguò ‘pass’ (2), 䘁 jìn ‘near’ (1) ᶕ lái ‘come’ (2)
3% (2) 100% (66)
Path verbs are used at much lower frequencies in both the English and Chinese texts, showing a rather small range in types in the two languages. They are used relatively more frequently in the Chinese translations (17%) than in the English texts (3%). On the other hand, the English texts employ more than eight times as many neutral verbs and deictics (44% for the two combined) as the Chinese translations (3% for the two combined). Table 3 shows only the motion verbs that occur in our sample as the main lexical verb – V1 in the construction V1+(V2)+(V3) – with regard to Li et al.’s (2011: 1045) treatment (cf. 2.2.). We will examine V2 and V3 in the next Section (4.2 Granularity of path), on the grounds that they primarily conflate path information. It is worth noting that the above results are based on the translations of motion descriptions from English to Chinese only, and do not include instances in which the Chinese texts add motion verbs where the English originals did not use them. When such instances are taken into account, Table 4 (the underlining indicates new types of motion verbs added in Chinese) shows even more varied use of motion-of-manner verbs in the Chinese translated texts (compared with Table 3). Motion verbs are added in the Chinese translation, for example, when a single motion event in the English original is split into more than one motion event in the translated text. In (3), the motion event surrounding ran (close by her) splits into two motion events in Chinese, expressed by two motion verbs – ᶕ lái ‘came’ and 䐁䗷 pǎo guò ‘ran past’. In (4), hurried (off) splits into 䎧䓛 qǐshēn ‘got up’ and 䎠 zǒu ‘went off’. The English original in (5) contains one manner-of-motion verb, leapt (off), while its Chinese translation uses two motion verbs 䐣лᶕ tiào xià lái ‘jumped down’ and 㩭ࡠ luò dào ‘fell on’. (3)
when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her
ᘭ❦ᶕҶаਚ␑㓒ⶋⲴⲭބ ᆀˈ൘ྩᯱ䗩䐁䗷 hūrán lái le yī zhǐ dànhóng yǎnjīng de báitùzǐ, zài tā pángbiān pǎoguò ‘suddenly came a pink-eyed rabbit, at her side ran past’
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Some of the birds hurried off at once
Even the cat suddenly leapt off a roof onto a cowman’s shoulders [underlining added to indicate the main lexical verb in the examples]
ᴹⲴ呏・ݯቡ䎧䓛䎠Ҷ yǒu de niǎo er lìkè jiù qǐshēn zǒu le ‘some birds immediately got up [and] went off’ ⭊㠣⥛ҏケ❦Ӿቻ亦к䐣лᶕˈ 㩭ࡠањ⢗⢋ӪⲴ㛙к shènzhì māo yě túrán cóng wūdǐng shàng tiào xiàlái, luò dào yīgè mùniúrén de jiān shàng ‘even [the] cat also suddenly jumped down [and] fell on a cowman’s shoulders’
Table 4. Motion verbs including those types added in the Chinese translations Motion verbs Types and frequency Percent and frequency Manner 䎠 zǒu ‘go’ (21), ᦹ diào ‘fall’ (18), 䐁 80% (74) (22 types) pǎo ‘run’ (5), 䫫 zuān ‘go into’ (5), ⡜ pá ‘climb/crawl’ (3), 䐣 tiào ‘jump’ (3), ㄉ zhàn ‘stand’ (3), 䘳 táo ‘flee’ (2), Ր chuán ‘pass’ (1), 䖜 zhuǎn ‘turn’ (1), 伎㹼 fēixíng ‘fly’ (1), 䐏 gēn ‘follow’ (1), ┊ gǔn ‘roll’ (1), ᥔ jǐ ‘squeeze’ (1), ⍱ liú ‘flow’ (1), 㩭 luò ‘fall’ (1), 䗸 mài ‘stride’ (1), ሴ shè ‘shoot’ (1), 㹼 xíng ‘walk’ (1), ᩷᩶ yáobǎi ‘sway’ (1), ᩷᩷ᱳᱳ yáo yáo huàng huàng ‘stagger’ (1), 䘭 zhuī ‘pursue’ (1) Neutral (0 type) 0% Path ࡠ dào ‘arrive’ (4), ࠪ chū ‘exit’ (2), 䘋 14% (13) (7 types) jìn ‘enter’ (2), 㓿䗷 jīngguò ‘pass’ (2), к shàng ‘ascend’ (1), л xià ‘descend’ (1), 䘁 jìn ‘near’ (1) Deictic 7% (5) ᶕ lái ‘come’ (3), ৫ qù ‘go’ (2) (2 types) Total (31 types) 100% (92) We can now look at some typical examples of motion event description in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and their Chinese translations:
Translating Motion Events from English into Chinese
just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge.
I shall think nothing of tumbling down stairs!
Down, down, down
ࡊࡊ䎦ᗇкⴻ㿱ᆳӾањ㈡ㄶᓅ лⲴањབྷ⍎䟼䫫䘋৫ gānggāng gǎndéshàng kànjiàn tā cóng yīgè líbā dǐxia de yīgè dàdòng lǐ zuān jìnqù ‘just in time [to] see it from a hedge bottom’s large hole went into’ 䛓Ӿởᆀк┊л৫ਟ㇇нᗇӰ Ѹһʽnà zài cóng tīzi shàng gǔn xià qù kě suàn bùdé shénme shì la! ‘then again from ladder rolling down will count [as] nothing!’ ᦹˈᦹˈᦹ diào a, diào a, diào a ‘fell, fell, fell’
The manner-of-motion verbs pop and tumbling in English are translated into Chinese as manner-of-motion verbs – 䫫 zuān ‘went into/through [a narrow space]’ in (6) and ┊ gǔn ‘rolling’ in (7). No motion verb was used in the English original in (8), where, from the context, we understand that Alice was falling down the rabbit hole. The translator added motion verb ᦹ diào ‘fell’ in the Chinese version. Manner-of-motion verbs are also used most frequently in Animal Farm. At the beginning of the novel, the author describes the particular manner of a movement by Mr. Jones: (9)
[H]e lurched across the yard, […] at the back door, […] and made his way up to bed
Ԇьق㾯↚ൠ䎠䗷䲒ᆀ […]Ǆ䎠 䘋ਾ䰘ˈԆ[…]ˈቡ⡜кᒺ৫ tā dōngdǎoxīwāi de zǒu guò yuànzi […]. Zǒu jìn hòumén, tā […], jiù pá shàng chuáng qù ‘he leaning to one side and then the other walked through the yard […]. Walked through [the] back door, he […], then crawled up [to] bed’
The manner-of-motion verb lurched in (9) vividly depicts the fact that Mr. Jones was so drunk that he was not able to take steady steps. However, because lurch has not been lexicalised as a verb in the Chinese language, the translator had to express it with the generic motion verb 䎠 zǒu ‘walk’ and
Vincent X. Wang
add the adverbial phrase ьق㾯↚ൠ dōngdǎoxīwāi de ‘leaning to one side and then the other’ to emphasise the staggering nature of his walking. The translator also added a manner-of-motion verb 䎠(䘋ਾ䰘) zǒu (jìn hòumén) ‘walked (through the back door)’ to render “at the back door” in English. He further used a more expressive manner-of-motion verb ⡜ pá ‘crawled (up to bed)’ to translate the neutral motion verb made (his way up to bed). Although we have observed that the Chinese translations use manner-ofmotion verbs more frequently than they are used in the English originals, a closer examination shows that the Chinese manner verbs are often not as expressive as their English counterparts. For example, ┊ gǔn ‘rolling’ in (7) does not fully reproduce the image of a heavy and clumsy fall that is so vividly expressed by tumble. We observe that some English verbs that are used to describe specific manners of motion have simply not been lexicalised as verbs in Chinese – e.g., (ducklings) filed (into the barn), (pigeons) fluttered (up to the rafters), and (Mr. Jones) lurched in (9). It would be useful if more sophisticated measures were able to be applied in future research to capture the fine shadings of English motion verbs. 4.2. Granularity of path2 In English, path information is typically expressed by path particles, which are subordinate to the main verb, such as verb particles and prepositions (cf. 3.2). Chinese uses adpositions 3 and coverbs as path particles. The English originals in our sample use path particles significantly more frequently than do the Chinese translations (Table 5). While 84 per cent of motion verbs in the English texts are accompanied by one or more path particles, only 31 per cent of verb constructions in the Chinese translations have particles. However, this does not necessarily mean that the English originals express greater granularity of path than the Chinese translations do, if we take into account the fact that the Chinese texts frequently rely on V2 and V3 in the verbal compounds to express path information (Table 6). Table 5. The use of path particles per motion event in the English and Chinese texts number of path particles 0 1 2 3 Total 126
English frequency percent 13 16% 48 59% 19 23% 2 2% 82 100%
Chinese frequency percent 63 69% 24 26% 5 5% 0 0% 92 100%
Translating Motion Events from English into Chinese
Table 6. Frequency and distribution of verbal constructions in the Chinese translations V1 V1+V2 V1+V2+V3 Total
frequency 37 32 23 92
percent 40% 35% 25% 100%
The Chinese translations prefer to describe motion events using verb compounds (60%) – V1+V2 or V1+V2+V3 – rather than with only one verb V1 (40%). Table 7 shows the types and frequency of V2 and V3 occurrence in the Chinese translations. Since V2 and V3 in Chinese are dedicated to expressing path and deictic information, path information expressed by path particles in English is largely recovered by V2 and V3 in the Chinese translations. Similar to verb particles in English, V2 and V3 show closedclass characteristics, in contrast with V1, which exhibits a much larger repertoire and much higher use (see Tables 3 and 4). Table 7. V2 and V3: Types and frequency Type and frequency V2 䘋 jìn ‘(enter) in’ (12), л xià ‘(descend) (14 types) down’ (9), ৫ qù ‘(go) away’ (6), ࡠ dào ‘(arrive) at’ (6), എ huí ‘(return) back’ (5), к shàng ‘(ascend) up’ (4), 䗷 guò ‘(pass) by’ (3), ᔰ kāi ‘open (aside)’ (2), ࠪ chū ‘exit (out)’ (2), ᶕ lái ‘(come) up’ (2), 䎧 qǐ ‘(rise) up’ (2), ࡠ dào ‘(arrive) at’ (1), ᕟ wān ‘(bend) back’ (1), ク chuān ‘(go) through’ (1) V3 ᶕ lái ‘(come) up’ (9), ৫ qù ‘(go) away’ (13) (2 types)
V2 and V3 delineate the path of the movement, rather than revealing the type of figure that makes the movement. The figure tends to be denoted by V1 – certain manner verbs are closely associated with certain figures. The characteristics of V2 and V3 largely coincide with the characteristics of verb particles (or ‘satellites’ in Talmy’s 1985 terminology), because satellites express path information rather than manner/cause or figure of motion and are of a small number of types. In our sample, there are 41 instances in which path information expressed by path particles in the English originals is captured by V2 (+V3) in the Chinese translations. For example,
Vincent X. Wang
Boxer and Clover […] came in together
The birds jumped on to their perches
ㄉ䎧ᶕ zhàn qǐ lái ‘stand (rise) up’ ᤣ઼ࠫ㤌㬯[…]ᒦ㛙䎠䘋ᶕ quánjíshǒu hé mùxu […] bìngjiān zǒu jìn lái ‘Boxer and Clover […] shoulder to shoulder walked in up’ 伎䐣кṆᵘ fēiqín tiào shàng qīmù ‘[the] birds jumped up [to] perches’
In (10), the verb particle (getting) up is expressed by 䎧ᶕ qǐ lái ‘rise up’ in the serial verb construction (ㄉ)䎧ᶕ (zhàn) qǐ lái ‘(stand) rise up’. The upward movement is recovered by V2 + V3 in the Chinese translation. Similarly, in (11), the motion of a figure moving into a space that is expressed by (came) in is captured by (䎠)䘋ᶕ (zǒu) jìn lái ‘(walk) in up’ in the Chinese text. Here we may note that ᶕ lái ‘(come) up’ and ৫ qù ‘(go) away’ tend to occur in the final position of the motion expression in Chinese (cf. Table 7), used as a deictic rather than a full lexical verb, to indicate whether the moving figure moves towards or away from the speaker. This information is often added through the use of ᶕ lái and ৫ qù in the Chinese translations. In (12), there are two path particles – the verb particle on and the preposition to. The Chinese translation uses (V1+) V2 in (䐣)к (tiào) shàng ‘(jump) up’ to delineate the upward movement expressed by (jumped) on. Although V2 and V3 are frequently used in the Chinese translations to give path information, there are a small number of cases in which path information in the English originals has not been semantically retained in the Chinese translations. For example, in (13) the path element back is not reproduced in the Chinese translation, although it is possible to translate it as എ huí ‘(return) back’ as in 䐁എ pǎo huí ‘run back’. The omission of back does not pose much of a problem, because the information about (ran) back is not critical to the story here and is derivable from the context. Similarly, (turned) away in (14) is not of primary importance and is not explicitly reproduced in the Chinese translation, although there are lexical means available in Chinese such as 䎠ᔰ zǒu kāi ‘walk away’. (13)
She ran with all speed back to the little door.
she turned away
ྩቡ伎ᖰሿ䰘䛓䟼䐁৫ҶǄtā jiù fēi wǎng xiǎomén nàlǐ pǎo qù le ‘she then rushed to the little door running away’ ྩഎཤቡ䎠 tā huítóu jiù zǒu ‘she turned [her] head [to] walk/go’
Translating Motion Events from English into Chinese
On the whole, the English originals frequently use verb particles (n= 36) and prepositions (n= 56) to delineate path, while Chinese translations rely on V2(+V3) (n= 41) of the serial verb construction as well as adpositions and coverbs (n= 34) to reach a level of granularity of path that is quantitatively 82% faithful to the English originals. 5. Discussion In this Section, we first look at some of the characteristics of our sample, and then discuss our results in relation to typological issues involving the Chinese language. Our sample was compiled with the aim of representing some masterful translations that render literary works smoothly and faithfully from English into Chinese. The two novels are classics in English literature, written in idiomatic English. On the other hand, their translations read as expressive, elegant and natural Chinese writing, displaying no trace of awkward translationese. The two translators have an excellent command of both English and Chinese. Chao Yuen Ren, a prominent linguist, experimented with using plain spoken Chinese to translate Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. His translation, first published in 1922, has been widely read and appreciated, by children and adults alike. Fu Wei Ci is also an established translator, and his translation of Animal Farm is considered to be one of the best of the many translations of the novel. In terms of motion event descriptions, the translations tend to reflect how the motion events narrated in English can be reproduced in Mandarin Chinese by highly proficient and resourceful Chinese-English bilinguals. Our results suggest that, although Chinese does not pattern perfectly with English in motion event description, the two languages share important similarities. First, Chinese uses a wide range of manner-of-motion verbs, which is a typical characteristic of S-languages. Second, V2 and V3 in Chinese serial verb constructions play a role similar to that of satellites in English. Both are small in number, and are used to express path information but not manner/cause or the figure of motion. In addition, V2 and V3 are not full lexical verbs and are subordinate to V1, which is similar to the relationship between main verb and satellites in English. Furthermore, we have seen important evidence that V2 and V3 are used to retain the information expressed by path particles to a great extent in the translation from English into Chinese. This suggests that V2 and V3 in Chinese have great potential to be considered as comparable grammatical constituents to satellites in English. This line of argument, which echoes Peyraube (2006), lends support to Talmy’s (2009) contention that Chinese is an S-language.
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6. Conclusion Our results have shown that the Chinese translations not only rely on mannerof-motion verbs even more heavily than do the English originals, but also exhibit as wide a range of manner-of-motion verb as those in the English originals. The Chinese translations use path verbs in the main verb position (V1) slightly more frequently than the English originals, but employ neutral verbs or deictics much less frequently than the English originals. In addition, path information expressed by verb particles and prepositions in English is largely retained in the Chinese translated texts through the use of V2 and V3 in serial verb constructions, in conjunction with the use of adpositions and coverbs. The results therefore reveal important typological similarities between Chinese and English, lending support to Talmy’s (2009) argument that Chinese is an S-language.
It is not always a straightforward matter to draw a line between manner verbs and path verbs in our sample. For example, fall is one of the motion verbs that entail information about both manner and path. In terms of manner, a falling figure normally makes the movement passively and effortlessly, since it is gravity that causes and sustains the movement. We also see the same acceleration of speed in any naturally falling object. Apart from manner, the verb fall also gives information about the path of movement, which has to be downward, towards the centre of the earth, unless the natural trajectory of the movement is altered by other factors. In this paper, fall and its Chinese equivalent ᦹ diao are considered as manner-of-motion verbs, to reflect the salient manner of motion. This treatment is consistent with the studies by Slobin (2004a, 2004b) and Chen and Guo (2009). Similarly, follow in English and 䘭zhui ‘pursue (after a target)’and 䐏 gen ‘follow’ in Chinese are treated as manner-of-motion verbs rather than path verbs in this research, on the grounds that such instances in our sample express information about the manner and cause of the motion – normally the hurriedness of the movement and the intention to reach a moving figure as target. Here we also acknowledge that follow or 䘭 indicates path information to the extent that the path of the pursuing figure tends to coincide with the trajectory that the pursued figure takes. In addition, turn (the corner) is considered to be a manner verb in this research, on the grounds that it expresses the fact that the figure causes a motion that demonstrates a bent or curved trajectory. This is again in line with Chen and Guo’s (2009) treatment. 2 Section 4.2 examines path particles only. We note that path information can also be expressed by path verbs, which are discussed in Section 4.1. 3 By adpositions, we refer to prepositions and postpositions, or localizers in Chao’s (1968: 620) terminology. * The author acknowledges that this research project is supported by research project grant (RG037/09-10S/WX/FSH) and conference grant (CG-20100467) from the University of Macau.
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References Beavers, John, Beth Levin & Shiao Wei Tham. 2010. ‘The typology of motion expressions revisited’ in Journal of Linguistics 46(2): 331-377. Carroll, Lewis. 2002. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (旧ᷥ⿅㻓㷠⣯⠫存Ī (Tr. Y.R. Chao). Beijing: The Commercial Press. Chao, Yuen Ren. 1968. A Grammar of Spoken Chinese. Berkeley: University of California Press. Chen, Liang. 2005. The Acquisition and Use of Motion Event Expressions in Chinese. PhD thesis. University of Louisiana. Chen, Liang & Jiansheng Guo. 2009. ‘Motion events in Chinese novels: Evidence for an equipollently-framed language’ in Journal of Pragmatics 41(9): 1749-1766. Filipovic, Luna. 2007. Talking about Motion: A Crosslinguistic Investigation of Lexicalization Patterns. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing. Gumperz, John J. & Stephen C. Levinson (eds). 1996. Rethinking Linguistic Relativity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Huang, C. T. James, Yafei Li & Y. H. Audrey Li. 2009. The Syntax of Chinese. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ji, Yinglin, Henriëtte Hendriks & Maya Hickmann. 2011. ‘The Expression of Caused Motion Events in Chinese and in English: Some Typological Issues’ in Linguistics 49(5): 10411077. Li, Charles, N. & Sandra A. Thompson. 1973. ‘Serial Verb Constructions in Mandarin. Chinese: Co-ordination or Subordination?’ in Corum, Claudia and T. Cedric Smith-Stark (eds). You Take the High Node and I'll Take the Low Node: Papers from the Comparative Syntax Festival. Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society. 96-103. Li, Charles, N. & Sandra A. Thompson. 1981. Mandarin Chinese: A Functional Reference Grammar. New York: University of California Press. Lin, Jingxia & Jeeyoung Peck. 2011. ‘The Syntax-Semantics Interface of Multi-Morpheme Motion Constructions in Chinese. An Analysis Based on Hierarchical Scalar Structure’ in Studies in Language 35(2): 337-379. Mauranen, Anna. 2002. ‘Will ‘Translationese’ Ruin a Contrastive Study?’ in Languages in Contrast 2(2): 161-185. Orwell, George. 2005. Animal Farm (≐䈑⸬⚕) (Tr. W.C. Fu). Beijing: Beijing Shiyue Wenyi Press (⊿Ṕ⋩㚰㔯刢↢䇰䣦). Paul, Waltraud. 2008. ‘The Serial Verb Construction in Chinese: A Tenacious Myth and a Gordian Knot’ in Linguistic Review 25(3-4): 367-411. Peyraube, Alain. 2006. ‘Motion Events in Chinese: A Diachronic Study of Directional Complements’ in Hickmann, Maya and Stephane Robert (eds) Space in Languages: Linguistic Systems and Cognitive Categories. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing. 121135. Shi, Dongqin. 2008. ‘Communication Verbs in Chinese and English: A Contrastive Analysis’ in Languages in Contrast 8(2): 181-207. Slobin, Dan I. 1996. ‘Two Ways to Travel: Verbs of Motion in English and Spanish’ in Shibatani, Masayoshi and Sandra A. Thompson (eds) Grammatical Constructions: Their Form and Meaning. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 195-217. Slobin, Dan I. 1997. ‘Mind, Code, and Text’ in Bybee, Joan, John Haiman & Sandra A Thompson (eds). Essays on Language Function and Language Type: Dedicated to T. Givon. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 437-467. Slobin, Dan I. 2004a. ‘How People Move: Discourse Effects of Linguistic Typology’ in Moder, Carol Lynn and Aida Martinovic-Zic (eds) Discourse across Languages and Cultures. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing. 195-210.
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Slobin, Dan I. 2004b. ‘The Many Ways to Search for a Frog: Linguistic Typology and the Expression of Motion Events’ in Stromqvist, Sven and Ludo Verhoeven (eds) Relating Events in Narrative: Typological and Contextual Perspectives (Vol. 2). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 219-257. Slobin, Dan I. 2008. ‘Relations between Paths of Motion and Paths of Vision: A Crosslinguistic and Developmental Exploration’ in Gathercole, V. M. (ed.) Routes to Language: Studies in Honor of Melissa Bowerman. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 197-221. Talmy, Leonard. 1985. ‘Lexicalization Patterns: Semantic Structure in Lexical Forms’ in Shopen, Timothy (ed.) Language Typology and Syntactic Description. Grammatical Categories and the Lexicon. Volume III. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 57-150. Talmy, Leonard. 2000. Toward a Cognitive Semantics. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. Talmy, Leonard. 2009. ‘Main Verb Properties and Equipollent Framing’ in Guo, Jian-Sheng, Elena Lieven, Nancy Budwig, Susan Ervin-Tripp, Keiko Nakamu and Şeyda Özçalışkan (eds) Crosslinguistic Approaches to the Psychology of Language: Research in the Tradition of Dan Isaac Slobin. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 389-402. Toury, Gideon. 1995. Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. ⏪⍼㸀ġ (Lü, Shu-xiang). 1999. 䎦ẋ㻊婆ℓ䘦娆ġ (800 Words in Modern Chinese). ⊿Ṕġ (Beijing): ⓮⊁⌘㚠棐ġ(The Commercial Press).
Fishing for the Moon in the Water: Practical Challenges for a Translator in the Contact Zone Yauling Hsieh Soochow University (Taiwan) Abstract Salman Rushdie has remarked, “It is normally supposed that something always gets lost in translation; I cling, obstinately to the notion that something can always be gained” (Rushdie 1991: 17). Throughout history, written and oral translations have played a crucial role in international communication, not least in providing access to important texts for scholarship and religious purposes. In this era of globalisation, translation studies, whether devoted to theories or applications, have duly gained increased scholarly attention since the 1970s. From being merely an element of language learning in modern language courses, translation studies are now an intrinsic part of a sophisticated interdisciplinary field that has moved from the study of words to text to the socio-cultural context of translation and translating, and of translators themselves. However, the exercise of research assessment in academia still places a higher value on academic articles than on translations themselves, even translations of whole books, notwithstanding the fact that the practice of translation is an invaluable and essential experience for the translation theorist and instructor. Such academic prejudice has exacerbated the gap between practice and theory as translation theorists and instructors are reluctant to take up the task of translating which would take away from them the time and energy of “doing scholarly research” so as to produce articles which would in turn contribute to their academic reputation. Moreover, when engaged in the practice of translation, a translator is hardly an intrinsic individual who can make independent decisions on which subjects or titles he or she may choose to translate and on how much time can be spent on a particular text as many elements concerning the publication of a translated text are beyond the control of the translator. This article will first examine the socio-cultural gap that a translator of Chinese-English and/or English-Chinese needs to cross by resorting to certain practical resolutions (such as the use of footnotes) with some actual case examples and then brings up the difficulties a translator may face in taking up the practice of translation by focusing on the elements of academic prejudice and market considerations as well as the time limitations imposed by publishers.
Keywords social-cultural context, academic prejudice, market considerations
1. Crossing the socio-cultural gap Throughout history, written and oral translations have played a crucial role in international communication, not least in providing access to important texts for scholarship and religious purposes. In the current era of globalisation, translation studies, whether devoted to theories or applications, have duly
gained increasing scholarly attention since the 1970s. From being merely an element of language learning in modern language courses, translation studies is now an intrinsic part of a sophisticated interdisciplinary field that has moved from the study of words to text to the socio-cultural context of translation and translating and of translators themselves. However, the exercise of research assessment in academia still places a higher value on academic articles than on translations themselves, even translations of entire books, notwithstanding the fact that the practice of translation is an invaluable and essential experience for the translation theorist and instructor. As a translator for years, I have experienced certain difficulties in crossing the social-cultural gap when translating different types of texts; at the same time. As a researcher in academia, I have suffered from the academic prejudice that not only disregards my translation efforts, but often regards such undertakings as a setback to academic research and a hard-tocross gap. Since not many researchers have the first-hand experience that a translator gains when working on a translation project, and vice versa, I take this opportunity to explore issues that I have encountered in my attempt to cross both the aforementioned gaps from my dual perspective. This article, thus, will first examine the socio-cultural gap that a translator of English-Chinese and/or Chinese-English needs to cross by resorting to certain practical resolutions (such as the use of footnotes) with some actual case examples. Then it will bring up the difficulties a translator/researcher may face in taking up the practice of translation, focusing on the elements of academic prejudice in favour of research, and the complex relationships between the publisher, the editor and the translator. Practical cofavourrations, such as market acceptance of the translated text and time limitations imposed by the publisher, will also be discussed. Finally, it will end with André Lefevere’s concept of “refraction” by drawing on the image of “the moon in the water” to demonstrate the fact that translation is always a one-to-many operation and each translation has its merit and value as it is a unique reflection of the original. 1.1. Types of cultural obstruction – linguistic evolution inside a given culture Since Roman Jakobson questioned language itself as the central feature of translation, and from this problematic emerged his famous definition of three types of translation (1959: 233)1, linguists and philosophers, such as J. C. Catford and Quine, have stressed fundamental uncertainties about meaning that impinge on translation. These uncertainties stem not merely from differences in the subject positions, interests, and assumptions about the world of individuals, but also from asymmetries of language that both shape 134
Fishing for the Moon in the Water
and are shaped by cultural perspectives. Maria Tymoczko asserts that the implication of these uncertainties for translation is that translation will always be a one-to-many operation and that there can be no single correct or “positive” way to translate (Tymoczko 2007:30). André Lefevere and Susan Bassnett have pointed out that, since the 1970s, there is “a sense of greater relativity and of the greater importance of concrete negotiations at certain times and in certain places, as opposed to abstract, general rules that would always be valid” (1998:1). In other words, when a translator embarks on a translating task, he or she acts as a mediator who continuously negotiates between or among systems, resorting to his or her experience and knowledge of the time and the place, to offer a specific interpretation of the source text to his target audiences. As a matter of fact, even before the “cultural turn,” which was dubbed for the major development of descriptive translation studies at the end of the 1980s 2, scholars have demonstrated that “correlations between actual translations and cultural perspectives diverge radically from time to time and place to place, thus challenging all normative, prescriptive, and positivist pronouncements about translation” (Tymoczko 2007:41). The so-called “cultural turn”, a term that has become a focal point in translation studies with the publication of the collection of essays edited by Susan Bassnett and André Lefevere, Translation, History and Culture (1990), further confirms the fact that products of translation leave traces of cultural interactions that are open to consideration by scholars. Translation normally involves the interface of languages, semiotic systems, cultural products, and systems of cultural organisation, and it makes manifest the differences and similarities of these features of systems across cultures. Thus, a competent translator who deals with two languages should be familiar with the two cultures, including their traditions, customs, and cultural values, so that he or she can “faithfully” convey or transfer an idea in the source text into the language adopted by the target audiences. This may seem a simple solution on the surface, but as culture is a vague but rich concept comprised of numerous components, it poses many complex questions. First of all, as Lefevere points out, the process of acculturation, in which translation has been seen a key element, “takes place not just between cultures, but also inside a given culture” (Bassnett & Lefevere 1998: 9). When an individual is initiated into a culture, he or she is often exposed to translations of the original texts from another language, or in some cases, from older stages of the same language. This is a rewriting process through which, according to Lefevere: “the cultural capital is rewritten in such a way that it matches their assumed level of comprehension at a certain stage in their development” (Bassnett & Lefevere 1998: 9). This is demonstrated by the fact that most basic scientific or mathematical theories one learns in school are not taught in the original texts or even in a translation of the 135
original languages, but merely as charts and formulas. Further, visual rewriting of some famous literary texts on which a culture claims to be based effectively replaces the original or even functions as the original for many people. The film adaptations of the famous love story of Liang Shan-bo and Zhu Ying-tai (㠩Ⱉỗ冯䤅劙⎘, also translated as “The Butterfly Lovers”) and the story of Hua Mu-lan 炷剙㛐嗕炸well present such a phenomenon. A Chinese/English and English/Chinese translator needs to be aware of such a cultural context in order to deal effectively with his or her texts. What Lefevere means by saying that at the beginning of socialisation one is often exposed to “translations of the original texts from older stages of the same language” can be explained by the evolutionary nature of languages. This brings up other complicated aspects in the formation of a culture. In Chinese culture, for example, we have to deal with classical Chinese and vernacular Chinese. One who claims to be fluent in Chinese needs to have a solid knowledge of classical Chinese so as to understand allusions and idioms that were formed through the long process of Chinese history and can thus use them properly on any given occasion. Moreover, vernacular Chinese has gone through a divergent development since the Vernacular Movement in the 1910s and 1920s3. If one looks at the Chinese translation of certain English words at the time, one can hardly know what they really mean. The following are some interesting examples with the simple modern Chinese translation on the right4: x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x 136
㝷䎮䑥⣑⽟烉President, ䷥䴙 ⽟嫐㉱大烉democracy, 㮹ᷣ 岥】㕗烉science, 䥹⬠ ⬱恋℞烉anarchism, 䃉㓧⹄ᷣ佑 㓷⯤烉communism, ℙ䓊ᷣ佑 ⮾柕毣烉gentlemen, 䳛⢓ 屣⌬㻹岜烉fair play, ℔⸛䪞䇕 囄⎠僓烉Mr., ⃰䓇 ⶫ䇦Ṩ䵕烉Bolshevik (Russian), ⣂㔠源 ⤏ặ崓嬲烉Aufheben (German), ㎂㡬 㘖伭↿⟼⇑Ṇ䈡烉proletariat, 䃉䓊昶䳂 シ⽟㰫伭➢烉ideology, シ嬀⼊ン ⮷ⶫ䇦╔Ṇ烉petite bourgeoisie (French), ⮷屯䓊昶䳂 ⌘層⇑㚜徥Ṇ烉intelligentsia (Russian), 䞍嬀↮⫸ 䓇䘬攨僓烉sentimental, デね婧 䓇桐⯤烉symphony, Ṍ枧㦪
Fishing for the Moon in the Water
x x x x x
㚼㊧⣏烉sonata, ⣷沜㚚 䄁⢓㉓墉䲼烉inspiration, 曰デ ⓮䰇烉sonnet, ⋩⚃埴娑 劙䈡䲵晬⣰烉international, ⚳晃 ⽟⼳桐烉telephone, 暣娙
Certainly, some of the Chinese translations at the time, such as ˬ徟⿅˭ (myth),ˬ 㜗吃 ˭(boycott),ˬ 㱁䘤 ˭(sofa),ˬ ┉ ˭(coffee) etc., became popular Chinese expressions that are still used today, and in fact, most people use these terms without being aware that they were translated from English or other languages. One can see from the list that most Chinese equivalents are phonetic transcriptions, and the combination of the characters in each term does not follow any pattern. However, some of the modern Chinese translations on the right hand side are but one version of translation, as some of the English words have more than one meaning in Chinese and the correct choice of Chinese translation often depends on the context of the word. As Bassnett points out, a literary text should be approached as a text of a set of related systems, operating within a set of other systems. Translators who fail to understand that a literary text is “made up of a complex set of systems existing in a dialectical relationship with other sets outside its boundaries… often focus on particular aspects of a text at the expense of others” (Bassnett 2002: 30). This is a point that will be discussed in depth in the latter part of this paper. Another factor that we have to put into consideration when thinking about the evolution of modern Chinese is that vernacular Chinese is not a unified language since it has gone through local development in different areas wherever people use Chinese. For example, modern Chinese in Singapore is not totally the same as the Chinese used in China, and modern Chinese in Taiwan has its distinct features as it often incorporates the Taiwanese dialect. Some may argue that such differences are limited to the use of slang terms or so-called pidgin. But it is inevitable that a competent translator needs to be ever-mindful of the extent to which he or she should incorporate slang terms into the translated text. This, again, confirms Bassnett’s (2002) assertion: the interlingual translation is bound to reflect the translator’s own creative interpretation of the SL text. Moreover, the degree to which the translator reproduces…the SL text will be as much determined by the TL system as by the SL system and will also depend on the function of the translation (83).
If such complex issues exist in the Chinese translation of only English words, one can just imagine the tangled questions involved in the translation of individual phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or a complete text. To make English/Chinese translation even more difficult to deal with is the fact that Chinese is not the only language of the two that has gone through divergent development. English actually has gone through a similar development, and probably on a larger scale. Thus, when an English/ Chinese translator embarks on a translation project, he or she may have to decide whether the English in the SL text he or she has to deal with is American English or British English as the usage of some words in one may differ from the other. Moreover, examples in Indian English, Singlish, Australian English, South African English, and even Black English may be encountered, though in most cases they would probably appear in the form of local slang. In the globalisation era, the interference of one language to another language is not an uncommon phenomenon. In Taiwan, for example, doctors always write their diagnoses and prescriptions in English. If a translator has to deal with medical terms such as DNA or SARS in a text, it is actually odd for him or her to translate them into Chinese. Many modern terms, especially those stemming from modern technology, keep their original foreign forms, such as CD, DVD, android, GPS, as well as brand names like HP and Sony, or product names like IPad and IPod, and people are comfortable using them in the original language without even trying to translate them into the local language. Another kind of interference appears rather as a form of integration of one language with another. In Taiwan, people combine English words with Chinese words to form new phrases in their daily conversation, “call ( ㆹ)” (call me), “⚃ G” (4GB, a computer term), ( ᶱ Mei) (3 megabyte memory, another computer term), “ᾙ㦪悐” (club)5, “⼰ high” (“high” or in an excited state of mind), “⼰ man” (manly, masculine), and “hold ỷ” (a very popular term now for holding on to, enduring, or sticking to) are some interesting examples. In addition, intertextuality is another kind of cultural interference that a translator needs to be aware of. As Umberto Eco once said, “translating is not only connected with linguistic competence, but with intertextual, psychological, and narrative competence” (Eco 2001: 13). Intertextuality, which sees all texts linked to all other texts because “no text can ever be completely free of those texts that precede and surround it” (Bassnett 2002: 82) is certainly very much embedded in the development of a culture, which is the most important and essential factor in the development of a language. At the very beginning of translation studies, Jacques Derrida warned against “attempts to sever meaning from context, and persistently emphasised the importance of history to deconstruction” (Davis 201:2-3; cf. 25). So a
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Chinese/English and English/Chinese translator not only has to deal with the multiple facets of these two languages, but also needs to know the complex histories and contemporary trends that are actually networks of the intertextuality of both cultures. What they need to cross is certainly quite a broad cultural gap both between the two languages and within each of the languages itself. However, to avoid vague and oversimplified statements about translation as it encompasses a wide range of subjects for exploration, at this point I would like to focus my discussion on literary translation in which the one-tomany relationship between the source text and its translations is most obvious. Bassnett asserts that a text perceived as an object that should only produce a single invariant reading and thus any “deviation” on the part of the reader/translator will be judged as a transgression can only be made regarding scientific documents where “facts are set out and presented in unqualifiedly objective terms for the reader of SL and TL texts alike” (2002: 81-2). With literary texts, however, the position of a translator is different. Walter Benjamin, in his famous essay, “The Task of the Translator” (1923), takes the view that no text has a fixed meaning since any meaning changes over time as a culture changes and as perspectives on the text change. As a consequence translations confer (renewed) meanings on source texts, and without translations texts die. Kathleen Davis sums up the point beautifully by stating that: “the translation is not dependent upon the original for its existence; rather, the original depends upon the translation for its survival” (2001: 40). As every era produces its own type of signification which is made manifest in social and literary models, a translator translates the SL text into the TL language through a process of decoding, and the interlingual translation is bound to reflect the translator’s own creative interpretation of the SL text. Moreover, the degree to which the translator reproduces the SL text will be greatly determined by the TL system as well as the SL system 6. The emphasis here is that translating is a creative process, and the translation of literature involves the literary creativity of the translator who tries to offer his or her unique interpretation of the SL text for a specific audience in a specific time and place. Therefore, a classic text deserves to be translated again and again over time to preserve its literary value, but the message each translated text sends may be different according to each translator’s interpretation and each reader’s perception. Using association to create layers of meanings is a feature shared by both Chinese and English authors, so many Chinese phrases that look like gibberish at first glance actually are formed or created for their implied meanings through association. This strategy is often taken up by authors in the field of marketing, even in translation. Thus, Coca Cola is translated into ⎗⎋⎗㦪 and Pepsi Cola is translated into 䘦ḳ⎗㦪 both for the phonetic 139
similarity and for the implied Chinese meanings. In Present-day Translation Studies (䔞ẋ侣嬗䎮婾), the author points out that the English phrase, “cat’s cradle” is often mistranslated as “尻䘬㎾䯫” (∱⬻ㄞ 1993: 97) without discussing possible associations and implied meanings in such concrete nouns as “a cat” and “a cradle” that a translator might appropriate on purpose to stimulate certain responses in readers. In fact, when I translated Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. a few years back, the editor and I decided to keep “尻 䘬 ㎾ 䯫” as the Chinese title since the novel is a wonderful representation of absurdity in the genre of fantastic literature. But on the cover of the Chinese translation there is a pair of hands playing cat’s cradle with a string. To think that the title “尻䘬㎾䯫” is a mistranslation is indeed a case of misunderstanding. Interestingly, in her discussion on literary translation, Bassnett mentions that though there is a large body of work debating the issues that surround the translation of poetry, far less time has been spent studying the specific problems of translating literary prose. A possible explanation of such a phenomenon, she explains, is “due to the widespread erroneous notion that a novel is somehow a simpler structure than a poem and is consequently easier to translate” (Bassnett 2002: 110). One intriguing point about prose translation that has aroused Bassnett’s attention is that it is possible to translate the SL text of a novel, to begin at the beginning, without considering how the opening Section relates to the structure of the work as a whole, while it is impossible and unacceptable to approach the translation of a poem in this way. In other words, it is possible for the prose translator “to consider content as separable from form” (Bassnett 2002: 111). Ros Schwartz and Nicholas DeLange in “A Dialogue: On a Translator’s Intervention” mention they know of some experienced and skilful translators who proceed to translate novels without reading the novels first (2006: 15). I agree that a translator is first and foremost a reader, so in translating a novel, a translator who adopts the strategy to begin at the beginning is actually better able to maintain the suspense in the progress of the plot. Yet, as a novel consists of many chapters or sections that are not necessarily linear in structure and words are only meaningful in context, often a prose translator has to be aware of the historical and social context as well as other contexts of the original text before he or she can continue working on the text. The first rule of Hilaire Belloc’s six general rules for the translator of prose texts 7 emphasises that the translator should not “plod on,” word by word or sentence by sentence, but should always consider the work as an integral unit and translating in sections probably offers a similar consideration. He also mentions that the translator should never embellish, though the translator is
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advised to “transmute boldly” and often needs to “add words” not in the original to conform to the idiom of one’s own tongue (Bassnett 2002: 116). That a translator should never embellish and yet encounters the need to add words not in the original seems to be contradictory. However, this can be illustrated by bit of personal experience. Years back when I was still a graduate student in the Ph.D. program of Comparative Literature, I was commissioned to translate Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum into Chinese from the English translation (a bold and reckless endeavour at the time). Eco, a brilliant novelist and an expert in the field of semiotics, selected excerpts of different texts in different languages to serve as epigraphs for individual chapters of the novel. The English translation keeps all these epigraphs in the original languages, including Spanish, German, French, Portugal, and Latin, among others. But I translated all of them into Chinese, not for a moment considering keeping them in their original forms, though it took me quite some time to figure them all (or not all) out. When Eco learned about this from the copyright agent at the time, he was reluctant to have the Chinese translation published. Through the agent, he expressed his concern of the Chinese translation’s making explicit the parts that he intended to be vague and inexplicable as he “wanted to confuse his readers”. I had to ask the agent to explain to the author that the Chinese version of those quoted passages was by no means explicit as those epigraphs only implied a certain connection between the quoted texts and the content of the novel without giving out any obvious clues, and the Chinese translation was finally published after a delay of two years. The point is that all those epigraphs of the original texts were alphabetical and share some common roots or sources, so an English reader can see the implications or clues in the original texts even if he does not have any knowledge of those original languages. But keeping the original texts for the Chinese readers would not offer any such hints as the author intended; in fact, Chinese readers would not bother to look at or try to read those texts at all since they would not mean anything but a series of unfamiliar alphabets, even for those who know and use English often in their lives. 2. Practical considerations Some of the above-mentioned points related to practical considerations involved in the translation of a literary text deserve to be probed into at this point, particularly because any publication of a literary text in translation goes through a complex process. First of all, in many cases a translator does not choose the text he or she will translate. This is usually the editor’s or the publisher’s decision. The translator can only decide whether he or she will accept the offer of translating a certain novel or text that was already chosen
by the editor or the publisher for publication. Often, a text is chosen because it is profitable or popular in the market of the original language. In Taiwan, there exist rare exceptions when a translator can choose a text to translate, in some cases through applying for a specific grant from a national institution 8, but he or she has to first deal with the complicated process of application which will then be evaluated based on whether the text he or she proposes to translate can be categorised as a “classic” or not. Moreover, once the translator signs a contract to translate a specific literary text, a strict rule about the allotted time within which the translation needs to be completed must be adhered to. Normally, market acceptance comes before quality as the deciding factor for the choice of a text, and the translator has to finish his or her project in a relatively short time to make it possible for the text to be published in time to be profitable. A market-oriented project can be potentially harmful to a translator in an unexpected manner as the position of the translator in this is highly restrictive. For example, when my publisher and my editor decided to have Eco’s The Name of the Rose translated, the decision was made because the novel was on the top of the best-seller list in the US market. It was a time when publishers in Taiwan did not have to pay for the copyright, and, as a result, they often competed to have the Chinese translation of any potentially profitable novel published before others. Moreover, this novel was labelled as one of the best sellers and handed to me, a fresh translator with just about three years of professional experience at the time, to translate it into Chinese as soon as possible for an audience identified as enjoying reading popular novels. The Chinese translation of the novel was done in just about two months, during which I worked approximately sixteen hours a day, handwriting every word on manuscript paper. I do believe that not even the publisher had predicted that the book would become an important text in semiotics and modern literature though later it was decided that the novel should be moved to a series called “Famous Classics” when it was reprinted. Needless to say, I was never asked to make any revision or do any necessary retranslating when the Chinese translation was put into print again and again once I had turned in my manuscript, as presumably I had nothing to do with the book once the translation project was finished. This case clearly reveals that the quality of translation is seriously affected by many factors unrelated to the competency of the translator: the allotted time for any translation project, the purpose or orientation of a project, and the presumed targeted audience. In this case, the publisher not only assigned the project to a young college graduate with some but nevertheless limited writing and translating experience but also treated the masterpiece as a popular novel without intending to have it reviewed carefully or revised with each new printing. Sadly to say, though the Chinese 142
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translation with my name on the cover is still in print, it was never treated with due respect. Though I was a dedicated translator who cared very much about the quality of my translation, the fact is that I did not have enough time nor enough resources to find out the meaning of all the Latin sentences or other sentences in other languages in the novel for which I was paid NT$180 per 1,000 Chinese characters, once and for all, and was not permitted to think that I owned any right to the Chinese translation afterwards. With the coming of the Internet, translators nowadays have access to resources that those of us who worked twenty or thirty years ago could never imagine. The availability of intertexual information through the Internet greatly decreases chances of mistranslating on the translator’s part. However, a translator’s pay remains a major concern. Lawrence Venuti contends that contracts that require translators to assign the copyright, or that define translations as works made for hire, are obviously exploitative in the division of earnings. Such translations are compensated by a flat fee per thousand words, regardless of the potential income from the sale of books and subsidiary rights (Venuti 1995: 10). He points out that no translator can make a comfortable living without taking up other jobs, even though contracts since the 1980s show an increasing recognition of the translator’s crucial role in the production of the translation by referring to him or her as the “author” or “translator” and by copyrighting the text in the translator’s name. That is, while this redefinition has been accompanied by an improvement in financial terms and has signalled a growing awareness of the translator’s authorship, it does not constitute a significant change in the economics of translation, and it remains difficult for a freelance translator to make a living solely from translating (Venuti 1995: 11). According to Venuti, a typical first printing for a literary translation published by a trade press in the US is approximately 5,000 copies (less for a university press), so that even with the trend toward contracts offering royalties, the translator is unlikely to see any income beyond the advance (1995: 12). But precisely because such a limited market for literary translation, which, with very few exceptions, fails to have more than one printing, there is minimal profit for the publisher of literary texts in translation. This is even more the case in Taiwan where a typical first printing for a literary translation published by a trade press is usually limited to 3,000 copies. 2.1. “Untranslatability” and possible solutions In the attempt to cross the cultural gap when dealing with two or more languages, a translator needs to resort to different strategies to get the meanings in the source text across. Other than linguistic factors, many elements influence the extent of cultural and textual transfer in translation 143
practices, such as “translation technologies, literacy practices, economic factors, cultural sufficiency or enclosure, cultural receptiveness to difference, aesthetic norms, taboos about certain types of content, asymmetries in power and cultural prestige, and ideology” (Tymoczko 2007: 119), among others. A translator must not only be familiar with the embodied and situated knowledge related to cultural configurations and practices in the source text and the position and background of the author in the source culture, but she must be able to interpret the embodied and situated cultural practices and dispositions of her own—i.e., the translator’s—culture as well as the culture of the receiving audience. “Untranslatability” sums up the difficulties the translator encounters when faced with terms or concepts in the SL that do not exist in the TL. Catford categorises such untranslatability into two types: linguistic and cultural9. Linguistic untranslatability is due to differences in the SL and the TL, whereas cultural untranslatability is due to the absence in the TL culture of a relevant situational feature for the SL text. But other scholars, such as Popovič, defines untranslatability without trying to make a separation between the linguistic and the cultural, since language is the primary modelling system within a culture (Bassnett 2002: 40). In cases where there is a disparity of cultural context between the subject matter in the source text and the target audience, it is insufficient and inappropriate for the translator to merely transpose cultural material, implicitly presupposing the reader’s knowledge of allusions to the cultural background, because the reader is unlikely to be aware of the cultural assumptions in the resulting text and will not be able to make necessary and relevant inferences about meaning. Moreover, the act of transposing is in fact illegitimate rewriting. However, translation, especially literary translation, in most situations must contend with these issues. As equivalence in translation should not be approached as a search for sameness since sameness itself cannot exist between two TL versions of the same text, let alone between the SL and the TL version, “untranslatability” is neither an acceptable option nor an excuse to the translator. Thus, Bassnett concludes her discussion on untranslatability by asserting that the task of the translator is to find solutions to even the most daunting of problems and that such solutions may vary enormously as “the translator’s decision as to what constitutes invariant information with respect to a given system of reference is in itself a creative act” (2002: 42). That is, the translator resorts to one of the possible solutions which promises a maximum of effect with a minimum of effort. However, other than reemphasising that translation studies is a serious discipline and investigating the process of translation is often viewed as a secondary activity with all the associations of its lower status implied and acknowledging the fact that the translator is both receiver and emitter, Bassnett does not offer any concrete strategy for the 144
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translator to cross the cultural gap marked by untranslatability. One option in dealing with gaps in cultural assumptions separating the translated text and the audience is for the translator, who has to transpose cultural material in the SL to the TL version, to choose to translate the text as it is with absolutely no explanation, taking the position that the reader should be able to understand the material on the basis of general knowledge and that it will fall to readers to do the homework necessary to fill in the cultural background for themselves. But in most cases this is certainly viewed both by readers and critics as an irresponsible approach on the translator’s part. This leaves the translator to resort to other strategies to solve the problem of untranslatability, and one of the most popular strategies is to incorporate notes to explain terms or subject matter in the source text that does not exist in the culture of the target audience. 2.2. The use of notes or glossary: A useful strategy or a hindrance? To provide cultural explanations and background information in the translator’s notes to compensate for the cultural ignorance and/or difference in perspective of an audience unfamiliar with the cultural context of the subject matter at hand is a popular approach taken up often by translators. When a translator chooses to include footnotes or endnotes as a means to cross the cultural gap between the source text and the target audience, however, he or she risks altering the shape of the text by mediating cultural knowledge for the receptor audience. In the simplest case, shifting a cultural concern from the background to the foreground in the translation by explaining a cultural element thereby bringing more attention to it than it has in the source text alters the subject matter of the text as well as the text type. In such a case the translated text becomes more didactic than the source in virtue of the explanations introduced by paratextual materials such as footnotes. This sort of shift from background to foreground could also change the tone of a very simple and intimate text as it disrupts the smooth flow of the original. In a literary translation, particularly a prose translation, the entry of notes definitely spoils the pleasure of reading. In “A Dialogue: On a Translator’s Intervention,” Ros Schwartz mentions that instead of inserting endnotes in his translation of any novel, he compiles a glossary to deal with such issues of untranslatability. He relates how in translating several Algerian novels he decided to keep the words in Arabic (transliterated) and to add a glossary plus some background historical notes as “the glossary was not intrusive, but it was there if the reader wanted it” (Schwartz & DeLange 2006: 12). But in the same dialogue, he also mentions that in the cited case he had to battle with the editor over the use of a glossary “because it’s quite a difficult book stylistically, and the publisher wanted to 145
make it more accessible by translating the Arabic words, but I stood my ground” (Schwartz & DeLange 2006: 13). This is another example of the intervention of the editor and the publisher and their power to impose in a translation project. One experience I have had in facing the use of footnotes is quite another case. In translating Woody Allen’s book Getting Even (˪ẵ徒刦ΐ∯⟜˫ is the Chinese title) a collection of his humorous short stories and essays first published in issues of the New Yorker magazine between 1966 and 1971, I chose to ignore all the gaps in cultural assumptions possibly separating the translated text from its intended audience, assuming that those Chinese readers who would choose to pick up this book should be sophisticated and sufficiently cultivated to have the background information necessary to understand the book as well as the author’s ideas. That the project was completed before the existence of the Internet does not justify my choice of non-action, of course, but this choice was mainly based on a paradoxical assumption that a translator’s power to introduce newness and to communicate across cultural differences is ultimately made possible by the power of the audience. As Jakobson contends, languages differ in what they must convey, not in what they may convey, for humans can manipulate and expand language to accommodate new ideas and new cultural forms presented to them (1956: 236). An unexpected development, however, is that my editor (probably a recent college graduate) decided to put in some notes (most of them unnecessary) without consulting me, and as a result, I have been made to suffer the harsh criticism concerning the inappropriate inclusion of note entries in the Chinese version of the book ever since it was published in 1992. An interesting issue present in this case is that, when a translator (or an editor, in this case) chooses to offer notes based on random choices, certain blanks are created as some terms or gaps are left untreated. Moreover, when a translator makes a decision as to which terms or cultural discrepancies need to be illustrated or explained with notes, he or she risks being criticised as making arbitrary choices without reference to any objective set of standards or criteria. In this case, he or she may cater to a targeted audience by sacrificing a broader readership. On the other hand, the targeted audience that the translator happens to cater to might choose not to refer to any note the translator offers anyway. 3. Obstruction for a translator/researcher As the creativity of translation is a growing theme, the stance and positionality of the translator have also become much more central in translation studies. In The Translator’s Invisibility Lawrence Venuti calls for 146
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a translator-centred translation, insisting that the translator should inscribe himself visibly into the text (Venuti 1995). Venuti sees the most important factor regarding this issue as “the prevailing conception of authorship,” since translation is seen as derivative and of secondary quality and importance. Bassnett, in “Writing and Translating,” points out that translators themselves contribute to that value system, “for translators are often self-consciously more private than people who define themselves as writers, seeing their role as more functional then creative” (173). Even though since the 1980s an increasing recognition of the translator’s crucial role in the production of translated works has become evident, stock responses, which almost instinctively mold public, critical, and academic opinion of translators as betrayers rather than as creators who, as Walter Benjamin asserted, give new lives to literary works in other languages, seem ineradicable. Susan Bassnett in The Translator as Writer points to the tradition of translator academics being advised to keep quiet about their translations and not record them on their CVs because this might hinder promotion prospects and that this reality continues to obtain in spite of the growth of a new academic discipline called translation studies (2006: 5). In Taiwan, a researcher is not discouraged to take up a translation project probably because there is but a handful of translators in academia; nevertheless, researchers or college instructors are always reluctant to take up any translation project since it takes away the time and the energy that they need to do academic research and write research papers which would contribute to their academic reputation and promotion. Clearly the exercise of research assessment in academia still values academic articles so much more highly than translations themselves, even translations of entire books, notwithstanding the fact that the practice of translation is an invaluable and essential experience for the translation theorist and instructor. Such academic prejudice indirectly hinders the development of translation and translation studies and definitely increases the gap between practice and theory. This is the kind of conflict that a researcher/translator such as I has to confront and can never overcome on his or her own. You may find comfort in that by translating an important text, you are doing something beneficial both for yourself and for your audience even if your hard work fails to earn academic recognition. But such thinking may even be self-deceiving when a single reader makes negative remarks about your translation. “Every life viewed from the inside would be a series of defeats”, George Orwell once remarked. It is a bit pessimistic, if not downright bleak, evaluation of one’s life experiences, but it best describes a translator’s frustration especially if he or she has ever tried to Google himself or herself to see how readers respond to his or her translation. The fact is, most readers do not realise that there is no right, objective or single translation. As Ros 147
Schwartz says, your translation is your reading of that author. Your choices are inevitably going to be subjective; your vocabulary is a personal vocabulary, different from anybody else’s (2006: 11). So there is bound to be some disagreement over your interpretations or views revealed through your subjective arrangement of words and phrases. If the original text is the moon, it is unreachable and can be defined in endless ways. The best a translator can do is to look at the reflection of the moon on the water and try his or her best to depict it for someone who cannot even see the reflection. In “Translation: Walking the Tightrope of Illusion”, Anthea Bell writes that: “all my professional life, I have felt that translators are in the business of spinning an illusion. The illusion is that the reader is reading not a translation but the real thing”. In fact, in the various descriptions of their craft offered by practicing translators, metaphors and similes are prominent: Michael Frayn has described translation as akin to acting, and Umberto Eco’s statement in Mouse or Rat? that the idea of translation is a process of negotiation (between author and text, between author and readers, as well as between the structure of two languages and the encyclopaedias of two cultures) is a precise definition that meets the exigency (60). The most prominent and famous metaphor refers to Benjamin’s deconstruction concept which is presented in the image of a shattered vessel, tentatively reconstructed from fragments (some of which are usually missing); it is a figure that illustrates the way that a translation recreates form and text out of fragments of language and meaning. These fragments can be compared to language itself which is always in a state of transition, emerging from a play of differences, simultaneously looking backward and forward in time semiotically, rather than constituting a stable presence (Benjamin 1969/2004: 78). The image of the reflection of the moon on the water that I use in the title of this paper is taken from my English translation of the Chinese idiom, “ 㯜 ᷕ㐰㚰”, meaning literally “fishing for the moon in the water,” but implying a fool’s or a drunkard’s futile endeavour of trying to grasp the reflection of the moon in the water. It may sound negative and hopeless, but the reflection of the moon actually reveals the dreamlike beauty of the moon since the moon as a subject is impossible to grasp or to reach. The Chinese verse, “ ⋫ 㰇 㚱 㯜 ⋫ 㰇 㚰”, literally meaning “a thousand rivers show a thousand reflections of the moon,” best illustrates how the reflection of the moon is a suitable metaphor for translation. It is a beautiful image that demonstrates the fact that translation is always a one-to-many operation and though there can be no single correct or “positive” way to translate, each translation has its merit and value as it is a unique reflection of the original. Thus, when Bassnett laments that so much time should have been spent on discussing what is lost in the transfer of a text from SL to TL which indicates the low
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status of translation, she ignores what can also be gained since “the translator can at times enrich or clarify the SL text as a direct result of the translation process” (Bassnett 2002: 36). “Refraction” is the term that Lefevere uses in his discussion of the different versions of English translation of Brecht’s Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder. In his article, “Mother Courage’s Cucumbers: Text, system and refraction in a theory of literature,” he claims that “A writer’s work gains exposure and achieves influence mainly through ‘misunderstandings and misconceptions,’ or, to use a more neutral terms, refractions” (Lefevere 2004: 234). He explains that “Writers and their work are always understood and conceived against a certain background or, if you will, are refracted through a certain spectrum, just as their work itself can refract previous works through a certain spectrum” (234). He asserts that refractions—the adaptation of a work of literature to a specific audience, with the intention of influencing the way in which that audience reads the work—have always been with us in literature. In his definition, a refraction “which tries to carry a work of literature over from one system into another, represents a compromise between two systems and is, as such, the perfect indicator of the dominant constraints in both systems” (Lefevere 2004: 237). And though he names criticism, commentary, historiography, teaching, the collection of works in anthologies, and the production of plays as “the less obvious forms of refractions”, he points out that translation is the most obvious form of refraction. He concludes that a systems approach to translation studies can make a significant contribution to literary theory as a whole, and that translations, or refractions, play a very important part in the evolution of literatures. Perhaps this is why Salman Rushdie remarks, “It is normally supposed that something always gets lost in translation; I cling, obstinately to the notion that something can always be gained” (Rushdie 1991: 17).
The three types of translation, according to Jakobson, are: intralingual translation or rewording, an interpretation of verbal signs by means of other signs of the same language; interlingual translation or translation proper, an interpretation of verbal signs by means of some other language; and intersemiotic translation or transmutation, an interpretation of verbal signs by means of signs of nonverbal sign systems (1959: 233) (58). 2 Maria Tymozyko points out that most of the scholars who developed the sub-field of descriptive translation studies, such as Theo Hermans (The Manipulation of Literature 1985) and James S. Holmes (“The Name and Nature of Translation Studies (1972))” were trained originally in literary studies. Whereas the functionalist and linguistic schools focus primarily on translation process, descriptive translation studies constitutes a set of post positivist approaches to translation products. Scholars involved in descriptive translation studies recognised that the insights of linguistic and functionalist translation approaches were not only germane to the process of translation, but that they could also be used to assess existing products of translation,
namely translated texts. Translations could be approached as a record of past translation choices, elucidating the relationship between translator, translated text, and context, as well as functions and linguistic and cultural asymmetries (39-40). 3 The Vernacular Movement, or ⲭ䂡᮷䙻अ, is part of the New Culture Movement ˄ᯠ᮷ॆ䙻 अ or ӄഋ䙻अ ˅that started on the eve of May 4th, 1919 when Chen Duxiu ˄ 䲣⦘⿰ ˅ published the well-known article, “De Xien-sheng yu Sai Xien-sheng” (ᗧ⭏ݸ㠷䌭 ⭏ݸ, “Mr. Democracy and Mr. Science”) in La Jeunesse (ᯠ䶂ᒤ䴌䂼), a magazine he founded and edited. Hu Shi ˄ 㜑䚙 ˅, a scholar who was also a major proponent of the movement, strongly promoted the replacement of classical Chinese by vernacular Chinese 4 This list of words and the Chinese equivalents are taken from the entry of ᯠ᮷ॆ䙻अ in Wikipedia at zh.wikipedia.org/zh-tw/ᯠ᮷ॆ䙻अǄ 5 In fact, a contemporary Chinese translation for the word “club”, especially among the young generation, is “ཌᓇ” which might also refer to bars where young people gather for their night life (hence the term “ཌ ᓇ”). However, the term “ ء′ 䜘” is still valid as it has other connotations. 6 A detailed discussion on the position of translators and specific problems of literary translation can be found in the chapter, “Specific Problems of Literary Translation” in Susan Bassnett’s Translation Studies 3rd, edition (2002: 79-131) 7 Hilaire Belloc lists the rules in his On Translation, a book on translation published as early as 1931 in Oxford. Bassenet includes the list and a detailed discussion in her Translation Studies, pp. 116-118. 8 In Taiwan, for example, one can apply to the National Science Council for a grant to translate a text for the Project of Translating Classics and wait to see if the application is approved. Another institute that one can apply to in order to translate a literary text is the National Institute for Compilation and Translation, but it is usually limited to texts on theories or criticism. In both cases, the application is limited to academia and the process usually involves much paper work. 9 Bassnett in her Translation Studies discusses Catford’s two types of untranslatability with specific examples and charts. However, the discussion focuses on the translation of English from other European languages, such as German, Italian, and French, and does not propose any concrete solution (see Bassnett 2002: 37-44).
References Bassnett, Susan. 2002. Translation Studies (3rd ed.). London and New York: Routledge. Bassnett, Susan & André Lefevere. 1998. Constructing Cultures: Essays on Literary Translation. Clevedon, Philadelphia, Toronto: Multilingual Matters. Bassnett, Susan & Peter Bush (eds). 2006. The Translator as Writer. London and New York: Continuum. Benjamin, Walter. (1969/2004). ‘The Task of the Translator’ (tr. Harry Zohn) in Venuti, Lawrence (ed.) The Translation Studies Reader. London and New York: Routledge. 75-85. Connell, Liam & Nicky Marsh (eds). 2011. Literature and Globalization: A Reader. London and New York: Routledge. Eco, Umberto. 2001. Experiences in Translation. (tr. Alastair McEwen) Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press. Jakobson, Roman. 2000. ‘On Linguistic Aspects of Translation’ in Venuti, Lawrence (ed.) The Translation Studies Reader. London and New York: Routledge. 113-118. Lefevere, André. 2004. ‘Mother Courage’s Cucumbers: Text, System, and Refraction in a Theory of Literature’ in Venuti, Lawrence (ed.) The Translation Studies Reader. London and New
Fishing for the Moon in the Water
York: Routledge. 233-50. Rushdie, Salman. 1991. Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism, 1981-1991. New York: Viking. Schulte, Rainer & John Biguenet (eds). 1992. Theories of Translation: An Anthology of Essays from Dryden to Derrida. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. Schwartz, Ros & Nicholas DeLange. 2006. ‘A Dialogue: On a Translator’s Intervention’ in Tymoczko, Maria. 2007. Enlarging Translation, Empowering Translators. Manchester, UK & Kinderhook (NY), USA: St. Jerome Publishing. Venuti, Lawrence. 1995. The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation. London: Routledge. — (ed.). 2000. The Translation Studies Reader. London and New York: Routledge. — (ed.). 2004. The Translation Studies Reader. London and New York: Routledge. ∱⬻ㄞ (1993), ˪䔞ẋ侣嬗䎮婾˫炷Present-day Translation Studies炸 in Bookman Translation Library, Taipei: Bookman. (⎘⊿烉㚠㜿↢䇰℔⎠) 楖ℏ㝄 Vonnegut, Kurt. 1994.˪尻䘬㎾䯫˫(Cat’s Cradle) 炷tr. Yauling Hsieh 嫅䐌䍚 嬗), Taipei: Cite. (⎘⊿烉湍䓘↢䇰℔⎠) ẵ徒刦ΐ (Woody Allen) (1995) ˪ẵ徒刦ΐ∯⟜˫炷Getting Even炸炷tr. Yauling Hsieh 嫅 䐌䍚嬗), Taipei: Third Nature. (⎘⊿烉㕘冒䃞ᷣ佑↢䇰䣦) ⬱ỗ㈀刦⎗ Eco, Umberto. 1983. ˪䍓䐘䘬⎵⫿˫(The Name of the Rose) (tr. Yauling Hsieh 嫅䐌䍚嬗), Taipei: Crown. (⎘⊿烉䘯ⅈ↢䇰℔⎠) — (1992) .˪䥹㒢˫(Foucault’s Pendulum) (tr. Yauling Hsieh嫅䐌䍚嬗), Taipei: Crown. (⎘⊿烉䘯ⅈ↢䇰℔⎠)
Section Three — Translation for Special Purposes How is a Pseudo-Translation Manipulated? A Critical Look at the Production of Carl Weter’s Educational Law Daozhen Zhang The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Hong Kong) Guangdong University of Technology (China) Abstract Translation studies as an independent discipline is only a matter of not more than 50 years. It is interesting that the so-called “cultural turn” has pointed our attention towards the multitude of factors that govern the production of translation as both product and process. One of the pioneers in opening up the new path is Toury, whose concept of assumed translation provides a theoretical basis, on which pseudo-translations can be investigated. Therefore, contextualising certain translational phenomena can make us see the interdependencies of function, process and product of pseudo-translation production. The pseudo-translation Carl Weter’s Educational Law is examined within such a framework. And the result shows that the reading and reception of such a pseudo-translation reveals the model of Chinese readers’ reception and production of translation, that is, its emergence is a result of the pseudo-translator manipulating the cultural mechanism to make the biggest economic profit.
Keywords: manipulation, assumed translation, pseudo-translation, culture, commercial profits
1. Introduction The past fifty years has witnessed the emergence of Translation Studies (TS) as an independent discipline which also promoted the “cultural turn” and has directed our attention to the factors that govern the production and consumption of translation as both product and process. In the field of descriptive translation studies, Gideon Toury introduced the concept of Pseudo-translation into Translation Studies in his well-know work of Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond, in which he incorporated the concept as legitimate research object of TS (1995: 46). For Toury, pseudotranslations are “texts which have been presented as translations with no corresponding source texts in other languages ever having existed—hence no factual ‘transfer operations’ and translation relationships” (1995: 40). So pseudo-translation is not the translation in the conventional sense but one in the assumed sense, for which Toury uses assumed translation to represent all those presented as translations and regards them as the legitimate object of
TS, which we can put into the its socio-historical context for investigation. Thus presenting a text as translation is always a purposeful activity, which can be traced back to its socio-historical context. Later on, Toury strongly advocates in his paper “Enhancing cultural changes by means of fictitious translations” that the pseudo-translators have cultural and political purposes in the process of presenting a text as it were translated, which is an act of culture planning (2005: 4). As a kind of textual communication, the pseudotranslation obviously has the function and uses that other media are lacking, which is of inestimable significance to the TS. Based on Toury’s theories of pseudo-translation, I plan to contextualise and explore a pseudo-translationˈ Carl Weter's Educational Law ( ˪ ⌉ 䇦 䵕 䈡 䘬 㔁 做 ˫ ), a translation concocted in China’s modern cultural context, purporting to show, under the highly commercialised society of China, the functioning of the cultural mechanism and socio-cultural environment in which this pseudo-translation is manipulated by the pseudo-translator. 2. Pseudo-translation: Concept and cause It is Savory (1968: 151-6) who first discussed the phenomena of what he calls fictitious translation in literary translation studies. However, Savory’s perspective is mainly on equivalence between source and target texts, on which he argued that such fictitious translations and adaptations should be removed from within TS. Quite opposite to Savory, Toury incorporates this phenomenon under his investigation and takes it as the legitimate object of TS. This had motivated Toury, based on his own observations, to develop his structuralist descriptive translation studies from Holmes’ Map of Translation Studies (Holmes 1988: 71) as a discipline. Descriptive Translation Studies (DTS), as a branch of TS, mainly focuses on function, process and product, pursuing an adequate translation of equivalent pairs between source and target texts (Toury 1995: 77). As an empirical science, DTS has two main objectives: …to describe particular phenomena in the world of our experience and to establish general principles by means of which they can be explained and predicted. The explanatory and predictive principles of a scientific discipline are stated in its hypothetical generalizations and its theories; they characterize general patterns or regularizes to which the individual phenomena conform and by virtue of which their occurrence can be systematically anticipated (Hempel 1952: 1; see also Toury 1995: 9).
Thus, an important task of DTS is to establish its own object of research, and to establish relevant principles to investigate the regularities between function, process and product. However, the understanding of current
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translation theories is often limited to linguistic transfers, which cannot interpret the translation phenomena in daily lives. Thus “the obsession with restrictive definitions proves counter-productive precisely when the aspiration is to account for real life phenomena in their immediate contexts; they tend to hinder rather than advance descriptive-explanatory work” (Toury 1995: 31). In order to avoid this dilemma, he set forth a working hypothesis, that is, a concept of assumed translation, which applies to all utterances that are presented or regarded as such within the target culture, on no matter what grounds. In fact, it is not a definition of translation here, not even outlining its essential characteristics, but a reflection of the reality and function translation expected to carry out. In so doing, there are at least two advantages in adopting this definition: “first, it is a considerable extension of the range of objects of study, in full agreement with real-life situations that we set out to account for. Secondly, there is a functional operativity even in cases where the basic principle might have been factually inapplicable (Toury 1995: 33).
Thus according to the assumed nature of translational relations, a text presented as translation may be assumed to be translation, and to be described and interpreted even though its source text can not be found. Accompanied with this definition is another assumption that people in a particular culture can make use of cultural features and the status of translation to create some texts and present them as translations to realise their particular purposes, which cannot be realised in TL original writing. Until this fictitious translation has been disclosed, people don’t know they are not real ones. Then why do pseudo-translators forge translations? According to Toury (1995: 41), there are reasons as follows: firstly, translation itself is a convenient way of importing heterogeneity, which writers can make use of to input into target culture without arousing too much resentment. With regard to the organisation of culture, translation is often regarded as subordinate mode of production (Even-Zohar 1978), and thus the deviations from the sanctioned norms will usually be tolerated. This can be regarded as a very important reason for which many pseudo-translations were produced in the Late Qing Dynasty in Chinese translation history. For instance, into the translation of Les Misérables (ǉឈц⭼Ǌ) by Su Manshu are added many lines that did not exist in the original, which can be counted as texts of pseudo-translation. Secondly, the reason why pseudo-translators forge translations is that they want to use pseudo-translations to establish new writing styles and publicise this innovation. Presenting an original text as a translation always implies the recourse to another language and culture in a dominant position,
which can give this text an advantage to manipulate readers’ acceptance of this text. Finally, presenting a text as a translation may mitigate the writer’s worries of the censorship against his works, in which the deviations from the sanctioned norms are often resisted, although the culture changes slowly from a diachronic perspective, but it resists this change within a short period (Toury 2005: 3). However, these resistance and sanctions are more tolerated if the writing appears in form of translation. The reason for this difference is that translation, in origin, comes from a foreign culture, consequently reducing its danger towards the target culture; and the other reason is that there is no effective means of finding the absent author who should be responsible for the writing. There are many follow-up discussions on pseudo-translation after Toury. Robinson also sees in line with Toury on the concept of pseudo-translation, for which he thinks that it can at least be traced back to Popovic’s definition in 1976, that is, in order to win a large readership, writers disguised their writing as translation to realise their purposes (Robinson 1998: 183). This comment clearly emphasised that the assumed nature of translations, together with subjective purposes to carry out these activities on the part of the pseudo-translators. In all the discussions of the emergence of pseudo-translations, the role of (pseudo-)translators as mediators is always highlighted, which lays particular weight on such lofty motives as recreation and innovation of culture. Bassnett even thinks that readers will work with writers in conspiracy in order that the translation reads more like translation (Bassnett 1998: 36). In this paper I argue that the above discussions have ignored one important aspect of this translational activity, that is, the commercial motives. However, this claim seems to be in contradiction with what Toury claimed that norms have restrictions on translators, which I will discuss in the following space. 3. Historical functions of pseudo-translations in Chinese context The term pseudo-translation (Weiyi in Chinese [‥嬗]) appeared in the period of translating the Buddhist scriptures in Han Dynasty. In comparison with the translations from Sanskrit and Hindi, pseudo-translations were the forged scriptures by the Chinese themselves. Obviously, those texts without source or translators would be assumed as pseudo-Buddhist scriptures. In the beginning of introducing Buddhist scriptures, both the translated scriptures and books on scriptures were added into the ideas of Chinese traditional loyalty and piety of Confucius, in the disguise of which the pseudo-scriptures concocted by pseudo-translators preached Confucius’ ideas. It might go like this, “Look, there are even ideas of loyalty and piety in Buddhist scriptures! 156
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Do we still have any excuses to refuse it?” Among the pseudo-scriptures are some famous ones, such as It is Difficult to Return Parents’ Benevolence (ǉ䇞㭵】慵暋⟙䴻Ǌ), the Brahmajala Sutra Scriptures (ǉ㡝䵚䴻Ǌ), Menglanpeng Scriptures ( ǉ ⬇ 嗕 䙮 䴻 Ǌ ) and the Yinti Jinjiao Duzi Scriptures ( ǉ 戨 巬 慹 奺 䉊 ⫸ 䴻 Ǌ ), etc., all of which are disguised as translations. We can quote some lines from It is Difficult to Return Parents’ Benevolence: Buddha said: we should confess our sins and rewards for our parents, and we should keep diet and perform austerity for our parents. If we do in this way, we can be called devoted sons. If not, we should be dismissed to be an outsider and undutiful sons (quoted in Fang 1998: 296-7).
In fact, this scripture not only advocates duties to parents, but also advocate we should pay respect to Buddha and should pay our duty to monks and our teachers. According to Li Jining’s (1996: 82) investigation of the Fomu Scriptures ( ǉ ἃ 㭵 䴻 Ǌ ), he finds this scripture mainly consists of Nirvanasutra and other scriptures, into which are added ideas of Chinese traditional devotedness and Taoism. These records of combining Confucius’ ideas of duties with Buddhist ones can make it clear that pseudo-translation had been made use of even when Buddhist scriptures began to be introduced, which can exemplify, from different aspects, the functions and roles of pseudo-translations in the target culture. In the modern history, esp. in Late Qing, there are many instances of pseudo-translations in the disguise of translation. The book Cidieying (ǉ晴 圞⼙Ǌ), as Tong (1997: 389) pointed out, “the stuff narrated in the book seems to be translated from other books, but on the whole it must be fabricated”. Tong, based on his knowledge of textual features of original literary texts in his own culture, concluded that the book was “no doubt fabricated”. In fact, however, people holding such doubts are very few. Most of the time, people often believe the claims of pseudo-translators, that is, “if you say this is translation, then it is!” without questioning its facts hidden behind. Late Qing is also period of time for massive translation from Japanese. The intellectuals in the literary circles at that time knew the sentences of translation from Japanese are usually carried with “Zhi” (ᷳ)ˈ from an equivalent character in Japanese, connecting the head words and their modifiers. But if there are too many modifiers, the style will be very copious and redundant, which would be thought of as Japaneseness, the socalled translationese tainted with Japanese we call nowadays. However, it was this translationese that Wu (1906) imitated, and he wrote a book entitled Prepared Constitutionalism (ǉ枸⁁䩳ㅚǊ) in such style. Afterwards, he
claimed that the reasons why he wrote this was “to make readers believe this book is a translation”, this is an example at that time for which pseudotranslators imitated the grammar of translation and produced pseudotranslations. However, there are still some problems that appear in the translated works of Late Qing, that is, there are both translation and pseudo-translation in the same translated work, but which is accepted by the readership as translation. For instance, the Baiyun Ta (ǉ䘥暚⟼Ǌ) published in 1905 was signed with the name ‘Reporter with Shanghai Shibao’, in whose preface it says that the “book was written by referring to books from home and abroad, thus it is neither a complete translation, nor a original piece of writingā(Hu 2003: 72). In addition, the translated works by Yan Fu, Lin Shu and Su Manshu, are variously added into fictitious elements that does not exist in the original. Quite recently, Andrea Rizzi (2005: 153-162) discussed this issue in her paper “When a text is both a pseudo-translation and translation”, in which she points out that “the significance of pseudo-translation lies not only in the cultural dynamics rarely studied, but also in the critical process which has gone beyond the relationship between source and target texts”. Her argument has implied that the definition of pseudo-translation is demanding a second consideration. In order to fit into the host culture, the pseudo-translators may add into his works some features generalised from his contemporary translational texts. The translationese concocted in Late Qing’s translation academia is an evidence of imitating its contemporary translational discourse. It doesn’t seem to be so complicated on the translators’ part in the diffusion of Buddhist scriptures to package Confucius’s ideas to propagate its ethics in the guise of translation. Besides the lexico-grammatical devices used to improve textual composition according to the organisation of culture, pseudo-translators sometimes make use of extreme methods to forge pseudo-translations. Such an example can be found in the Book of Mormon (1830), “the innovations are introduced into American culture of the time by means of a text presented as translation and gave birth to an altogether new church, which caused a redeployment of much more than the religious of the culture in question” (Toury 1995: 41-42; for a detailed discussion of the Book of Mormon, see Toury 2005: 3-17). Obviously, what is more important in pseudo-translation lies in “the point that it is only when humans recognise the existence of an entity and become aware of its characteristics that they can begin to imitate it” (James 1989: 35). Such an imitation is extremely important in the formation of a pseudo-translation. In addition, pseudo-translators may add into his works some detailed annotations and interpretations, and it is impossible to do so in original language writing. Although Toury says that he has no intention of 158
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claiming pseudo-translation to be the most important object in translation studies, it, as a kind of practice, should be regarded as a legitimate object, together with other prescriptive statements (1995: 46). 4. A case study of a pseudo-translation According to Chu, “the task of DTS is to find laws of translation, including the laws concerning translation process, products, effects, etc.” (2009: 6). It is thus reasonable to assume that the ultimate goal of DTS is not description, but the explanation based on such a description. The “explanation” is to put an “assumed translation” in its context in order to investigate its operation, that is, to investigate its socio-historical status occupied before it is disclosed to be a pseudo-translation. Of course, this also applies to the translated texts whose original haven’t been found until now, because the value of a translation often relies on its historically determined norm (Hermans 2004: 21). 4.1. Contextualising the modern pseudo-translation Carl Weter’s Educational Law I have mentioned in the introduction Section that this study aims to demonstrate the functioning of pseudo-translation in the highly commercialised social context in China. However, the emergence of pseudotranslation in the modern world is very rare due to the frequent communication between countries and the protection of the copyrights. Even so, there is still one that has drawn our attention in modern China. In July, 2001, the Jinghua Publishing House in Beijing published a translated book on children education entitled Carl Weter's Educational Law (ǉ⌉䇦Ƹ䵕䈡䘬㔁做Ǌ), whose translator is Liu Hengxin. At the bottom part of the book cover there are several lines of words: This has been a wonderful book in the history of education at home and abroad, whose original is collected at the library of Harvard, and it is said to be the only treasured one in America. Since its publication, any parents who are lucky to have chanced to read the book and act accordingly have succeeded in cultivating excellent children (Liu, 2001; my translation).
According to Zhao, this “wonderful book” sells really well since its publication, up to 300 to 400 thousand copies in less than a year. And it ranked among the most Popular Bestsellers Top 5 for 14 months, according to the statistics of National Bestsellers Billboard (Zhao 2002). We can imagine the benefits it brings to the publisher and the related people. In fact, it turns out that the sweeping popularity of the translation benefitted a lot 159
from another book entitled A Harvard Girl: A Record of Quality Education of Liu Yiting, co-authored by Liu Weihua and Zhang Xinwu, published by Writers Press1, which talks about Liu Yiting’s mother educating her daughter, Liu Yiting and the educating skills in the process, during which eventually her daughter was admitted, in April, 1994, by four world-famous American universities, including Harvard. This stirs quite a quake among the educators and parents. According to Liu Weihua, she obtained a book called Early Education and Genius, which introduces the education process of the genius Carl Witte in the nineteenth century. It is the principles that Liu has followed in educating her daughter. “Her daughter’s success makes Carl Witte a name well-known to every household in China, and a model of children’s early education” (Yang & Xu 2003). In less than one year, that is, in July 2001, a book claimed to be a translation of the one from which Liu has drawn inspirations to cultivate her daughter was published, which sold “extremely well”. However, things don’t seem to be as simple as they have appeared. After the book’s hot selling for a period of time, some readers began to be doubtful about this translation, however, which were mainly centred on whether there existed such an original or whether the original is a sole copy. A little later on, there began a systemic bombarding on the translation, during which Zhao first published a article, entitled Forged Translation becoming a bestseller— Carl Weter’s Educational Law has cheated thousands of readers on a website, named New Language Criticism (㕘婆䴚), on September 24th 2002. After he pointed out that there were many mistakes and illogical errors, he further pointed out that this is a piece of Chinese original writing, pieced together by cutting or copying from other books, mainly from a book entitled Early Education and Genius, published by He Bei Education Press. In February 2003, Yang and Xu co-published an article entitled Is It time for Carl Weter’s Tricks to Wind up? (ǉ⌉䇦·䵕䈡䘬`㇚娚㓞⟜ḮǊ) in a magazine called Waitan Illustrated Pictorials. They argued that this book is a pseudo-translation. For twice in March and April, 2011, Yang and Xu directed their bombarding towards Harvard Girl, and whose authenticity they began to show their doubts, at the same time, they criticised again the Carl Weter’s Educational Law, which they argued is a total forged translation. Consequently, they began to question whether it is correct to use Liu Weihua’s method to educate children (Yang & Xu 2011). Subsequently, those reports published on the websites and magazines stimulated quite a lot of discussion, and even hatred from some readers, some 2 of whom yelled “we are fooled, we are fooled!” . By the time I researched the question, that is, April 3rd, 2011, the number of pieces of news concerning
How is a Pseudo-Translation Manipulated?
“Carl Weter’s Educational Law is a pseudo-translation” on the Internet has amounted to 114, if the Chinese translation of the name Carl Weter’s 3 Educational Law and forged translation are entered into the Google engine . So far, it seems to be a definite conclusion that this book is a pseudotranslation. A related result was also brought about to Harvard Girl, whose status was also doubted. There is question whether or not there exists a source book named Carl Weter's Educational Law or a book under a similar title that can be served as an original of the translation by Liu Hengxin. This seems vital to prove whether it is a pseudo-translation. In order to solve this problem, I logged into the website of the Harvard Library, and entered the title Carl Weter’s Educational Law on Liu Hengxin’s translation cover page, but there were no relevant books. Does that mean there wasn’t really such a source book, as some critics claimed? But if I enter Education of Karl Witte, there is a book with a similar name, whose author is called Witte, Karl Heinrich Gottfried, 1767-1845, which is also subtitled The Training of the Child, published by the Thomas Y. Crowell Company, in March 1914. Along with the English translation there is also a German original, which is authored by Witte, Karl Heinrich Gottfried, 1767-1845,published by Leipzig, F.A. Brockhaus in 1819. This may indicate the translationǉ⌉䇦䵕䈡䘬㔁做Ǌhas a source text. But does the translation by Liu Hengxin have the transfer and translational relationships with the ‘original’ as claimed by Toury (1995: 33)? Why does the ‘translator’ change the name of the book and print it on the book cover? Is it on purpose? But why did he give a false name: ‘Carl Weter’s Educational Law˛’ instead of a real one: Education of Karl Witte? Is the translation really of the source? After obtaining the whole book in English, I find it consists of 23 chapters, in 287 pages. It was translated by Leo Wiener from the German original, and edited by Addington Bruce, who added a preface of more than 40 pages at the beginning of the book. The title of first chapter is ‘For whom this book is written?’ in which it is emphasised the book was written for parents who love their children instead of for teachers or educators (Wiener 1914: 2). Looking over the different chapters of this book, I find it is totally different from the version of translation by Liu Hengxin, whose book has only 13 chapters, the first chapter of which is entitled Āᶲⷅ㚫ᾅỹㆹᾹ䘬 ⬑⫸ā(God will bless our children). It talks about the significance of having an excellent wife to cultivate children, and of how to transform children’s mother, which sounds fantastic, and it begins with the following:
ㆹ娵䁢⨂⦣䘬䚖䘬⛐㕤䓇梲⎰᷶ᶲ ᶲ ⷅ天㯪䘬ᶳᶨẋˤἄ䁢ᶲ ᶲⷅ䘬⫸ ⫸㮹炻ㆹ䘬ἧ ἧ␥ 㗗䪕䚉ℐ≃⛘ἧ冒䘬⬑⫸➭⻟㚱≃炻ἧṾ傥枮枮⇑⇑⛘ㆸ攟炻䚉ね⛘ṓ⍿䓇㳣䘬 㦪嵋 (Liu 2002: 2˗emphasis mine). [Back translation: I believe that the purpose of marriage is to give birth to the next generation according to God’s requirements. As descendents of God, my mission is to try my best to make my children be persevering and strong enough, to make them grow up without difficulty and enjoy the life completely.]
In modern China, anyone with any literacy knows that the word God (ᶲⷅ) is a key concept of the Western culture. Liu’s translation opening with introduction of this concept and ideas tainted with Western religion is apparently creating an illusion so that readers will think his book is a translation. But on a second thought, cautious people may doubt what the next generation is like according to God’s requirements? Or has God really imposed any requirements on educating the next generation? Obviously, this content seems to be contradictory to common sense and the theme of the book. Pseudo-translators’ skills of inventing translation are far from perfect. According to Zhao, this book is a collage pieced together from different sources, among which the main one is Early education and Genius, published by He Bei Education Publishing House (Zhao 2002). 4.2. Discussion: From cultural manipulation to commercial utilisation Needless to say, the decision to claim a text as a translation is always an individual one (Toury 1995: 43, 2005: 11). This emerging phenomenon manifests the internal organisation of the target culture, especially the role it played and the status it occupied in the culture. The pseudo-translator Liu Hengxin has made use of these factors, which has produced a huge commercial success. Because he has seen a potential market and the huge commercial profits hidden behind the hot selling of Harvard Girl, and thus forged a copy of Carl Weter’s Educational Law; money is also a particular stimulus or motivation for his pseudo-translation. It may be a good idea for Liu and his publisher to examine the commercial and cultural environment at the time: the current education model and methods have been severely criticised and made controversial since the 80s and 90s of last century. A very persuasive example is the establishment in Shanghai of Mengmu Tang, a private institution imitating Mencius to educate young students (see People’s Daily, July 21st, 2006: 11), which could be counted as a representative attempt to explore new education methods and challenge current education models, though it was abolished eventually. These phenomena indicate people’s puzzles and disordered ideas towards modern education. However, there is a common objective that was valued very much among the parents: that is, to turn their children into 162
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success, for which any successful example of educating children will draw sweeping attention from these parents. When people shift their attention abroad, anything connected with European and Northern American style education methods became popular. In this context, importing heterogeneity such as the concepts, God, and the foreign proper name Carl Weter, etc. into the text can promote readers’ trust towards the book, on the one hand. On the other hand, Liu presents his collage text as a translation has the recourse to another language and culture in a dominant position, that is, English and German, which can give his text an advantage to manipulate Chinese readers’ (mainly parents with children) acceptance of this text. As for the fear of censorship emphasised by Toury (2005: 3), there doesn’t seem to be any indication on the translator’s part. Driven by making use of (would-be) parents’ mentality, publishers and writers seemed to have observed the commercial advantages in the market, for which the report of selling books of “more than 300 to 400 thousand copies” can prove our argument here, and the huge market and commercial profits, which can be justified by the report of “selling 30 to 40 thousand copies in several months”. In the previous Section, I have asked several questions, one of which is: although Liu’s translation has a claimed source text, does it have the transfer and translational relationships with the original as claimed by Toury (1995: 33)? Why did the pseudo-translator print the English name on the cover page of the translation, but gave a very different spelling, that is, a wrong spelling: Carl Weter’s Educational Law ˛It seems that it is not difficult to answer these questions now. Now that this book is a pseudo-translation, the postulated relationships between the translation and original do not exist. Pseudo-translator printed the original book name (spelt wrong, deliberately) on the title page of ‘translation’ for the purpose of making people believe that this is a real translation by saying, “Look, this is the English name of the original!” Now that cultural atmosphere of Westernisation and the English Language Worship formed in current China since its implementation of opening-up policy in 1978, people has formed a thinking that everything connected with English is unique and excellent, not to mention books of education and technology. But why did he give a wrong spelling? A wrong spelling makes it very difficult to locate the source, even there is one in such a case. Pseudo-translators’ estimate did some contribution to the hot selling of this book, making a lot of profits for the relevant participants and publishers. But they had obviously underestimated readers’ curiosity to trace the original for a solid truth. There are already some readers who inquired 4 about the truth and commissioned people to investigate the whole matter.
5. Concluding remarks Toury, when discussing pseudo-translation, held it to be a kind of conscious cultural planning (1995: 44, 2005: 3). Bassnett also emphasised it as an act of cultural construction (1998: 38). So it is postulated that in this cultural planning, all that pseudo-translators aim to achieve is to introduce novelties into the target culture. After examining the pseudo-translation by Liu, it seems quite obvious that Liu wants to make use of the cultural and language advantages of the source text to promote its persuasive and authoritative force in children’s education, in the hope of promoting the readers’ acceptance of the text. This point the pseudo-translator has successfully made use of can be seen from the huge sales of the pseudo-translation. But from the perspective of introducing novelties and evading reader’s resistance, there hasn’t been any evidence showing pseudo-translators of having such motivations. But this does not mean it has no other motives. One important objective behind this planning is to make enough commercial profits as much as they can. In order to achieve this objective, it can be said that the pseudotranslator has tried every means, including good and bad, such as inventing a false name of the original, cutting and copying from other books, or even concocting false facts. At this point, it is difficult to assert that Toury’s theory of cultural planning can provide a relevant explanation. Culture planning should be conceived as a conscious, subjectively strong and active cultural intervention. But seen from the poor quality of the texture and language in Liu’s translation, he has no such cultural motives. Both the blind spots in his knowledge of education and many illogical contradictory facts shown in the book indicate translator’s strong desire for profits and anxiety for success. This can be said as a typical characteristic of present day China, in which different commercial capital are struggling for profits. If we say this pseudo-translation has an obvious source text, but we subsequently have found it has several sources, one of which was the Japanese version Early Education and Genius (ǉ㖑㛇㔁做冯⣑ㇵǊ) by the Japanese writer, Kimura Kuichi, translated by Tang Xin (Ⓒ㫋) into Chinese. Then from Toury’s definition of pseudo-translation to be “original language writing disguised as translation” (Toury 2005: 62), we can clearly infer that a text is either a translation, or is a pseudo-one. This definition with recourse to binary opposition can be, in fact, of little significance to studies of pseudotranslations, which should be given a second consideration and modification. In addition, we have discussed the historical functions and purposes of pseudo-translation in our previous discussion, but does it have difference in the respect of function and purposes from the literary translation taking place in late Qing Dynasty, if any, which may be a big research project for us. 164
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According to Zhao’s data, the books sold by Writers’ Press have accounted to more than 1500,000 copies by October, 2002. 2 I logged into the website http://edu.sina.com.cn/focus/ha/ on the 3rd of April, 2011. 3 On entering the Chinese phrases ⌉䇦䵕䈡䘬㔁做ā⡮㏝⢩Ⲵ‥忈嬗叿ā䙐䆟㪇Ⲵᮉ㛢into Google, I put question marks to quote both phrases in order to improve their co-occurrences. Without quotation marks, the relevant information amounted to 22400 pieces. 4 According to Yang and Xu (2003), they commissioned their friend Wang Feng to go to the Harvard Library to search the book named Carl Weter’s Educational Law, the name provided by Liu Hengxin, but failed to find one.
References Bassnett, Susan. 1998. ‘When is a Translation is not a Translation?’ in Bassnett, Susan & Andrew Lefevere (eds) Constructing Cultures. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters Ltd. Chen, P.Y. and Xia, X.H. 1997. A History of Chinese Novels in 20th Century, Peking University Press. Chu, C.C. 2009. ‘Translation Studies: Prescription, Description, Ethics’ in Chinese Translators’ Journal 3:5-12. Even-Zohar, Itamar. 1978. ‘The Position of Translated Literature within the Literary Polysystem’ in Holmes, James S., José Lambert, and Raymond van den Broeck (eds). Literature and Translation: New Perspectives in Literary Studies. Leuven: Acco. Fang, G.C. 1995. Zang Wai Fojiao Wenxian (Issue 4), Press of Religion. Hermans, Theo. 2004. Translation in Systems: Descriptive Systemic Approaches Explained. Shanghai Foreign Languages Education Press. Holmes, James. 1988. Translated! Papers on Literary Translation and Translation Studies. Amsterdam: Rodopi. Hu, C.E. 2003. ‘On the pseudotranslations in Late Qing’ in Chinese Comparative Literature 3: 69-85. Li, J.N. 1996. ‘An Investigation of Pseudo-Translation of Classic Buddhism: Fomujing’ in Journal of Beijing Library 4: 82-89. Liu, H.X. 2002. Ka er wei te de jiaoyu (ǉቄ·㔤⢩Ⲵᮉ㛢Ǌ), Beijing: Jinghua Press. Liu, W.H. & Zhang, X.W. 2001. A Harvard Girl: A Record of Quality Education.Writers Press. Robinson, Douglas. 1998. ‘Pseudo-Translation’ in Baker, Mona (ed.) Routledge Encyclopaedia of Translation Studies. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Languages Education Press. Rizzi, Andrea. 2005. ‘When a Text is both a Pseudo-Translation and Translation: The Enlightening Case of Matteo Maria Boiardo (1441-1494)’ in Shlesinger, Miriam and Daniel Simeoni (eds) Beyond Descriptive Translation Studies: Investigations in Homage to Gideon Toury. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 153-162. Savory, Theodore. 1968. The Art of Translation. Boston: The Writer, Inc. Toury, Gideon. 1995. Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Toury, Gideon. 1995. ‘Enhancing Cultural Changes by Means of Fictitious Translation’ in Hung, Eva (ed.) Translation and Cultural Change. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 317. Tong, S. 1997. ‘An Essay on Fiction’ in Chen and Xia (eds) Theoretical Documents in Chinese of 20th century. Beijing: Peking University Press. Wiener, Leo. 1914. The Education of Karl Witte or The Training of the Child. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company. Wu, Y.R. 1906. ‘A preface to Prepared Constitutionalism’ in Novels Monthly 2(3): 11-13.
Yang, X.J. & Xu, K. 2003. ‘Is It time for Carl Weter’s Tricks to Wind up?’ in Wai Tan Pictorials 2: 31-39. Yang, X.J. & Xu, K. 2011. ‘A Harvard Girl Contained many Forging Facts’ in Wai Tan Pictorials 4:37-41. Zhao, Y.Q. ‘Forged Translation becoming a bestseller — Carl Weter’s Educational Law has cheated thousands of readers’. On line at: www.xys.org/xys/ebooks/others/science/dajia/wenshi/ weizaoyizhu.txt (consulted on line 27 April 2011).
A Study of Chinese Translation of Academic Works in English: A Panorama in China Keyong He & Yuanyuan Chen Minzu University of China (China)
Abstract The past 32 years since 1979 witnessed a dramatic thriving of translation into Chinese from foreign languages. Such translation marks the third peak of translation waves in the Chinese translation history. Much of the translation has been on academic topics, and English has been the major source of source languages. Along with the influx of foreign works, quality of translation has increasingly become a concern in the academic community. What is the general situation now? A statistical and analytical review is presented of the current status of Chinese translation of academic works in English in China, aiming at raising the immediate awareness of translation quality on the part of Chinese professionals concerned, including translators, publishers and scholars.
Keywords: translation quality, academic works in English, mistranslation.
1. Introduction The foreign-Chinese translation wave in China since 1979 is the third one if the translation wave in the Tang Dynasty is regarded as the first and the one at the turn of the twentieth century as the second. The third wave is the biggest in terms of people involved in translation, the quantity of translation publication, and diversity of disciplines and subjects covered. The overwhelming majority of such translation is from foreign languages into Chinese. The exact figure of published translations for the past 30 years is not available. Some incomplete statistics, however, would present an incomprehensive but a general picture. Statistics 1 shows that from 1978 to 1990, 28,500 titles of translated books were published, and from 1996 to 2006, 120,750 titles of newly-translated books were published, excluding the number of those re-translated and the books with more than one version. Li Jingduan (2009) estimates that averagely around 15,000 titles of translated books have been published annually since 2000, which is over 50% more than the annual average in the 1990s. According to Huan Youyi (2010), by 2009, there were 19,520 registered professional translation enterprises but 15,039 are in actual operation, with a total of around 60,000 professional translators and interpreters. In addition, some 500,000 people are involved in part-time translation.
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With such a big population involved in translation and with such a large quantity of annual publication, translation quality is inevitably a concern. Since 1984, the concern and worry about translation quality have been expressed by Chinese translators such as Jiang Chunfang (1984), Ye Shuifu (1989) and Ji Xianlin (1998). In 2002, twelve leading Chinese translators headed by Ji Xianlin jointly made a public appeal through Guanming Daily to enhance translation quality by observing translation ethics. Despite the efforts, negative criticism in recent years seems to have increased. Since 2001, the most influential newspapers in China like Remin Ribao (the People’s Daily), Guangming Daily, China Education Daily, China Reading Weekly and Wenhui Book Review have mounted attacks on poor quality in the contemporary Chinese translation of foreign works, particularly of academic works. It seems that such criticism has never stopped. Consequently, the following questions need to be addressed: Does the quality issue become better or worse with the change of times? Is the issue salient only in some disciplines or is it prevalent in all disciplines? What is the general picture of the quality of Chinese translation of academic works in English? There has never been any systematic study in this connection. Since the majority of the translation is from English, a study of the criticism of Chinese translation of works in English would provide a representative look. While it is impractical and impossible to look at translation of all kinds in all areas, it is more meaningful and manageable to study only the Chinese translation of academic works in English. Therefore, the present research attempts to make a systematic study of criticism of the quality publicly expressed during the past 322 years to present a panorama. Being positivistic and descriptive, the present study statistically analyses all academic papers and articles that are possibly available on the quality of Chinese translation of academic works in English and that have been published during the past 30 years in Mainland China. Chinese Journal Fulltext Database3 and China Academic Journal Network Publishing Database4 are the major databases that collect practically all academic papers published from 1979 up to now by all Chinese academic journals and important Chinese newspapers, Ph.D. dissertations and excellent master-degree dissertations, and papers presented in important academic conferences in China. The present research is based on the data from the two databases. 2. Discussion To get a holistic picture, it is necessary to obtain data that could indicate the attention given to the quality issue in Chinese translation of academic works in English, the data that could indicate the academic areas affected by quality issue, and the data that could show general situation of specific translation 168
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quality problems. With “translation of academic works” and “translation quality” as keywords, a search was made of the two databases to single out all research papers and newspaper articles on the quality of Chinese translation of academic works in English. The data collected are as late as June, 2011, the cut-off data collection time. In total, 544 research papers and articles in this connection were collected and analysed. 2.1. Criticism distribution in time and type of publication media
Of the 544 research papers and articles, 44 were from the 1980s, 59 from the 1990s, and 441 from the 2000s, amounting to 8.09 %, 10.85% and 81.07%, respectively. In terms of time span, criticism in the Chinese academic community was constant but not much in the first two decades after 1979, with an annual average of 3.7 pieces of research paper. A possible explanation for this would be that the quality issue was not serious enough to attract much attention, or the issue was not widely noticed, or lack of criticism mechanism or lack of attention on the part of professionals may be responsible even if the issue was serious. When it comes to the third decade, the annual quantity of the research papers plus newspapers are nine times as much as in the previous decades. Obviously the dramatic increase shows wide attention drawn to quality issue. The cause for such an increase should be multiple. Firstly, the dramatic increase in translation, which is reflected by the increase in publication, would logically lead to more quality problems, as more people were involved in translation. Secondly, more and more people have been concerned with the quality issue, which may also indicate that it has become more serious. When it comes to publication medium and journal
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Table 1. Criticism distribution in time by type of publication media and journals 1980s
Type of Media & Journals Newspaper
Academic Journal (Type A)
University Journal (Type B)
Academic Journals Solely on Translation Studies (Type C)
Excellent Master Degree Dissertation (EMDD)
Chart 2. Criticism distribution in time by type of publication media and journals
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When it comes to publication medium and journal category, 73 articles were from most influential Chinese newspapers such as Remin Ribao (the People’s Daily), Guangming Daily, China Education Daily, China Reading Weekly and Wenhui Book Review, 459 were published by academic journals category, 73 articles were from most influential Chinese newspapers such as Remin Ribao (the People’s Daily), Guangming Daily, China Education Daily, 170
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China Reading Weekly and Wenhui Book Review, 459 were published by academic journals which can be sub-categorised into academic journals that are usually for other subjects than translational studies (Type A, with 210 research papers), university journals (Type B, with 187 research papers), and academic journals solely on translational studies (Type C with 61 papers), namely Chinese Translators Journal, Chinese Science & Technology Translators Journal, Shanghai Journal of Translators, Foreign Languages and Translation and Language and Translation. Two papers are excellent master degree dissertations (EMDD), and 10 articles are from the Internet. The appearance of the criticism on influential newspapers, which usually carry articles that deal with most important political, economic, cultural and social issues in Chinese life, indicates that the translation quality issue has become so serious and salient that leading Chinese translators have to use this medium to arouse sharp awareness of it. In terms of academic journals, more criticism came from Type A and Type B. The two types contribute 325 pieces of research papers in total within the three decades, with an average of 10.8 pieces a year, while Type C did only 61 in the same period, with an average of 2 pieces a year. When a dramatic increase of publication on the issue occur in the first two types, from 24 to 165 and 13 to 160, respectively, the criticism in Type C also increase, from 21 pieces in the 1990s to 31 in the 2000s, but not dramatically, with only 3 pieces annually. The appearance of much more quality criticism on academic journals Type A and Type B since the year 2000 indicates that the concern is mounting, and that university teachers are mainly the stakeholders since they are the main contributors of the journals. The number of papers on translation quality criticism published in academic journals solely on translation studies (Type C, or the five most influential journals mentioned above) is small, being only 9, 21 and 31 during the three respective decades, with an annual average of 0.9, 2.1 and 3.1 pieces of papers. It should be noted that this annual average is not for each journal but for five journals. If these figures are divided by 5 respectively, the five journals carry averagely 0.18, 0.42 and 0.62 pieces of such papers annually during the three respective decades. This shows that some journals Type C do not carry such papers, and some journals only do so occasionally. The discovery is astonishing, because it should be the responsibility of these journals to take the lead in creating a platform for quality criticism, but it is not so in reality. Only by setting up a constant translation quality review mechanism by the leading translation studies journals, can the quality issue be seriously dealt with. The data show a mismatch between the responsibility and obligation of journals Type C and translation practice.
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2.2. Approach to the translation quality discussion In discussing the quality issue, most of the papers and articles under study focus on specific mistranslation in a specific text or on general mistranslation as a phenomenon. For most authors, the quality issue in translation means mistranslation. Most writers discuss the issue from duality of correctness and incorrectness and advocate that translators should use Chinese which is easy to understand and compliant to the modern standard to express the content of the source text correctly (Teng 1999). Most authors fail to provide a theoretical framework for addressing mistranslation, but the way the errors are classified and discussed shows that traditional translation criterion of faithfulness and expressiveness is what they follow. Some do express their preference for the criterion (Mu 1991; Wei 2000; Fan 2002; Fan 2004; Liu & Zhang 2009), though deviation from the tradition appeared in the 1980s when Fan (1987) tried quantitative assessment and Gu (1989) proposed plural complementarism of translation standard. In the new millennium, with the influence from Western translation studies, particularly from the translation quality assessment model of House (1977), the argumentation-centred model of Williams (2004), and text typological function in quality assessment of Reiss, some Chinese scholars have made significant attempts to provide new perspectives and methods in evaluating translation quality. Such efforts were found in the new assessment criterion exploration by Li and Yang (2003), the positivistic model based on text type, the formal and pragmatic equivalence proposed by Tang (2004), the pragmatic markedness values and equivalent approach by Hou (2005), the text typology applied in quality assessment by He and Si (2009), the assessment by relevance theory by Xie and Cai (2008) and He (2010), the evaluation of mistranslation by schema theory by Han (2010), and the assessment from the perspective of translator’s ethics by Zhao (2010). Considering the complexity of different understanding of quality criteria, Wu (2007) stresses importance of assessment mode evaluation before possible assessment of translation quality. Quite a few scholars have introduced and commented on the models proposed by House (Li & He 2010), Williams and Reiss, but few have applied them in case studies, and most quality assessment still puts priority on error detection and cause analysis. All efforts by new approaches are made by scholars from translation community while translation criticism by those from non-translation communities is mainly based on faithfulness and expressiveness as criterion, though some authors add new dimensions as in case of Liu and Zhang (2009) who stress the unity of academicism, technicality and artistry in academic translation. Non-traditional modes and methods of translation quality evaluation have been adopted or adapted by some Chinese authors but their technical 172
A Study of Chinese Translation of Academic Works in English
complexity has thrown shadow over their operational feasibility. Meanwhile, most of the authors of the papers under study, particularly the authors who are not from translation community, follow the tradition evaluation mode of duality. This indicates that in setting up a translation quality criticism mechanism, focus should also be given to designing more modern but operation-friendly modes of quality evaluation that can be adopted by widespectrum of scholars involved in translation criticism. 2.3. Criticism distribution by discipline The 544 articles and research papers cover almost all disciplines in natural sciences, engineering, humanities and social sciences, but 357 of them specifically deal with specific disciplines while 51 papers are mistranslation discussions, 68 papers and articles are general criticism, and 68 papers are especially devoted to theoretical translation quality research. Chart 3. Percentage of topic type 6SHFLILF$FDGHPLF 'LVFLSOLQHV
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Among the 357 papers covering specific academic disciplines, 281 involve humanities and social sciences. Their specific distribution is tabulated in Table 2. Although the focus of the present study is on academic works and although literary works are not usually written for academic purpose, research papers and articles on literary translation are included to show the seriousness of the translation quality issue. Table 2. Distribution by disciplines — humanities and social sciences Disciplines Philosophy Economics Law
Piece of paper 12 34 40
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Art History Literature Management Lexicology Translatology Anthropology and sociology Psychology Linguistics Politics Journalism Inter-disciplines Total
2 15 64 7 17 6 15 1 45 16 12 13 281
The distribution of 76 papers and articles involving science and technology is tabulated in Table 3. Table 3. Distribution by disciplines — natural sciences and echnology Disciplines Physics Biology, botany and physiology Geoscience Pharmacy Medicine Engineering Inter-disciplines Total
Piece of paper 2 11 4 1 14 12 32 76
It can be seen from the Tables that the translation quality issue is found in almost all disciplines. While more attention (281) is given to translation quality in humanities and social sciences, quality problems also exist in natural sciences and technology. Mistranslation in medicine and engineering is particularly worrying as its negative effect may appear in actual clinical treatment and engineering projects. It is previously mentioned that annual publication of Chinese translation of foreign works in the last decade is about 15,000 titles. It can be estimated that probably two thirds of them are in English, and that only very small fraction of the translation has been reviewed and criticised. Such estimation would indicate that mistranslation in disciplines like economics, law, literature, history, philosophy, lexicology, politics, anthropology and sociology is a prevalent phenomenon (see Chart 4).
A Study of Chinese Translation of Academic Works in English
A great amount of criticism is mounted at literature translation, namely translation of different genres including novels, poetry, prose and drama and translation of literary review and theoretical studies of literature. The mistranslation prevalence actually throws shadows over the correctness and exactness of the knowledge introduced from foreign cultures and countries and casts doubt on the rigorousness of scholarship Chinese scholars pursue. Chart 4. Humanities and social sciences disciplines that draw more attention
3. Types of translation errors While the keyword “quality” has not been defined, it usually refers to “mistranslation” in all the papers and articles under study. It is widely acknowledged that difficulty of Chinese translation of academic works in English usually lies in representation of content speciality, conceptual abstractness, logical rigour, and expressive exactness and terseness. The authors of all the papers and articles under study seem to agree that if a translation is not satisfactory in any of these aspects, its quality is problematic, although paradigms different from the traditional faithfulnessexpressiveness approach provide more perspectives to look at translation quality as discussed in 2.2. Since most papers and articles approach the quality issue from the perspective of faithfulness and expressiveness, classification of translation errors presented here is summarised on their basis. Due to the limited space here, only a succinct description is provided, with one or two examples quoted from the papers under study, but no reference is made to the causes of the mistranslation, though some implications have been provided. An examination of all the data collected in the present study shows that translation errors fall into the following categories.
Keyong He & Yuanyuan Chen
3.1. Mistranslation of the names of people Mistranslation of the names of people is prevalent in Chinese translation of academic works in English in China and is represented in different forms that can be subdivided into eight main sub-categories. 3.1.1. Mistaking A for B In China usually authoritative dictionaries of Chinese translation of names of foreigners have standardised the Chinese version of their names. A consultation of them would give a translator a correct answer or a clue to a correct answer. When a person is mistaken for another, mistranslation occurs. For instance, “Comte” (ᆄᗧ), the French philosopher, is mistranslated as “ᓧ ᗧ ” (Kant), a German philosopher. Such confusion indicates that the translator is either too careless or ignorant of Western philosophy. 3.1.2. Failure to observe the conventions in rendering a well-known person’s name Some famous foreign celebrities usually have fixed Chinese translation of their names which has long been accepted in political, academic, diplomatic and entertainment communities. The principle of observing conventions in translation allows no deviation when their Chinese names are used. But often the principle is violated when “ᢈݻ㔤ቄ” (Tocqueville), a French writer well known for his influential Democracy in America, is mistranslated as “മ ཾေቄ” (T’u k’uei wei erh), “J. S. Mill” (J·S· ぶं), a famous English philosopher and economist, into “㊣ं” (Mi le) (Yang, 2006), and Voltaire ( Կ ቄ ⌠ ) into “ 㔤 ቄ ཚ ”(Wei erh t’ai) (Xie 2009: 263). Such violation separates the association between the name and the person who readers are familiar with and thus misleads readers. The mistranslation shows that the translators are either irresponsible or too self-confident. 3.1.3. Wrong transliteration of the names of the sinologists who have their own Chinese names which should not be transliterated Many if not all foreign sinologists and diplomats who used to work in China have their own Chinese names that are not equivalent to the names from transliteration. When these foreign names are translated into Chinese, a translator should use the very Chinese names the foreigners use instead of transliterating them. Otherwise, readers of the Chinese version would understand differently. For example, the name Pearl Buck, American Nobel 176
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laureate, is known in China as “䎋⧽⨐” (Sai chen chu), rather than“⧰ቄ·ᐤ ( ”ݻP’o erh pa k’o). When this kind of names are mistranslated, they would strike Chinese readers as the names of different people, as in the case of “John King Fairbank” (䍩↓, Fei cheng ch’ing) being transliterated into “ 㓖 㘠 · 䠁 · 䍩 ቄ ⨝ ( ” ݻYüeh han chin fei erh pan k’o). This kind of mistranslation is not uncommon, indicating that quite a number of unqualified people are involved in translation. 3.1.4. Mistranslating the names of the Chinese which are spelt in the way invented by Thomas Wade Thomas Wade, former British diplomat in China, invented a Romanised system to spell Chinese names and the system is called Wade Romanisation, for example, Zhang as Chang. Today, translators who do not have any knowledge of the system fail to know that Chang is equal to Zhang. As a result, “㪻ӻ⸣” (Chiang Kai-shek) becomes “ᑨࠟ⭣” (Ch’ang k’ai shen), “༿ᱻ哏” (Hsia Ching-lin) becomes “᷇⎧䶂” (Lin hai ch’ing) and “ᗀѝ㓖” (Hsu Chung-yueh) becomes “㣿᱕ᴸ” (Su ch’un Yüeh). The mistakes show that the translator totally lacks basic knowledge in handling the translation of names spelt in this way. 3.1.5. Changing a person’s name in translation In some translations the translator even changes the name of a person by adding one name or more to the original. For instance, Secretary of State George Marshall (҄⋫·傜ⅷቄഭয) is translated as “ᯟ⌠⢩·҄⋫·傜ⅷ ቄ”. Here “state” becomes a person’s name “ᯟ⌠⢩” (Liu 2007: 141). This type of mistranslation indicates that the translator is too careless. 3.1.6. Transliterating in the English way the names of people descending from other countries than English origin A rule concerning Chinese translation of foreign names stipulates that except in special cases transliteration is usually adopted according the pronunciation of the original language. However, the present study has shown that many names from other languages than English are transliterated in anglicised way. Therefore, “José”, which should be transliterated into “㤕⌭” (Jo tse) in French and Dutch, and “օຎ” (Ho sai) in Spanish, is translated as “҄ᯟ” (Ch’iao ssu). The similar examples can be found in “ᶌᐳ⬖” (Dubois) as “ᶌᐳ⬖ᯟ” (Tu pu wa ssu) (Feng 2004: 6)ˈand “›ቊ” (Vincent) as “зẁ
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⢩” (Wan sen t’e) (Feng 2004: 293). Mistakes of this type are quite common, indicating lack of awareness of the phonetic difference on the part of translators. 3.1.7. Mistaking a title for a person’s name There are cases where the title of a person is translated as an ordinary modifier, as “Suleyman the Magnificent’s Ottoman Empire” (㣿㧡ᴬацབྷ ᑍⲴྕᯟᴬᑍഭ) is mistranslated as “ᓎབྷⲴ൏㙣ަᑍഭ㡂 ࡇᴬ” (the Magnificent is translated as ᓎབྷⲴˈwhich means ‘enormous’) (Zhang 2008: 143). The mistake shows that the translator’s linguistic competence and the command of historical knowledge are problematic. 3.1.8. Mixing Chinese characters with Latin letters Not knowing who is who, some translators translate a part of a name and leave other parts un-translated. Then K.C. Chang (ᕐ )ⴤݹan American anthropologist, becomes “K.C. ᕐ”, and C.K. Yang (ᶘᒶำ) , an American sociologist, becomes “C.K. ᶘ”. A consultation of references would give the translators a clue to the names. The mistranslation shows that the translator fails to take necessary steps to clear doubts. 3.2. Wrong translation of names of places The Chinese translation of some place names is also conventional or established by use. Such conventions should be observed. Otherwise readers would understand them differently as in case of “Walden” (⬖ቄⲫ⒆) being put into “⊳ቄⲫ” (Wo erh teng) (Wang 2005: 82), and “Elbe” (ቄᐤዋ) where ‘Napoleon I’ was kept in custody becoming “ෳቄᐤ” (Ai erh pa) (Feng 2004: 350). The mistakes indicate the lack of translation convention in the mind of the translator. 3.3. Confusing names of persons with names of places or names of families In some translations, names of persons are confused with names of places. For example, “St Peter’s Basilica” (·ᖬᗇབྷᮉา) is translated as “·ᖬᗇ Ⲵᮉา” (Basilica of St Peter), and “the Norman Rogerd Hauteville” (䈪ᴬӪ ⅗⢩㔤ቄᇦ᯿Ⲵ㖇ᶠ) as “䊚⢩㔤ंⲴ䈪ᴬ·㖇ᶠቄ” (Norman Roger from Hauteville) (Zhang 2008: 143). Lack of background knowledge and
A Study of Chinese Translation of Academic Works in English
inadequate linguistic competence are obviously responsible for the mistranslation. 3.4. Mistranslation of academic terms In academic studies, terms are indispensable. Sometimes a term may be used in different disciplines with different conceptual meanings or connotations. In this sense the term is unique. Attention should be given to the uniqueness in Chinese translation. The present study shows that mistranslation of academic terms is rather common. For example, in an anthropological work, “the Secondary Circle” (⅑㓗᮷ॆസ) is wrongly rendered as “ㅜҼњ᮷ॆസ” (No. two circle) (Xie 2011: 72). In a work about law in the United States, “Prohibition” ( ⾱ 䞂 䘀 ࣘ ) is translated as “ ⾱ Ԕ ” (ban), “the Continental Congress” ( བྷ 䱶 Պ 䇞 ) into “ བྷ 䱶 ഭ Պ ” (mainland parliament), “Founding Fathers” ( ᔪഭѻ⡦ᡆ・ഭѻ ⡦) into “ྐส㘵” (founders) or “ྐสѻ⡦” (father of founders). In a work on politics, “SubSaharan Africa” ( ԕ ই 䶎 ⍢ ) is rendered into “ ⅑ 䶎 ⍢ ” (secondary Saharan Africa), “patron-client chains” (ᒷᣔޣ㌫䬮) into “؍ᣔ Ӫ઼ᇒᡧⲴ䬮᧕” (chains between protectors and customers) (Zhang 2008: 139), and in a history work, “Turkish Uighurs” (ケഎ㓕Ӫ) is translated as “൏㙣ަ㔤੮ቄ᯿Ӫ”, without considering the fact that both “Turkish” and “Uighurs” bear different connotations in different times and locations (‘ケ Ӫ’ˈTujue people and ‘എ㓕Ӫ’ˈUyghur Khaganate people in the original text) (Wei 2002: 199). Mistakes of this kind are quite common, which shows that many translators who are not well-qualified academically are doing academic translation. Such mistranslation would throw into great doubt the academic reliability of their translated works. 3.5. Failure to reproduce the conceptual meaning of the source text Some translations fail to reproduce the conceptual meaning of the source text, e.g., rendering “high-involvement shoppers” (㓿ᑨᜐ亮Ⲵ亮ᇒ) as “儈⎹৺ 䍝Ҡ㘵” (highly relevant buyers) and “permanent greeters” (പᇊⲴ䗾ᇮӪ ઈ) as “ᑨ༷Ⲵޕਓ䗾ᇮ㘵” (off-the-shelf greeters) (Chen & Chai 2010: 102). 3.6. One academic term with different translations in the same discipline Lack of unity in Chinese translation of some academic terms among scholars is a serious and common problem, which is rather salient in linguistics and 179
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translation studies. Such a phenomenon can even be found in the same translation text. For example, “self-disclosure” is translated differently in different places of the same text like “㠚ᡁ㺘䵢” (self-showing), “㠚ᡁᣛ 䵢”(self-reveal), “㠚ᡁ᳤䵢”(self-exposing), “㠚ᡁኅ⧠”(self-display) and “㠚ᡁኅ⽪” (self-demonstration), respectively (Ren 2010: 42). “Argument”, an important term in linguistics, is translated as “䇪ݳǃਈݳǃੁǃ亩ǃݳǃ ࣘݳǃਕݳǃѫⴞǃ䈝ѹ䀂㢢ǃᗵ享Ṭǃ䝽ԧ䀂㢢ǃ䉃ԧǃ䙫䗁亩ǃѫ ⴞǃѫⴞ䈝”, and “illocutionary act” as “ᯭѪᙗ䀰䈝㹼Ѫ(ԕ䀰㹼һ)ǃ䀰 ཆ㹼Ѫǃԕ䀰ᯭһ㹼Ѫ” (Zeng 2004: 63). Such confusing translations are also quite common, indicating the lack of consensus in term translation in the linguistic academic community. 3.7. Mistranslating the title of a book Mistranslation of titles of books is not an unfamiliar phenomenon in the present examination. The evidence is not difficult to find. For instance, Congressional Government (ǉഭՊ᭯փǊ) by W. Wilson is mistranslated as “ǉ䘹Ѯ᭯ᓌǊ” (Electoral Government), Taking Rights Seriously (ǉ䇔 ⵏሩᖵᵳǊ) by R. Dworkin as “ǉѕṬ㹼֯ᵳǊ” (Exercising Power Seriously), and The Idea of A Party System (ǉ᭯Ⲵࡦފ㿲ᘥǊ) as “ǉ᭯ފ ࡦᓖѻ㿱䀓Ǌ” (Opinions on Party System). Such mistranslations show that the translator is not familiar with field under translation. 3.8. Mistranslating the international phonetic symbols Some sinologists would use Romanised Chinese in their writings, and sometimes they would spell the Chinese by using international phonetic symbols. Failure to acknowledge this would lead to mistranslation, as in the case of “аսᇛᔧ⭫ᇦୀ⌠” (T’ang Tai is translated as “ୀ⌠”) where “T’ang Tai” is actually “the Tang Dynasty” (ୀԓ) (Wu 2004: 114). Lack of knowledge about this way of spelling on the part of the translator is understandable, but lack of academic responsibility is not acceptable. 3.9. Mistranslating quotations from classical works It is a rule within the translation community and the translation protocol requirements of a qualified press that a reference be made to the authoritative Chinese version when it comes to quotations from foreign classical works, and translators are not encouraged to render the quotations themselves, so as to avoid the mistranslation like “എࡠԆ䛓䟼ˈзॳᖂа” (To Him return ye, 180
A Study of Chinese Translation of Academic Works in English
one and all)” which should be “Ԝ㔏ᜏᖂҾԆ” or “Ԝ䜭ሶഎ䘄ࡠԆ䛓” (You all belong to him, or All of you should return to him) (Wei 2002: 199200). This type of mistake indicates that the translator fails to follow the rule or the protocol requirements of publishing houses. 3.10. Wrong footnoting Footnoting by translators is common in the translation of academic works. Careful consultation of authoritative references and double checking are a must for a qualified translator as a knowledge disseminator. Otherwise a translator may become a fallacy disseminator, as in the case where Herman Melville, American novelist in the twentieth century, is footnoted as “a French film director” (Yu 2006: http://isbrt.ruc.edu.cn/pol04/news/review /review/200612/2799.html). In times of the Internet, easy access to Internet encyclopaedic information usually misleads users if the latter fail to verify the correctness and exactness of the information and authoritativeness of the information source. References listed by a qualified press or a consultation with experts are more reliable. 3.11. Inappropriate domestication Domestication is difficult in Chinese translation of academic works in English, especially when the subject matter is very abstract. But there are cases where domestication is applied, but only in the wrong way. For example, “family-planning marketers” in America is translated as “ᇓՐ䇑ࡂ ⭏㛢ⲴӪ” (marketers who publicise the birth-control policy), suggesting that United States has introduced the birth control policy similar to that in China, which is not true (Xiang 2009: 103). The domestication in filmdubbing is common, but is not acceptable in academic translation. 3.12. Inconsistence in translating the same term in the same discourse Inconsistence in translating the same term in the same discourse is a salient problem. For example, “armchair critic” under the entry “armchair” is mistranslated as “н࠷ᇎ䱵Ⲵᢩ䇴㘵” (unrealistic critic) but as “オਓᢩ䇴 ᇦ” (critic with empty talk) under the entry “critic” (Li 200: 100-101). This is particularly so when more than one translator is engaged in translating a work.
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3.13. Translating by taking words literarily Translating by taking words literarily is a taboo is translation, but papers and articles under review have shown that this is a quite common phenomenon. For instance, “Press Trust of India” (ঠᓖᣕъᢈᯟ), the Indian news agency, is translated as “ঠᓖⵏ⨶䙊䇟⽮” (Indian Truth News Agency) (Chen 2001: 134), and “negative campaigning” (ᣩ唁ሩⲴᡆ᭫䇖ᙗ ㄎ䘹 ⍫ࣘ) as “⎸ᶱㄎ䘹” (inactive campaigning) (Zhou 2007: 60). 3.14. Europeanised Chinese expression Europeanised Chinese expressions are quite prevalent in Chinese versions of academic works and they are often the target of criticism. This kind of expression is more often found in philosophical, linguistic, psychological, anthropological and economic works. Such expressions give readers more hardship to the complexity and difficulty of the academic content. For example, “䘉а⛩оа㡜Ⲵสⶓᗂ㓿ᑨ䘍㛼ѫⲴ᰾⺞Ⲵ‘н㾱ਁ䃃’ⲴભԔ ᱟн਼Ⲵ”. (The regard for veracity was so high that, unlike the generality of Christian who persistently violate the plain commands of the Teacher not to swear, the best of samurai looked upon an oath as derogatory to their honour.) (Jiang 2008: 267). 3.15. Confusion of meaning Confusion of meaning is quite common, as reflected in most of the papers and articles under study. For instance, “Among historians, sociologists, and students of comparative politics, statist accounts of states’ transformations are by far the most popular” is translated as “൘শਢᆖᇦǃ ⽮Պᆖᇦ઼∄ 䖳᭯⋫ᆖⲴᆖ⭏ѝˈ⭘ѝཞ䳶ᵳѫѹᶕ䀓䟺ഭᇦⲴਈ䗱Ⲵⴻ⌅㔍нᱟᴰ ⍱ 㹼 Ⲵ ” (Among historians, sociologists, and students of comparative politics, the idea of explaining the transformations of states with centralism is by no means the most popular), but the correct version is “ࡠⴞѪ→ˈ൘ শਢᆖᇦǃ⽮Պᆖᇦ઼∄䖳᭯⋫ᆖᆖ㘵ѝˈ⭘ഭᇦѫѹᶕ䀓䟺ഭᇦਈ䗱 Ⲵ䇪䈤ᱟᴰ⍱㹼Ⲵ” (Zhang 2008: 139). Logical coherence is often broken and confusing as a result of the confusion, and this usually prevents readers from further reading of the same text or even similar texts.
A Study of Chinese Translation of Academic Works in English
3.16. Missing some parts in translation Loss of information resulting from the failure of a translator to translate what is supposed to be translated is disrespect for both the source text and the source text writer. Although this phenomenon is not very common, it is criticised in dozens of papers, indicating that it is a problem that should draw professional attention. For example, when translating the sentence “Literary students are now working with the documents of theological interpretation and controversy (one might call sermons literature in the narrower sense) (᮷ ᆖᆖ㘵⧠൘⹄ウ⾎ᆖ䀓䟺઼⾎ᆖҹ䇪ⲴẓṸ(ਟ〠Ѫ⤝ѹⲴᐳ䚃᮷ᆖ)”, the translator omitted “documents”, “theological” and “sermons” in the Chinese translation “(᮷ᆖ⹄ウ㘵㠤Ҿ䱀䘠ᖃⲴ⨶䇪㿲⛩о䇪ҹ(ӪԜ ਟ 㜭 Պ 〠 ѻ Ѫ ⤝ ѹ Ⲵ ᮷ ᆖ )” (Literary students are now working on interpreting the current theoretical ideas and controversy; one might call it literature in the narrower sense) (Xie 2009: 262). In a more attacked translation, such a loss is more serious. The source text states: Yet as long as totalitarian rule has not conquered the earth and with the iron band of terror make each single man a part of one mankind, terror in its double function as essence of government and principle not of action, but of motion, cannot be fully realized (❦㘼ˈਚ㾱ᶱᵳѫѹ㔏⋫䘈⋑ᴹᖱᴽ ޘц⭼ˈ䘈⋑ᴹ⭘ ᙆⲴ䫱ᑖᶕ ֯⇿ањঅњⲴӪᡀѪ㔏аӪ㊫ѻа䜘࠶ˈ䛓Ѹˈާᴹৼ䟽㜭Ⲵ ᙆ——ᰒ Ѫ᭯ᓌᵜ䍘ˈ৸Ѫ䘀ࣘ㘼н ᱟ㹼ࣘⲴࡉ——ቡн㜭ᆼޘᇎ⧠) (Tao 2009: 73).
In comparison, the Chinese translation shows that the loss of information is serious: ❦㘼ˈ ਚ㾱ᶱᵳѫѹ㔏⋫䘈⋑ᴹᖱᴽޘц⭼ˈ䘈⋑ᴹ⭘ ᙆᶕ֯⇿ањঅњⲴ ӪᡀѪ㔏аⲴӪ㊫ѻа䜘࠶ˈ䛓Ѹˈᰐ⌅ᆼޘᇎ⧠Ⲵнᱟ㹼ࣘˈ㘼ᱟ⍫ࣘ (Yet as long as totalitarian rule has not conquered the earth and with terror make each single man a part of one mankind, it is activity rather than action that cannot be fully realised) (Tao 2009: 73).
3.17. Confusing something with something else When translators abandon the basic responsibility of a translator, which is loyalty to the source text, they easily confuse something with something else. An extreme example here shows how the translator who has no knowledge of the Hong Kong movie industry takes the liberty when he mistranslates the names of the two movies that have their own original Chinese names. One is to mistranslate “The Soong Sisters” (ǉᆻᇦ⦻ᵍǊ) as “ǉᆻ∿ကǊ”
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(The Song Sisters) and “The Strom Riders” (ǉ仾Ӂ䳴䵨ཙлǊ) as “ǉ仾Ӂ ҹ䵨ཙлǊ” (The Storm Strivers) (Yin 2009: 216). 3.18. Mistranslation of names of organisations With more international organisations set up their subsidiaries or offices in China, many have their fixed Chinese translation of their organisation names. In addition, many organisations in Hong Kong have their own English translation of their organisation names, but the English names may not be equivalent in meaning to the Chinese ones. If a translator fails to have the knowledge, mistranslation follows, as in “Film Magic Ltd.” (ཙᶱ⭥ᖡࡦ ᴹ䲀ޜਨ) being mistranslated as “⭥ᖡ冄ᵟᴹ䲀ޜਨ” (cinematic magic Ltd), and “Centro Digital Pictures” (⏋ݸᮠ⸱ᖡ⭫ࡦᴹ䲀ޜਨ) as “ѝཞ ᮠᆇമޜۿਨ” (Central Digital Pictures) (Yin 2009: 217). 3.19. Leaving some part un-translated Some translators leave some parts of a sentence un-translated, e.g., “ࡊࡊޤ 䎧Ⲵ Menfond Electronic Art ޜਨսҾ俉Ⲵ俉ዋѝ䜘Ⲵᴹ࡙ս 㖞,䈕 ޜਨⲴⴞḷᱟ䙊䗷о⌅ഭ PMMP ޜਨਸࡦ⭥㿶㌫ࡇࣘ⭫⡷”, “ǉ 䜘䗱〫Ǌа⡷Ⲵ᭵һ઼ᖒ䊑ᶕ㠚Ҿ Jean Moebius Giraud Ⲵ㪇 ╛⭫”, “Golden Harvest ઼ Wharf ᴹ㓯⭥㿶਼ޡᣅ䍴Ⲵᵪᶴ᧘ࠪ儈ㄟᮠᆇ ᢰ ᵟ…” (Yin 2009: 217). Such practice is a violation of the responsibilities of a translator. 3.20. Adding information that is not in the source text Similar to loss of information previously discussed, which is one form of disloyalty to the source text, adding information that is not in the source text is another form of disloyalty, and it is found in some if not all translations. What should draw the professional attention is that this phenomenon should exist in translations of dictionaries. For example, “Such delays caused a jamup of vessels waiting for their turn at the docks” is rendered as “⭡Ҿ䍗⢙㻵 নн৺ᰦˈ䇨ཊ㡩ਚㅹڌ⵰ى䶐⸱ཤˈ䙐ᡀ≤кӔ䙊䱫ຎ” (Such delays caused a jam-up of vessels waiting for their turn at the docks because of the delay of loading and unloading of goods) (Xu & Yu 2003: 82). 4. Conclusions It can be concluded from the foregoing discussion that:
A Study of Chinese Translation of Academic Works in English
As an issue, the quality of Chinese translation of academic works in English never stopped drawing professional attention during the past three decades; only the attention was much more intense and dramatic during the last decade, which indicates the degree of seriousness of the mistranslation problems. Translation quality seems to have become worse rather than improved, despite the appeal made by leading Chinese translators and publishers in both 2002 and 2006. The quality issue involves almost all academic subjects and disciplines, though Chinese translations in humanities and social sciences are more problematic. The 20 types of translation errors are representative as they are summarised from most of the papers and articles under study. A completely new mechanism is in want to curb the expansion of mistranslation before any possible quality improvement despite availability of Quality Requirements for Translation Services (GB/T 19682-2005). 5 Professional academic associations like Translators Association of China and the special journals devoted to translation studies could have done more. The press could have played a more important role in stopping releasing unqualified translations into the market if all publication protocol requirements had been in place and strictly followed by the publishing community. Due to the restriction of the space of this paper, it is impossible to make any in-depth analysis of the causes of mistranslation. Even the discussion of the 20 types here is concise and far from complete. The present paper is a basic literature review, which attempts to present a basic picture. Further study is necessary to provide a detailed picture.
http://www.chinanews.com/cul/2011/07-18/3190817.shtml The cut-off time for data collection was the end of June, 2011. 3 http://dlib.edu.cnki.net/kns50/Navigator.aspx?ID=1 4 http://acad.cnki.net/Kns55/brief/result.aspx?dbPrefix=CJFQ 5 http://www.docin.com/p-96822697.html 2
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A Study of Chinese Translation of Academic Works in English
Ren, Rui. 2010. ‘On the Translation of Terminology in Intercultural Communication’ in China Terminology 12(3): 38-43. Si, Xian-zhu. 2004. ‘A Translation Quality Assessment Model—A Functional Linguistic Perspective’ in Foreign Language Education 25(4): 45-49. Si, Xian-zhu. 2005. ‘A Functional Linguistic Perspective of Translation Quality Assessment Model —with the Evaluation of English Version of Kong Yi-ji as Example’ in Journal of PLA University of Foreign Languages 28(5): 60-65. Tang, Ren. 2004. ‘The Linguistic Strategies of Translation Quality Assessment’ in Shandong Foreign Language Teaching Journal 2: 101-104. Tao, Dong-feng. 2009. ‘Errors in the Chinese Translation of Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism’ in Marxism & Reality 5:69-78. Teng, Ling. 1999. ‘On Quality of Translation of Academic Works’ in Young Thinker 6: 49-50. Wang, Jin-kai. 2005. ‘A Reflection on Quality Problems in Translation’ in Journal of Luoyang Teachers College 24(6): 135-154. Wang, Yan & Wang, Jin-bo. 2005. ‘A Preliminary Study of the Translation of Proper Names’ in Foreign Language Education 26(4): 81-83. Wei, Liang-tao. 2002. ‘Importance Should Be Urgently Attached to Quality Issues in Translation of Reputed Academic Works—Examples in the Chinese Translation of A Study of History, The One-Volume Edition, Illustrated’ in Jianghai Academic Journal. 3: 197-202. Williams, M. 2004. Translation Quality Assessment: An Argumentation-Centered Approach. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press. Wu, Hong-zhi. 2004. ‘Several Issues about Translation of Critical Argumentation Literature—A Discussion with Mr. Zhang Shu-xue’ in Journal of Social Science of Jiamusi University.22(1): 114-116. Xiang, Dong. 2009. ‘A Study of Problems in the Chinese Translation of MBA Textbooks’.in Fudan Forum on Foreign Languages and Literature 1: 141-147. Xie, Bao-hui & Cai, Fang. 2008. ‘On Mistranslation from Relevance Perspective’ in Foreign Languages and Their Teaching 5: 57-60. Xie, Guo-xian. 2009. ‘Some Mistranslations in the Chinese Version of The Study of Folklore’ in Folklore Studies 3: 246-263. Xie, Guo-xian. 2011. ‘Anthropologists Misunderstood in the Chinese Version of History and Theory in Anthropology’ in China Three Gorges Tribune 1: 71-74. Xing, Yu-hao. 2003. ‘Normalization Urgently Needed in Translation Market’ in Guangming Daily (9 June 2003). Xu, Xin & Yu, Hui-zhong. 2003. ‘Comments on the Translation of Definition and Examples in English-Chinese Dictionaries with Bilingual Explanations’ in Lexicographical Studies 1: 7785. Yang, Yu-sheng. ‘Normalization of Terms and Academic Translation’. On line at: http://www.acriticism.com/article.asp?Newsid=7685&type=1001 (consulted 19 February 2006). Ye, Shui-fu. 1989. ‘Further Developing Literary Translation by Choosing Good Works and Improving Quality’ in Chinese Translators Journal 10(1): 1-3. Yin, Fu-jun. 2009. ‘An Analysis of Translation Errors in the Chinese Version of Animation in Asia and the Pacific’ in Journal of Inner Mongolia Agricultural University (Social Science Edition) 11(6): 216-218. Yu, Xiong. ‘Problems in Jiang Zhi-hui’s Translation of Arendt’s The Life of Mind’. On line at: http://isbrt.ruc.edu.cn/pol04/news/review/review/200612/2799.html (consulted 3 December 2006). Zeng, Jian-ping & Yang, Li. 2004. ‘Standardization of Modern Linguistic Terms’ in Journal of Nanchang Institute of Aeronautical Technology (Social Science Edition) 6(3): 62-65.
Keyong He & Yuanyuan Chen
Zhang, Chi. 2008. ‘Critical Review of the Chinese Edition of Coercion, Capital and European States, AD 990-1992’ in Journal of China University of Political Science and Law 1: 138-145. Zhao Jia-jia 2010. ‘Assessment of Translation Quality from Perspective of Translator’s Ethics’ in Journal of Xinjiang University of Finance and Economics 2: 45-48. Zhou, Xue-yi. 2007. ‘Some Examples of Mistranslation in News Media’ in World Affairs 20: 6061.
Translation of Chinese Neologisms in the Cyber Age Richard Yu The University of Queensland (Australia)
Abstract The fast development of globalisation and the Internet together with the increasing opening up of China have produced a huge impact on the Chinese language and have given rise to a large number of new terms. Chinese neologisms are increasingly adopted by the English language. Many of them have now appeared in English media and English dictionaries. However, an appropriate translation of such fast emerging new terms remains a challenge to translators. This paper presents research on the translation of Chinese neologisms in media and politics by analysing a collection of English translations of Chinese neologisms from major English newspapers and identifying issues encountered in translation. Based on the findings of data analysis and relevant translation theories, the paper seeks to propose an effective approach in order to improve the translation of Chinese neologisms in the cyber age.
Keywords neologisms, Chinese translation, translation approaches
1. Introduction “Neologisms are perhaps the non-literary and the professional translator’s biggest problem. New objects and processes are continually created in technology. New ideas and variations on feelings come from the media. Terms from the social sciences, slang, and dialect coming into the mainstream of language, transferred words make up the rest” (Newmark, 1988: 140). Throughout history, a small number of Chinese words have found their way into English as the neologisms of the time. However, an increasing number of Chinese neologisms started to emerge after China adopted its opening up policy. With the development of information technology and the Internet, even more neologisms have been created and become popular among the general public. This is especially true in China, where the number of Internet users is increasing at an exponential rate. The translation of neologisms poses a challenge to translators. Things may be a bit easier for those translators who work between European languages, when compared to the translators whose source language is Chinese. It is often difficult to find equivalents for Chinese neologisms due to greater cultural differences and complicated contextual meanings. The application of different translation strategies can affect the reader’s
comprehension of the meaning of a neologism. Literal translation may result in loss of subtle meanings of Chinese neologism while meaning-based translation cannot retain the cultural flavour. The function of translation is not just the transfer of texts from one language to another; it also carries out the task of cultural communication. The difficulty in translating Chinese neologisms lies in how to effectively express their meanings as well as deliver the cultural information they contain. The translation of neologisms is a popular research topic. However, most researchers focus on the translation of particular neologisms and discuss the advantages or disadvantages of a few translation techniques. Little importance has been placed on the theoretical basis of the translation strategies used. This paper deals with the translation of Chinese neologisms from both historical and theoretical perspectives and discusses practical strategies which can be used in translating them. 2. Definition of neologism The English word “neologism” comes from French, which originates from ancient Greek – “neos” meaning ‘new’, and “logos” meaning “word”. Its definition in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is “a newly coined word or expression”. Newmark defines neologisms as “newly coined lexical units or existing lexical units that acquire a new sense” (Newmark 1998: 140). Crystal (1992: 264) views neologisms as “the creation of a new lexical item as a response to changed circumstances in the external world, which achieves some currency within a speech community”. In the development of the Chinese language, new words continuously emerge while old words become obsolete. In the meantime, new meanings of old words emerge and old meanings disappear. Hence, we should not only regard newly coined words as neologisms but old words with new meanings as well. According to Wang, “Neologisms are words that are either newly created or borrowed from other languages, dialects of mother languages, ancient languages or professions, or even refer to a newly generated word meaning or new usage of the original word” (1991: 11). However, not all newly-emerged words become a permanent part of the language. Just as Crystal says, “Hundreds of them come into the language every year. Not all of them stay for long, though. Some become very fashionable, and then they die away. People stop using them. Others stay for years, and may become a permanent part of the language.” An interesting example is the word “gelivable” created by Chinese netizens in 2010. It was from the then buzz word “geili” (㔉), literally 190
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meaning “giving power”. If we use an English word to translate “㔉”, the adjectives “awesome”, “cool”, “exciting”, and verb phrase “beef up” may not be bad choices. This word has become so popular that even the Chinese official newspaper People’s Daily used it in an editorial. It was also claimed that the word was to be included in the Oxford Dictionary. However, there is no evidence as yet that the dictionary is going to adopt it as a new entry. Liu raises a meaningful argument about the appearance, maintenance and disappearance of new terms in a language as follows: A word or expression may be regarded as new not only if it appears from nothingness into existence, but also if it receives the general approval by the users, extensive use and has already been set up in the language vocabulary. When this kind of word has already existed in the language for a fixed amount of time, let’s say for fifteen to twenty years, then the people use it with ease and the freshness has been abolished. It starts to leave the scope of a neologism as it transforms into a commonly used word (Liu 1990: 283).
. 3. Examples of Chinese terms entering the English language at different historical stages Anyone who is interested in traditional Chinese culture would be familiar with the frequent use of yin yang (䱤䱣), kung fu (ཛ), tai chi (ཚᶱᤣ), mah-jong (哫ሶ) and feng shui (仾≤) in English. It is interesting to note that, historically speaking, many words of Chinese origin found their way into English through the introduction of Chinese foods, especially popular Cantonese foods such as chop suey (ᵲ⺾), chow mein (⛂䶒), spring roll (᱕ধ) and dim sum (⛩ᗳ). It might be surprising to know that ketchup, a sauce closely associated with Western fast food, comes from the Chinese dialect Hokkienese for tomato juice (㤴≱). Even “pizza” is claimed to have originated from the Chinese word “pancake” – bingzi ( 侬 ᆀ ). The introduction of a few varieties of Chinese fruit such as lychee (㦄᷍) and longan (嗉) have also contributed to the English language. Of course, we cannot forget “tea” and “silk”, two of China’s greatest contributions to the Western world, apart from paper, gunpowder, the compass and printing. It is said that tea was first exported through the south China port of Xiamen, so the English word takes its sound from the word for tea in the dialect of Xiamen, where it is called “tei”. Words about Chinese customs and traditional Chinese medicine can also be found in English dictionaries, such as moon cake (ᴸ侬), Spring Festival ( ᱕ 㢲 ), Dragon Boat Festival ( ㄟ ॸ 㢲 ), Peking Opera ( Ӝ ) and acupuncture (䪸ࡪ⯇⌅).
In the late Qing Dynasty, as trade with the West increased, Chinese terms such as kowtow ( ⼅ཤ ), Taoism ( 䚃ᮉ ), pailou ( ⡼ᾬ ) and governmental terms such as yamen (㺉䰘) and taotai (䚃ਠ) were also introduced into English through direct contact and translation. The word kung-ho (“enthusiastic” or “overzealous”) was introduced to English during the Second World War. It was initially an abbreviation for small industrial cooperatives (ᐕਸ). Evans Carlson, a US Marine Corps Lieutenant who admired the work ethic of these organisations decided to use it as an unofficial motto for the Marines. A term of Chinese origin that is commonly known to English speaking people is “lose face”. Lin Yu-tang, a famous Chinese scholar, explains: Interesting as the Chinese physiological face is, the psychological face makes a still more fascinating study. It is not a face that can be washed or shaved, but a face that can be “granted” and “lost” and “fought for” and “presented as a gift”. Here we arrive at the most curious point of Chinese social psychology. Abstract and intangible, it is yet the most delicate standard by which Chinese social intercourse is regulated. (1935: 199-200).
Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, great changes have taken place in China and many new terms about China’s politics, economy, science and technologyhave emerged, many of which have been introduced into English. Many English phrases were coined to refer to Chinese ways of life and experiences during the 1950s-1970s in English publications in China. There were many political phrases, such as people’s commune, great leap forward, paper tiger, ideological remoulding, re-education, reform through physical labour, red guard, capitalist roader, barefoot doctor, Gang of Four and four modernisations. With the opening up of China, communication between China and other countries has increased and more new terms with Chinese characteristics have been created, such as one country- two systems, special economic zone, Project Hope, Western Development Strategy and taikonaut (Chinese astronaut). 4. A new age for Chinese neologisms The advent of the twenty-first century saw China enter into a period of rapid economic development. The success of China's economic policies and the manner of their implementation has resulted in immense changes in Chinese society. The growth of the financial and service sectors has given rise to a large number of new terms that were never known before. Many dictionaries of neologisms have been published since the turn of the new century, such as Xinhua Neologisms Dictionary (2002), A Chinese-English Dictionary of New 192
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Words and Expressions (2004), Chinese Neologisms Dictionary (2010) and A Dictionary of Chinese Neologisms (1912-2011). These dictionaries have become a historical record of neologisms in China. Increased availability and accessibility to the Internet have also sped up the creation of neologisms in China. According to the 33rd Statistical Report on Internet Development in China, China had 618 million Internet users by the end of December 2013. By June 2014, there were 632 million Internet users in the country and a penetration rate of 46.9%. The number of users using mobile devices to access the Internet overtook those using PCs. As Gleick says: Cyberspace is an engine driving change in the language… Like the printing press, the telegraph and the telephone before it, the Internet is transforming the language simply by transmitting information differently. And what makes cyberspace different from all previous information technologies is its intermixing of scales from the largest to the smallest without prejudice, broadcasting to the millions, narrowcasting to groups, instant messaging one to one” (New York Times, 5 November 2006).
Sina Weibo is the most popular social networking tool among Chinese netizens today, which boasts over 500 million registered accounts at the end of 2012 (Shei 2014: 115). Roughly since the late twentieth century, beginning in the 1990s, and especially after the Internet became popular in China in the early twenty-first century, a great number of Chinese neologisms have been created and old words have resurfaced with new meanings. Young people, who account for the majority of netizens, are at the forefront of creating new Chinese words on a daily basis. In the early 1990s, the State Language Commission (SLC) in China started an annual neologisms research project and then continuously compiled and published annual collections of Chinese neologisms. In 2005 the SLC’s Planning Office of Scientific Research resumed the work, which was later taken over by the School of Literature at Nankai University. The Chinese neologisms they collected from 31 newspapers and journals published in China include not only newly-coined words and phrases, but also newly-emerged meanings or usages of old words and phrases. This work provides a useful database for researchers on Chinese neologisms.
5. Translation theories for neologisms 5.1. Intercultural communication in translation Translation refers to the interaction between two languages, and also the communication between two cultures. “People tend to assume that a text in one language can be accurately translated into another as long as the translator uses a good bilingual dictionary. Unfortunately, language translation is difficult and subject to countless misinterpretations. All languages are culturally bound, and direct translation in many cases is difficult if not impossible because (1) a word often has more than one meaning, (2) many words are culturally loaded and have no direct equivalences, (3) cultural orientations can render a direct translation nonsensical, and (4) a culture may not have the background and understanding to translate experiences specific to other cultures (Chen 2012: 8). As House states: Translation is not only a linguistic act, it is also a cultural act, an act of communication across cultures. Translating always involves both language and culture simply because the two cannot really be separated. Language is culturally embedded; it both expresses and shapes cultural reality” (House 2009: 11).
According to Nida and Taber, cultural translation is “a translation in which the content of the message is changed to conform to the receptor culture in some way, and/or in which information is introduced which is not linguistically implicit in the original” (1969/1982: 199). There arefour basic factors which make possible the translation of a message from one language and culture to another, namely (1) The similarity of the mental processes of all people, (2) the similarity of somatic reactions (similar physical responses to emotional stimulus), (3) the range of common cultural experience, and (4) the capacity for adjustment to the behavioural patterns of others (Nida 1964: 53-55). Larson also says that all meaning is culturally conditioned and the response to a given text is also culturally conditioned. Therefore, each society will interpret a message according to its own culture. The receptor audience will decode the translation in terms of his own culture and experience, not in terms of the culture and experience of the author and audience of the original document. The translator then must help the receptor audience understand the content and intent of the source document by translating with both cultures in mind (Larson 1984: 436-7).
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When two cultures are similar, it is relatively easy to translate between the two languages, as translators are able to find equivalents for culturerelated terms. When the cultures are very different, it is often difficult to find equivalent lexical items. Thus, a translator who adopts a cultural approach understands that each language has elements derived from its culture; every text is anchored in a specific culture; conventions of text production and reception vary from culture to culture. It is more appropriate to consider translation as a process that occurs between cultures rather than simply between languages. Neologisms are created in a particular cultural context or social environment. They are certainly culturally loaded. Translation of Chinese neologisms into English involves a thorough understanding of the Chinese culture, social environment and the history of their creation. Often the translators who have been living in both cultures are the most competent to produce satisfactory translations. 5.2. Foreignisation or domestication in neologism translation One of the most famous quotations on the domestication or the foreignisation approach comes from Friedrich Schleiermacher’s On The Different Methods of Translating: Either the translator leaves the writer in peace as much as possible and moves the reader toward him; or he leaves the reader in peace as much as possible and moves the writer toward him (Munday 2004: 49).
Nida is regarded as the representative of the domestication approach in translation. His functional equivalence is based on the principle of equivalent effect, i.e., the relationship between a receiver and message should aim at being the same as that between the original receiver and the source language message. He states that “the readers of a translated text should be able to understand and appreciate it in essentially the same manner as the original reader did” (Nida 1995: 118). The most famous example is Nida’s very brief mention in Towards a Science of Translation of the rendering of “greet one another with a holy kiss” as “give one another a hearty handshake all around”, of which he says the latter “quite naturally translates” the former (1964: 160). However, Newmark thinks that Nida’s functional equivalence has done too much for the readers by rendering everything in a plain and easy to understand format. He states: following Nida’s (idea that) translating is communicating with its emphasis on a readable, understandable text (although Nida also insists on accuracy and fidelity), we inevitably notice a great loss of meaning in the dropping of so many Biblical
Richard Yu metaphors, which, Nida insists, the reader cannot understand (Newmark, 2001a: 51).
Venuti is a staunch advocate of foreignisation. In The Translator’s Invisibility, Venuti says, “a foreign text is the site of many different semantic possibilities that are fixed only provisionally in any one translation, on the basis of varying cultural assumptions and interpretive choices, in specific social situations, in different historical period” (1995: 17-18). In his view, “foreignising translation in English can be a form of resistance against ethnocentrism and racism, cultural narcissism and imperialism in the interests of democratic geopolitical relations” (Venuti 1995: 20). Venuti says that “a translated text should be the site at which a different culture emerges, where a reader gets a glimpse of a cultural other and resistancy. A translation strategy based on an aesthetic of discontinuity can best preserve that difference, that otherness, by reminding the reader of the gains and losses in the translation process and the unbridgeable gaps between cultures” (Venuti 1995: 306). In fact, both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. Translations that are done in the domestication approach are easy for the reader to understand and accept. Nevertheless, the fluency of the language is often achieved at the expense of cultural and stylistic messages in the source language. Foreignisation preserves the foreign elements of the source text and provides the reader information about the culture of the source language, but there is a certain limit to what the reader can cope with in terms of exotic information. Besides, the translated text may sound complex and unnatural to the reader. Research shows that both approaches are used in translating between Chinese and English. In recent years, the foreignisation approach seems to have the upper hand in China. Sun Zhili, an advocate of this approach in China, states that “the primary task of translation is to precisely and fully convey the thought and style of the source text”. He predicts that foreignisation will be the preferred strategy of literary translation in China in the twenty-first century (Sun 2002: 44). Jin (2003: 400) even suggests translating some Chinese idioms using the foreignisation strategy to preserve the “Chinese flavour”, such as: ৸㾱傜ˈྭݯ৸㾱傜ݯнਲ਼㥹 (You want the horse to run fast and you don’t let it graze.) Ԇᱟ⤇ԇӪ࣯ (He is like a dog counting on his master’s backing.) 䈳㱾ኡ (To lure the tiger away from the mountain.) ᣅ啐ᗼಘ (Don’t smash a jade vase to catch a mouse.)
Translation of Chinese Neologisms in the Cyber Age
Recent research in China on the translation of Chinese neologisms in the New York Times, Time and Newsweek shows that foreignisation is the preferred strategy used when translating Chinese neologisms. The main reason for the English media to adopt the foreignisation approach is to preserve the Chinese features of the newly emerging words as well as to attract the attention of the target readers. This also shows the editors’ respect for cultural diversity and reflects a trend in the development of English whereby the language, as a lingua franca, absorbs lexicons from other languages. 6. Strategies for the translation of Chinese neologisms In early translations, when Chinese terms were introduced to English, three methods were employed: transliteration, literal translation or a blend of the two. The following are a few examples: A. Transliteration: ⛂䶒 chow mien, ਠ仾 typhoon, 哫ሶ mah-jong, ཛ kung fu and 㡒ᶯ sampan. B. Literal translation: 䉶㞀 bean curdˈ᱕ধ spring rollˈㆧᆀ chopsticks and ⠶ㄩ fire-cracker. C. Transliteration plus literal translation: Beijing opera Ӝ, Longjing tea 嗉 Ӆ㥦 and Tang Dynasty ୀᵍ. The same methods are still used in the translation of newly emerging words: A. Transliteration: ޣ㌫ guanxi, བྷྸ dama and ൏䊚 tuhao. B. Literal translation: ઼䉀 ⽮Պ harmonious society, ኡመ᮷ॆ copycat culture, Ӫ㚹ᩌ㍒ cyber manhuntˈ▌㿴ࡉ hidden ruleˈ⛛ᇼ show off one’s wealth, and ഒ䍝 group purchase. C. Transliteration plus literal translation: ेӜ✔呝 Peking duck and ⎖ьᯠ ४ Pudong New Area As we can see, very few new words are translated by transliteration plus literal translation. Instead, translators adopt the following more popular method:
D. Literal translation combined with explanation: Newmark states that most cultural words in a particular language cannot be literally translated. However, where literal translation would distort the meaning, many cultural customs are described in ordinary language, and thus the translation “may include an appropriate descriptive-functional equivalent” (Newmark 1988: 95). According to Nida and Taber, a cultural translation is one in which additions are made which cannot be directly derived from the original sight translation (ST). These additions might take the form of ideas culturally foreign to the ST or elements which are simply included to provide necessary background information (Shuttleworth & Cowie 1997: 35). When literal translation alone cannot provide the full meaning of a new word, additions are necessary: 㥹ṩᐕъ- grassroot industry, businesses taking their roots in villages and townships 䫱依⻇- iron rice bowl, a stable lifetime job regardless of performance 䪹ᆀᡧ- nail household, a holdout (property) ᱕䘀- Spring Festival travel rush E. Meaning-based free translation ⚠㢢᭦ޕ- income from moonlighting ሿᓧ⽮Պ- a moderately prosperous society ᴸݹ᯿- wage splurger ᇼҼԓ- children born with silver chopsticks between their fingers When literal translation of Chinese neologisms such as these can only convey the surface meaning or may confuse target readers, meaning-based free translation is used in order to bring out the full meaning of these terms. F. Back translation Some neologisms originate from English or other languages; it is therefore the translator’s job to trace the origin and use the original terms. Such examples include: ✝㓯 hotline, ᤧ䍍 copy, สഐ gene, 䗷ࣣ↫ Karoshi (from Japanese “death from overwork”), бݻ᯿ DINK, ⍇䫡 money laundering and ㅜйӗъ tertiary industry. 198
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The translation of Chinese neologisms is really no easy task. As we know, Chinese characters can carry multiple meanings. Chinese neologisms are often created in a specific context and this makes it difficult for the translator to find an all-encompassing translation for them. For example, “઼䉀⽮Պ” can be translated as “a harmonious society”, however, according to official explanation, it includes six main characteristics: democracy and the rule of law; fairness and justice; integrity and fraternity; vitality; stability and order; and harmony between man and nature. In 2013, a new Chinese word was created and quickly became the word of the year, i.e., ൏䊚 (tuhao). According to an article entitled “Meet China’s Beverley Hillbillies” in the Foreign Policy and another article entitled “Yet Another Way to Mock China’s New Rich” in the New York Times, both published on the 15th October 2013, tuhao once meant rich landowner – the villainous landed gentry and class enemy of communist China’s proletariat. tu means dirt or uncouth; hao means splendour. But today people who are called tuhaos are the Beverly Hillbillies of China, the new class of wealthy businessmen and officials, and their relatives, who are thriving in what is still supposed to be a socialist nation marching toward an egalitarian utopia. The tu now draws on its colloquial use as a synonym for unrefined or vulgar, and hao picks up a new tone from the Chinese phrase fuhao (ᇼ䊚), which means rich and powerful. ” This clearly shows that there are many more implied meanings in the two Chinese characters (൏䊚). What can we do about neologism such as this? I believe transliteration with explanation may be a solution. It is a foreignisation approach. In order to help target readers understand and gradually accept new terms, the translator can add some information after the transliteration. The following table illustrates differences between domestication and foreignisation approaches in the translation of Chinese neologisms. Table 1. Differences between domestication and foreignisation approaches in the translation of Chinese neologisms Chinese Domestication Foreignisation with explanation neologism Beverley hillbillies, Tuhao, China’s uncultured new rich ൏䊚 rich rednecks silver spoon Fuerdai, children of China’s new rich ᇼҼԓ generation, children (nouveau rich)/children born with of old money silver chopsticks between their fingers people living from Yueguangzu, wage splurgers; people ᴸݹ᯿ 199
䉶㞀ᐕ 〻 䪹ᆀᡧ Ҽྦ ㇑ ኡመ
paycheck to paycheck parasite children; NEET (not in education, employment or training) Jelly built building projects a holdout (property) Lolita China’s urban parapolice Copycatˈ counterfeit product, knockoff
spending their entire monthly salary before the next pay day Kenlaozu, jobless children eating off their parents (sucking elderly parents’ blood) Doufuzha (Beancurd or Tofu) projects, a shoddy construction Dingzihu, so-called “nail” household, meaning a holdout property Ernai, second wife Chengguan, urban management law enforcement force Shanzhai, copycat or counterfeit
As we can see, under domestication we tend to find an equivalent or seemingly equivalent target term to translate a neologism. However, differences in culture, political systems and social context may prevent us from locating the exact target term. Whilst taking the domestication approach, we should also check whether the so-called “equivalent” we are going to use actually conveys the idea in the target language. When discussing the translation of “˄䇸僇㹼Ѫ˅ᣅ䇹 ✝ 㓯 (fraud hotline)”, an on-line dictionary (Ciba) in China proposed a translation –“dial-a-cheat-confidential hotline” and many people agreed with this translation. However, the Oxford Dictionary’s definition for “dial-a-” is “denoting a service available for booking by telephone”. The “dial-asomething” format is used by native speakers in advertisements, meaning “call for (goods and services)”, such as “dial-a-dog wash, dial-a-doctor, or dial-a-pizza”. So “dial-a-cheat” could mean “call for a cheat”. If translators have not lived in an English speaking country or only have limited exposure to the language environment in an English speaking country, they may have to rely on Chinese-English dictionaries in their work. Dictionaries, however, cannot keep up with the fast development of languages and society. The Internet provides a channel which they can look to for suitable “equivalents”, but they need to research thoroughly before a decision can be made. Many neologisms are heavily culture-laden. If “Beverley hillbillies” is the equivalent term for “tuhao”, then all English speakers would know it, and it is therefore unnecessary for the New York Times and Foreign Policy to use 200
Translation of Chinese Neologisms in the Cyber Age
two paragraphs to explain what tuhao really is. This indicates that “Beverley hillbillies” cannot be regarded as a perfect equivalent to “tuhao”. “Chengguan” refers to a group of Chinese urban law enforcers whose duty it is to keep the street clean of illegal vendors. There are simply no such positions in other countries. The foreignisation approach of transliteration with explanation can avoid the problem of “false equivalent” in the domestication approach. Benefits of this approach can be clearly seen from the following examples from English language newspapers and journals. …he mockingly calls himself, in evocative modern street slang, a diaosi, the term for a loser …Figuratively it is a declaration of powerlessness in an economy where it is getting harder for the regular guy to succeed (The Economist: 19 April 2014). In China, knockoff or pirated goods are called shanzhai (ኡመ), a term that was originally applied to fake cell phones. Nicholas Schmidle explored the athleticshoe shanzhai phenomenon … (New York Times: 23 February 2012).
The target readers have no difficulty in understanding the new terms introduced in this way. If these terms are repeated in different articles or news reports, they can be readily accepted. With the acceleration of globalisation and increasing cultural exchange between China and other countries, China is not only exporting its manufactured products, it is also attracting more people from outside to explore its culture and society. Translation with a foreignisation approach serves the purpose of introducing new Chinese terms, concepts and ideas to the outside world. Just as English has adopted from French such words as cliché, coup d’état, rendezvous, déjà vu and cul de sac, it can also absorb words from Chinese, not just the names of food, but words like “guanxi”, “shanzhai” and “tuhao”. It all depends on how useful these Chinese words are for English speaking people. If a novel idea or concept is useful, either in daily life, business, trade or academic research, it will be readily accepted. 7. Conclusion The rapid development of the cyber age has given rise to an increasing number of neologisms in Chinese. “The new words carry new information about a rapidly changing society, and require vivid, yet succinct translation into the target language” (Pellatt & Liu 2010: 117). This has become a frequent topic among Chinese to English (C-E) translators.
Chinese is widely considered one of the hardest languages to translate, presenting significant challenges for the translator and requiring extensive experience in order to ensure the accuracy of the translation. Despite the efforts of many translators, the quality of C-E translation is still far from satisfactory. The translation of Chinese neologisms is meaningful, but difficult. We have to take into account various factors that may be embodied in a neologism such as cultural, social, linguistic and historical elements. According to the analysis of various cases in this paper, the foreignisation approach seems appropriate to convey unique cultural content of a Chinese neologism. In the meantime, given that Western readers do not have much knowledge of Chinese culture, in order to maximise the communicative effect, the domestication approach could also be used as a necessary means of support. Unless a translator is truly conversant in the source and target languages, he/she cannot assume that his/her translation of a neologism is correct or perfect. It is advisable to study the translation of Chinese neologisms in major English newspapers and journals and discuss possible English translations with translators and linguists who are native English speakers. It is also a good idea for native Chinese speaking translators to work in partnership with native English speaking translators so as to achieve the best possible communicative effect in the translation of Chinese neologisms. References Bischoff, Paul. 2014. China’s mobile internet users now outnumber its PC internet users. Conulsted on line 4th December 2014: https://www.techinasia.com/chinas-mobileinternet-users-outnumber-pc-internet-users/ Cannon, Garland. 1988. ‘Chinese Borrowings in English’ in American Speech 63(1): 3-33. Chen, J. (2012). Translation and Intercultural Communication. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press Chen, Yuan. 1998. 䱸䈝䀰ᆖ䇪㪇(Chen Yuan’s Works on Linguistics). Shenyang: Liaoning Education Press. Crystal, David. 1992. An Encyclocpedic Dictionary of Language and Languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press House, Juliane. 2009. Translation. Oxford: Oxford University Press Jin, H. 2003. Cross-Culture Communicative Translation. Beijing: China Translation & Publishing Corporation. Larson, Mildred. L. 1984. Meaning-Based Translation: A Guide to Cross-Language Equivalence. Lanham and New York: University Press of America, Inc. Lin, Yutang. 1943. My Country and My People. New York: The John Day Company. Liu, Shuxin. 1990. Chinese Descriptive Lexicology. Beijing: Commercial Press. Newmark, Peter. 1988. A Textbook of Translation. London: Prentice Hall. Nida, Eugene Albert. & Charles Russell Taber. 1969. The Theory and Practice of Translation. Leiden: E.J. Brill
Translation of Chinese Neologisms in the Cyber Age Pellatt, Valerie. & Tin-kun Liu. 2010. Thinking Chinese Translation. London and New York: Routledge. Shei, Chris. 2014. Understanding the Chinese Language: A Comprehensive Linguistic Introduction. London: Routledge. Shuttleworth, Mark & Moira Cowie. 1997. Dictionary of Translation Studies. Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing. Sun, Zhili. 2002. ‘Literature Translation in China: from Domestication to Foreignisation’ in ѝഭ 㘫䈁ᵲᘇ (China Translation) 1: 40-44 Venuti, Lawrence. 1995. The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation. London: Routledge Wang, Tiekun. 1991. 10 ᒤᶕⲴ≹䈝ᯠ䇽䈝Ⲵ⹄ウ˄10 year’s Study of Chinese Neologisms˅. 䈝᮷ᔪ䇮ᵲᘇ (Chinese Language Advancement).4.
A Study on the Translation Strategies in Korean-English Children’s Literature: From the Domesticated and Foreignised Perspective Kwon Inkyoung Pusan National University (Korea) Abstract The purpose of this study is to examine the Korean-English translation strategies through the aspects of ‘domestication’ and ‘foreignisation’ in children’s literature. In the age of globalisation, more Korean children's literature is exported and attracting in international book fairs and markets, but there are some cultural and linguistic difficulties in translating. In order to overcome those difficulties, this study tried to address translation used in each perspective and find some examples by analysing translated children’s books. Based on Newmark and Oh's translation strategies, this paper presents overall strategies. Domestication methods in this paper include adaptation, liberal translation, idiomatic translation, communicative translation (using hyperonym, hyponym), using culture alternatives (words which have similar meanings), eliminating and generalisation. Meanwhile, foreignisation methods include literal translation and borrowing words. By and large, domestication methods appeared much more than foreignisation in this study. However, the aforementioned strategies in domestication were focused on only word level and were not described in syntactic level. Moreover, those strategies could not cover all aspects in text level and some unexplained aspects were found while analysing children’s literature. Therefore, this study seeks to find new translation techniques in domestication. Considering sentence level, this paper suggests three strategies including adding sentences, separating sentences, and changing the order of words. We still have some difficulties in translating Korean children’s literatures and spreading them to the world. It is to be hoped that this study will be helpful for translators to find norms in translating Korean children’s literature.
Keywords domestication, foreignisation, translation strategies, Korean-English children’s literature
1. Introduction Recently, children’s literature has grown and now takes up a large slice of the publishing market in Korea. In 2010, children’s books have been published most among all the translated books. A lot of Korean publishers try to introduce foreign classics, fables and fairy tales. How about the English versions from Korean Children’s Literature? On one hand, there were over 10,000 imported books (Korean versions) in Korea, but there were only 1,000 exports (English versions)1; there were drastic imbalances between imports and exports overall. To overcome this, more should be done to globally introduce and promote Korean children’s literature.
Exporting Korean children’s books is the medium that introduce Korean culture and history to the foreign children reading them. Furthermore, it is also important material that makes them understand Korea and Koreans and then go beyond the bounds of limitation in minority literature. For this, translation into English is needed because now English has become a lingua franca in many parts of the world. With the support from the Korea Literature Translation Institute (KLTI) and other foundations, lately there are some moves to publish translated books into English. Despite the rise of the translated books as commercial publication, few have attempted to address academic discipline. Therefore, relatively little academic research on translations has been done yet. But one study has covered ‘domestication and foreignisation strategies’ on translated children's books. When it comes to the importance of cultural differences and the impact on translations, the issue is one of the most referred to translation studies in Korea. For example, Oh (2007) has researched the domesticated and foreignised approach to analyse the KoreanEnglish text, Cat School. She said that there were some difficulties due to the lack of data finding references from the English translated books. Conversely, a lot of research has been done with Korean translated versions from foreign texts. Woo (2010) has analysed the cases of domestication and foreignisation on No Country for Old Men. Sun (2009) also has done a case study on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and researched the specific idioms related to cultural differences between the Korean and English versions. Those studies dealt with Korean versions, not English ones. As mentioned before, most of the studies in Korea have limited in variety of the translated books in English. This study will analyse how Korean children’s literature is introduced in other countries and explore which strategies were used based on Domestication and Foreignisation perspectives. Specific questions will be considered and discussed as follows:  How many existing aspects of domestication and foreignisation are shown when translating Korean children’s literature into English?  Are there any additional strategies apart from the existing strategies when translating Korean children’s literature into English?
A Study on the Translation Strategies in Korean-English Children’s Literature
2. Theoretical background 2.1. Translation for children’s literature and Skopos theory Translation for children’s literature is well-consistent with the Skopos theory when it comes to focusing on the particular readers as children who are premature in their emotional and cognitive development. Before defining the characteristics of Skopos theory, I will address the features of translation for children’s books. What is children’s literature? Children’s books are a genre which targets the child. In psychology, a child is normally defined as someone six to twelve years old; in children’s literature, a child is someone three to fourteen years old. In considering this, this paper will limit a child to the range of four to eight years old. Children’s literature has not only linguistic simplicity but also an engaging plot. Moreover, by using simple and limited vocabulary and syntax, the expressions of children’s books are very familiar to children, it helps readers to understand well and gives them an entertainment. Metcalf (2003) mentioned that it tends to render abstract or analytical thought in concrete images and to spell out concretely instead of inferring notions helps a reader unaccustomed to the culture (p. 323). It also has an educational purpose on which is to socialise children into the thought style, patterns and rules of a specific culture. 2.1.1. Translation for children’s literature Among these characteristics, the educational effect is mainly covered in the translation of children’s literatures. Lathey (2006) stated that children’s literature is used for teaching children letters and it is a kind of educational and ethical guideline for them, so it is an important means for children who have never learned how to read and write. 2.1.2. Skopos theory In the beginning of the 1980s, translation scholars began to discuss the importance of ‘Skopos theory’. From German, Hans Vermeer initially focused on the purpose of translation and then he began to receive attention from academia with the theory which considers translation as an act from Source Text (ST). When we think that the starting point for translation is ST and the arrival point is Target Text (TT), eventually the directing point is the target reader of TT. Vermeer thought that whole types of translation are targeting specific readers and the act of translation is to produce a proper text 207
to readers in the Target Language (TL) (Nord 1997). Generally, the main purpose in Skopos theory is for a communicative purpose. However, the target of communication could be changed by readership. According to the purpose, the translators normally follow the principle on translation for the TT whether they are conscious of it or not. This principle is not all the same but different or variable in different situations. Jeremy Munday (2001) has acknowledged that Skopos theory has this possibility, that translation can be changeable depending on the purpose of the TT and the commission of the translator, even if it is the same text. This is the main point in Skopos theory and Skopos theory should be considered when it comes to translation for children's books. Even though the writer of children’s books considers the purpose, sometimes the translator overlooks it. Therefore, when we translate for children, Skopos theory should be considered to provide children entertainment and form good reading habits. 2.2. Domesticated / foreignised translation A choice made by a translator is affected by not only his or her personal perspective over equivalence between ST and TT, but also society, culture, time period and the background which a translator belongs to. As the domesticating and foreignising translation strategies are also influenced by those elements of translators, the strategies are used the most in translated children’s books. Many translators tend to find a solution to their problems with these two approaches. Both terms were initially devised by the American translator and theorist Lawrence Venuti (1995). According to him, domestication refers to ethnocentric violence of translation and transparent translation, an ‘invisible’ style familiar with TT. While the foreignisation is ethnodeviant translation and the translator is visible by protecting the identity of ST. He has used Berman's concepts to introduce the ‘foreignising’ strategy that is ignored in translation. Invisible, fluent transparent style is for minimising the foreignness of the TT. On the other hand, visible translation is highly desirable for him. He also referred back to Schleiermacher. The early nineteenth century German translator Friedrich Schleiermacher used a romantic approach based on an individual’s inner feeling. He moved beyond the issues of literal translation, and free translation. He described the two paths as follows: “Either the translator leaves the author in peace, as much as possible, and moves the reader toward that author, or the translator leaves the reader in peace, as much as possible, and moves the author toward that reader” (1963: 63). The former is called “alienating” and the later is called “naturalising”. Although Schleiermacher and Venuti prefer the foreignising option, translators cannot have only foreignised approach in translation. If only one approach is used, none of both can be tangible. Foreign text could 208
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vary with the domestic culture so foreignised translation is partially realised in the reading of the foreign text. A similar kind of approach is found in the works of English scholar Peter Newmark (1988). He distinguished between “communicative” and “semantic” translation. Domestication and foreignisation are related to these respectively. First, choosing the domestication method when translating is affected by how focus on readability for the TT. Second, choosing the foreignisation method is affected by how much royal to the ST. That is, translator’s decision whether they translate emphasising on TT or ST. Newmark (1988) introduced four methods in SL emphasis and TL emphasis respectively. In sum, eight methods were suggested with flattened V diagram including semantic translation and communicative translation (Newmark 1988: 45). He commented that only semantic and communicative translation accomplished the accuracy and economy on translation. Semantic translation is a kind of method which properly converted realises semantic equivalence when it is difficult to realise linguistic structure, literary style and the onomatopoeia of ST into TT. Communicative translation, on the other hand, is a method to make readers understand easily dealing with the matter of the original and cultural or linguistic parts. The communication translation related to the domestication method tries to give the similar effect to the original to readers. This concept is also like the dynamic equivalence which came from Nida’s theory. He defined that equivalence effect means that “the readers of a translated text should be able to comprehend it to the point that they can conceive how the original readers of the text must have understood and appreciated it” (Nida 1995:. 118). Instead, semantic translation is related to formal equivalence focused on the message itself, in both form and content. In this respect, this is similar to the concept of foreignisation translation. 2.2.1. Debate on domestication and foreignisation As mentioned before, the discussion of domestication and foreignisation translation can be started from this question, ‘Do translators have to focus on ST-oriented or TT-oriented?’ That is, ‘Do they have to translate with a wordfor-word method focusing on the original or with a sense-for-sense method considering the beauty of manner of the target language?’ These questions are mainly about whether to emphasise on ST or TT because the method is decided considering the purpose and function of translation? To give readers a highly readable and natural text, translators normally use the domestication method. Besides, to offer opportunities for understanding other cultures and considering an affinity with authors, they prefer to choose the foreignisation method. 209
These purposes of translation methods can show different opinions of scholars depending on their own necessity. A Finnish scholar Oittinen (2003) posited that the act of translation is made for target readers and in case of children’s literature, it’s for children, so the adaptation or domestication method is needed. Following Nida (1995) whom is regarded as the representative of those who favour domesticating translation, he emphasised a readable text for the target readers. Venuti (1995) believes that domestication translation involves an ethnocentric reduction of the foreign text to Anglo-American target language cultural values so he thinks that it minimises or disregards the foreignness of the TT. He preferred foreignisation which is the resistant translation (ethnodeviant translation against ethnocentric). He argues that if the unfamiliar expressions of ST are used on purpose, it will have an effect on TT readers by giving ‘Alient Reading Experience’. (Venuti 1995: 20) French translator Berman (1984) also argued that the most ethical translation is taking foreignness as it is. Hagfors agreed with foreignisation translation because it makes the foreign exotic to TT readers and also function as a stimulus giving them curiosity about otherness of alien culture. Furthermore Inggs (2003) emphasised that foreignisation is the great path to broaden the target readers’ experience and knowledge about other culture. Newmark posited that the intervention of translator should be minimised and he supported foreignised translation. Even though there are various opinions regarding domestication, foreignisation, the decision whether it is domestication or foreignisation is made in the translation itself. That is, whether a translation is used in domestication or foreignisation is changeable depending on time and place. However, how close TT to source language and culture, how different between ST and TT and it was showed, the fact remains that the decision is made according to these. In addition, it could be divided into domestication or foreignisation in accordance with particular cultural context or situation. It is relative concept so one part of text should be domesticated then the other part can be foreignised in order to be visualised. Therefore, just like the ‘Overt’ and ‘Covert’ concepts of House, these are not in binary opposition but in a complementary relationship that is compatible. 2.3. Studies at home In Korea, there is much research conducted in domestication and foreignisation. Sun (2009) demonstrates that foreignness is manifested in proper nouns or words related to specific culture by studying examples from Alice in Wonderland. In addition, Lee (2010) conducted a case study on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and studied domestication and foreignisation
A Study on the Translation Strategies in Korean-English Children’s Literature
methods, focusing on word level. Mostly these studies dealt with translated books from English to Korean. On the other hand, Oh (2007) approached Korean-English text and organised those strategies over domestication and foreignisation in Cat School which is Korean imaginative children's literature. She emphasised cultural references from the text by using three categories such as character name, pronouns in traditional tales and social customs. In the first category, character name, it is hard to establish standards on domestication and foreignisation, but she showed some examples according to the nature of each culture. In the second category, foreignisation is the preferred strategy in proper nouns of traditional fables. The translator tends to intervene in low recognition of foreign readers in Korean culture. The last category, in terms of social customs, she suggested specific methods in domestication and foreignisation showing some cases of cultural elements. These methods will be referred in this study. 2.4. Studies abroad Finnish translation scholar Oittinen (1993) emphasises royalty to the target readers rather than royalty to the original. When it comes to translation of children's literature, she favours the domestication method to translate especially with regards to children target readers,. However, in 2000, she found out something new by studying the periodic difference between three versions of Alice in Wonderland. In two texts translated in 1906 and 1972, domestication tends to be explicit by deleting new terms, but the text in 1995, foreignisation showed in order to give readers otherness of an alien culture. Consequently, she concluded that domestication tends to change into foreignisation with the course of time. Pascua (2003) also posited there is tendency for foreignisation to make readers corporate diverse cultures when translating names or pronouns. While the Chinese scholar Tian (2010) explained the linguistic meaning and background on domestication accepting translation as the target culture, he then concluded that domestication is relatively practical and valuable strategy compared to foreignisation. On the contrary to this tendency, choosing the position between both strategies, there are scholars who want to keep a balance between domestication and foreignisation. Slovenian Mazi-Leskovar (2003) tries to secure the balance between the opposing sides, but in somewhat foreignised text, it shows that SL culture is already accustomed to TL readers. Darja (2003) researched the tendency between domestication and foreignisation by translating Uncle Tom’s Cabin for Slovenian children. She argued that there was an attempt to keep a balance to use both translation methods then
concluded that foreignised elements are required for successful domesticated text. Even though there is much research on domestication and foreignisation like the aforementioned studies, they did not propose both strategies respectively in detail and limited on aspects. In domestic research, they normally analysed examples on English-Korean versions and the other way around is likely to be insignificant. Therefore, this study will focus on the Korean-English versions of children’s literature and analyse the specific strategies on domestication and foreignisation in not only at the word level but also at the phrase and sentence level. 3. Material and method The purpose of this study is researching translation strategies on domesticated and foreignised perspectives in selected translated children’s books. Those books are translated from Korean to English and selling in foreign countries such as America and Australia. Four books were chosen from 50 recommended books at the Korean Literature Translation Institute. Table 1. Texts for analysing Source Text
㎎㌗㠦㍲ 㩲㧒 䧮㎒ 㑮䌟 㧊䢎⺇ (1997)
The Strongest Rooster in the World2 KimYoung-sook (2010)
䢎⧧㧊㢖 ὌṦ 㥚₆㻶 (2004)
The Tiger and the Persimmon Lee Yun Hee (2008)
㕂㕂䟊㍲ ⁎⨂㠊 㥺ῂ⼧ (1997)
Because I Was Bored Lee Yun Hee (2008)
⋮㊲ 㠊Ⰶ㧊䚲 䢿㍶⹎ (1999)
The Bad Kid Stickers Woongjin Think Big (2007)
For a more objective analysis, a pilot study was conducted with three graduate students and four doctoral students. In total, seven students from a translation studies major analysed four translated books from March to September in 2011. As a first step, the students were provided some strategies based on Newmark’s strategies from source text oriented and target text oriented for their references. Newmark was affected by Nida’s equivalence theory and he proposed communicative translation and semantic translation. These can approach domestication and foreignisation respectively. Newmark suggested eight methods divided into ST emphasis and TT emphasis (see Table 2). Each has four specific translation methods. In ST 212
A Study on the Translation Strategies in Korean-English Children’s Literature
emphasis, foreignisation, there is word-for-word translation, literal translation, faithful translation and semantic translation. In TT emphasis, domestication, there are adaptation, free translation, idiomatic translation and communicative translation (1988: 45). Table 2. Newmark’s diagram TL emphasis (Domestication)
SL emphasis (Foreignisation)
2. Free translation
3. Idiomatic translation
Newmark defined the nature that each language group is related to culture, it is called ‘Cultural Word’. Adaptation is rewriting the text transferring ST into TT culture without any limit (Newmark 1988: 46). Liberal translation is reproducing different materials and contents from source language and it is likely to be paraphrased. This is the way that a translator writes in simple language in their translation by considering the readability of the target text so it might become unnecessarily long. Idiomatic translation is using familiar expression for the target readers who have the same cultural background. In communicative translation, Newmark (1988) mentioned it is the way to translate the exact meaning of context in ST in order to make the readers understand. In domestic research, Oh (2007) analysed Cat School and suggested the following details in each translation method that referred to Nida’s equivalence above word level. Table 3. Mihyung Oh’s Domestication
1. Cultural adaptation
1. Borrowing words
2. Using Hypernym
3. Omission/addition 4. Replacing the similar meaning 5. Using generalised word
After considering Table 2 and 3, the following Table presents overall strategies in domestication and foreignisation which apply to this study. Table 4. Comprehensive domestication and foreignisation Domestication
2. Borrowing words or phrases
3. Idiomatic translation 4. Communicative (using hypernyms) 5. Using cultural alternatives 6. Generalisation
The definition for each strategy can be explained in the next Section in detail. 4. Results In the aforementioned strategies of domestication and foreignisation, the comprehensive tool putting the various methods together was used to analyse examples from four texts. The tendency is toward domestication and foreignisation, which appeared from not only word level but also sentence level. Therefore, the used unit of analysis is the numbers of sentences. 4.1. Domestication 4.1.1. Adaptation Adaptation is the act of changing something or changing your behaviour to make it suitable for a new purpose or situation. Most living creatures are capable of adaptation when compelled to do so. In this paper, adaptation is limited in literary style and expressions in grammatical aspects. Now there will be two examples of adaptations. (1) a. 㧊 㑮䘟㞚Ⰲ⓪ ⽊₆Ⱒ䋒㧊⋮ 㝿㝿䟞㠊. ╂Ⰲ₆☚, ⏨㧊⥆₆☚ 㧊 ⼧㞚 Ⰲ⯒ ➆⯒ ⼧㞚ⰂṖ 㠜㠞┾┺ (㧊䢎⺇ 1997: 3). b.
A Study on the Translation Strategies in Korean-English Children’s Literature
He was healthy and full of life. None of the other chicks could beat him at running and jumping [omitted] (ₖ㡗㑯 㡃 2010: 3). From the example (1), ST is saying to the children in spoken language. If you see the end of the sentence, there is ‘–┾┺’ which are ending words in the Korean language. In this sentence, it was used for showing intimacy or storytelling style. However, in TT, it was simply translated like a declarative sentence so we cannot see whether any of writing style was used or not. Besides writing styles, we could find out an adapted example in grammatical aspects. (2) a. ☢㧊⓪ 㡒㏢ ἶ㋦☚ 䛖㠊㭒ἶ, 䏶⋒㧻☚ 㡊㠊 㭣┞┺. ╃㧻☚ 㡊ἶ ♒㰖 㤆Ⰲ⧧ 㣎㟧Ṛ ⶎ☚ ➆ 㭣┞┺. (㥺ῂ⼧ 1997: 5) b. Dol-ri unties the goat and he opens the rabbit hatch. [He] opens the henhouse and the pigpen and even unlocks the barn door (㧊㥺䧂 㡃 2008: 5). From the first sentence of ST, ‘㡊㠊 㭣┞┺’ comes from Korean ‘㭒┺(give)’. This is not the original verb meaning but used as the prolative case. When this ‘㭒┺Ĝ is used after the verb, the act is done for other people. The meaning is combined ‘open’ and ‘give’, however, this is not using in target language so the TT is translated with only ‘open’. Therefore, if the specific circumstance from original culture does not existed in the target culture, adaptation methods should hence be applied. 4.1.2. Liberal translation Liberal translation is reproducing different materials and contents from source language and it is likely to be paraphrased. This is the way that the translator writes in simple language in their translation by considering the readability of the target text so it might become unnecessarily long. But this study will focus on personification and free translation: (3) a. 㠊ⓦ 䢪㺓䞲 ⽚⋶, ⼧㞚Ⰲ 䞲 ⰞⰂṖ 䌲㠊⌂㠊. 㞚㭒 䔒䔒䟊 ⽊㧊⓪ 㑮䘟㞚Ⰲ㡖㰖. (㧊䢎⺇ 1997: 3) b. One fine spring day, a chick was born.
The chick was a boy (ₖ㡗㑯 㡃 2010: 3). This sentence exerted from the begging of the story and the main character; ‘㑮䘟㞚Ⰲ’ is not translated into ‘a male chick’ but ‘a boy’ as is personified. The next case is paraphrasing. (4) a. 䢎⧧㧊⓪ 㟮₆⯒ ▪ 㡕✺㦒⩂ ‖⯒ 㴧 ㎎㤶㠊㣪. ę䢎⧧㧊Ṗ 㠦㍲ 㡕✹ἶ 㧞㠊. ⣳!“ ę㦒㞚㞯, 㧟㧟!”” (㥚₆㻶 2004: 9) b. The tiger pricked up his ears, curious to hear more. “Hush!” said the mother. “The tiger’s out there listening”. “Waaah, Waaah!” cried the baby (㧊㥺䧂 㡃 2008: 9). From the example (4) a, the first and the second sentences have the same word as ‘㡕✹┺(eavesdrop)’, but in TT, it used two different words, ‘hear’ and 'listen'. We can infer that the translator has changed the similar expression but different for paraphrasing. (5) a. ☢㧊Ṗ 㤎ⲏ㧊Ⳋ㍲ ╂⩺㢋┞┺. “㧊 ⎖㍳, 㺚㏢⺃㧊 㠟ⰳ㧊 ♮㠞ῂ⋮”. 㠚ⰞṖ 㟒┾㦚 㼺㔋┞┺ (㥺ῂ⼧ 1997: 24). b. Dol-ri comes running to his mom in tears. “Bad boy, I see the vegetable patch is a mess.” Mom scolds Dol-ri. (㧊㥺䧂 2008: 25) From the ST (5) a, the expression of ‘㧊 ⎖㍳’ means simply ‘this boy’ but it is translated into ‘Bad boy’ in TT. The translator supplemented ‘Bad’ which was not in ST. 4.1.3. Idiomatic translation Using idiomatic phrase is familiar expression for the readers who have the same cultural background. Sometimes it is used for effective communication. But for foreign readers, it is not easy to understand the meaning of idioms so
A Study on the Translation Strategies in Korean-English Children’s Literature
an ability of the translator is required to use them to properly match the situation and context. In this study, the expressions are limited in the scope of the phrase which has the similar meanings. Generally, idioms had low frequency because the four texts are targeted to four to eight year old children. (6) a. ⁎⩂┺Ṗ ṧ㧦₆ ⡧⪲ ㍲㍲ キ㧦⬾⯒ ⏨㧊 ✺ἶ 㣎䂮⓪ Ệ 㧞㬶. (䢿㍶⹎ 1999: 9) b. All of a sudden, he snapped to attention, hoisted his broom high in the air, and cried out (㤛㰚㞓䋂゛ 2007: 9). In ST, underlined ‘⡧⪲ ㍲㍲’ means ‘stand straight’ but it was translated into ‘snapped to attention’ which is an idiom. (7) a. “㞚㧊ἶ, ㌊㞮┺. 㧊㩲㟒 ὌṦ㧊 ⟾㠊㪢ῂ⋮!” 䢎⧧㧊⓪ 䠦⟷ỆⰂⳆ Ỏ㦢㦚 Ⲟ䀚㠊㣪. (㥚₆㻶 2004: 22) b. “Aigu! I'm still alive!” said the tiger. “At last, the Persimmon is off my back!” Huffing and puffing, he came to a stop (㧊㥺䧂 㡃 2008: 23). From ST, ‘䠦⟷ỆⰂ┺’ has the meaning of panting, gasping. But we can see this was used as idiom ‘Huffing and puffing’. 4.1.4. Communicative translation (hyperonym, hyponym) Newmark defined that communicative translation is a way to give readers understandable and easy text while having the exact context of ST. Focusing on messages and functions of SL, some are translated with hyperonym to make it generalised, whereas others can be used with a hyponym. So this study is limited on using hyperonym or hyponym. A hyperonym is normally a general and comprehensive word and on the other hand, a hyponym is more specific and detailed. For example, ‘chair, table, sofa’ is included in ‘furniture’ (hyperonym). These appeared in word level. Like the idiomatic translation, there are not many hyperonym and hyponym in the four texts. Mainly The Tiger and the Persimmon has a high frequency in using hyperonym. Refer to the below examples.
(8) a. “㡲┺! ὌṦ㧊┺, ὌṦ!" ⁎⩂㧦 㞚㧊⓪ 㤎㦢㦚 ⣳ ⁎㼺㠊㣪 (㥚₆㻶 2004: 11). b. “A persimmon! It's a persimmon!” Suddenly, the baby stopped crying (㧊㥺䧂 㡃 2008: 12). In Korea, the ‘ὌṦ’ is used for a kind of sweets and it is dried. So it is translated as ‘dried persimmon’ in SL or borrowing word like ‘Gottgam’. But in this TT, it is simply translated as just ‘persimmon’. When using a hyponym, the words meaning become more specific like the following example. (9) a. 䧮㧦⧧ ╖䣢㠦㍲ 㧊 㑮䌟㦚 㧊₊ ╃㦖 䞮⋮☚ 㠜㠞┾┺. (㧊䢎⺇ 1997: 9) b. No rooster could beat him at an arm wrestling contest (ₖ㡗㑯 㡃 2010: 9). From ST, ‘䧮㧦⧧ ╖䣢’ means the contest for boasting one’s strength. But in TT, it was translated as ‘an arm wrestling contest’. That is a part of the boasting contest so it used a hyponym instead of describing the word. 4.1.5. Culture alternatives Using culture alternatives is replacing with the similar meanings. When the words from the ST are not in TT, alternatives which have the familiar meaning is used. For example, ‘dumplings’ in Asia can be changed into ‘ravioli’ in Europe. This study covers the onomatopoeia and mimetic words. (10) a. ☢㧊Ṗ ⺆㿪⺃㦒⪲ ╂⩺ṧ┞┺. ㏷㞚㰖⓪ ₲㰳 ⏖⧒㍲ 䗚㲣 ⥆㠊 ╂㞚⋿┞┺ (㥺ῂ⼧ 1997: 17). b. Dol-ri shouts as he runs to the cabbage field. Surprised, the calf quickly runs away (㧊㥺䧂 㡃 2008: 18). From ST (10) a, ‘䗚㲣 ⥆㠊 ╂㞚⋿┞┺’ is translated into ‘quickly runs away’. ‘䗚㲣Ĝ is a mimetic word and describes the shape which is jumping. While, in TT, it was changed into the adverb ‘quickly’. In Korean, onomatopoeia and mimetic words are highly developed and well used, 218
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especially in Children’s literature. But in Anglo-American, there are hardly defined about even mimetic words, so it is normally changed the word class. 4.1.6. Translation by explanation Nida suggested paraphrasing method in translating idioms when a match cannot be found in TT (Baker 1992: 37). It seems to be similar to paraphrase but is not only simply change the similar words but also explaining the words meaning. The translator reinterpreted the words from the ST and made the words accurate to understand. (11) a. 㺓Ṗ㠦 㧞▮ ⋲㽞 䢪㧊 ㌊ ⋮ ⻚⪎㠊㣪 (䢿㍶⹎ 1999: 14). b. The potted orchid on the windowsill came crashing down and broke into a million pieces on the floor (㤛㰚㞓䋂゛ 2007: 15). In ST, ‘㌊ ⋮ ⻚⪎㠊㣪’ is described in TT, ‘came crashing down and broke into a million pieces on the floor’. And another expression from The Strongest Rooster in the World, ‘㧪䂮⯒ 㡊㠞┺’ (throw a party) was translated as ‘got together to celebrate’ showing the purpose instead of using ‘party’. In total, there are six strategies in domestication. Domestication tends to be shown more than foreignisation in this study. We can infer that the translation of children’s literature has a marked tendency. However, foreignisation also was shown along with domestication. The next examples from domestication are introduced. 4.2. Foreignisation The foreignised translation methods are largely categorised as literal and borrowing words. The frequency is not very significant but the following examples illustrate each case in detail. 4.2.1. Literal translation (word-for-word) The words from SL are parallel in words from TL. That is interlinear translation which is called word-for-word. The word order of SL is preserved and translated into very general meaning without reference to the context. Literal translation is transferred with the similar grammatical structures but sometimes the lexical meaning is out of context and become awkward.
Overall, the frequency of four texts was under 5% so it was a bit lower than others. (12) a. 㠚Ⱎ⧧ 㞚ザṖ ☢㞚㢪㔋┞┺. “㞚┞, 㧊Ợ ⶊ㓾 㧒㧊㟒?” 㠚Ⱎ⧧ 㞚ザ⓪ 㧊 䥮⚻⁎⩞㰧┞┺ (㥺ῂ⼧ 1997: 22). b. Mom and Dad return from the fields. “What in the world happened?” Mom’s and Dad’s eyes grow wide in surprise (㧊㥺䧂 㡃 2008: 23). From ST, ‘䥮⚻⁎⩞㰧┞┺’ means ‘open their eyes wide with surprise’ but translated as ‘eyes grow wide in surprise’ focusing on literal method. (13) a. 㠚Ⱎ⧧ 㞚ザ⓪ 䢎⹎ ✺ἶ ⺃ⰺ⩂ Ṗἶ, ☢㧊⧧ ⽋㔺㧊⧧ 㰧㦚 ⽛┞┺ (㥺ῂ⼧ 1997: 1). b. Mom and Dad take their hoes and go out to weed the field. Dol-ri and his dog Bok-sil watch the house (㧊㥺䧂 㡃 2008: 1). In the cultural area of SL, hoe is an agricultural tool for digging the ground. Agrarian culture for a long time, it is different from the Westerns. However, it may be difficult for foreign people to understand this tool. This is called culture specific items (CSI) using in particular place. The meaning of ‘weed’ is not simply meant in a garden but in a farm from the agricultural culture. 4.2.2. Borrowing words According to Newmark, the faithful translation is reproducing the exact meaning of ST to proper to grammatical structure in TT. If the words are closely related to culture, those are translated with transliteration (Newmark 1988: 95). Transliteration is a kind of borrowing word from the original language and striving to represent the characters accurately. It is especially used in name of person, place and exclamations. (14) a. ę㞚㧊ἶ, 㞚㟒㟒! 䏶⋒ ㌊⩺!” (㥚₆㻶 2004: 27). b. “Aigo! Aiyaya! Save me!” cried the rabbit (㧊㥺䧂 㡃 2008: 29). 220
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‘Aigo! Aiyaya!’ from ST is an exclamation and it can be changed into ‘Oh, Ah, Ouch’, but it is derived from alphabet as it sounds. With this, it is obvious to recognise this is the translated text. To this extent, we examined the cases of existing strategies over domestication and foreignisation. While researching there are many expressions or cases which were not mentioned before or defined yet. From the next Section, I will suggest the different cases from the previous methods, particularly in domestication. 4.3. Propose three strategies for children’s literature In recent studies regarding translation of children’s literature, they dealt with linguistic simplification, especially dealing with the length of sentence and sentence structures. It is referred from the researches of Shin (2005) and Sung (2011). Shin said that when the English children’s books are translated into Korean, there is a tendency of sentence simplification in TT. By making the sentences simple, readability can be increased. Sung researched the length of sentence and paragraph comparing the texts for adult and children. The text for children kept sentences shorter than the text for adults. Regarding the sentence level, I suggest three more strategies here. Firstly, a dividing sentence; this is separating one sentence into two sentences in order to make a sentence simple and accessible. Then, the second is inserting a sentence. In this case, this method can give readers dialogic effects. Lastly, sentence ordering, this is referred from Levinson and he related this to the sub-maxim of Manner, ‘Be orderly’ (Baker 1992: 239). There is normal ordering but the ordering can be modified in particular cases of language and cultures. Therefore, considering those different natures between Korean and English, the following methods were provided. 4.3.1. Dividing sentence Shin (2005: 79-108) researched that the long sentence including non-finite can be separated into two sentences. She emphasised that a separating method is necessary to make children enjoy reading based on the research results in language development. This refers to not only English-Korean picture books but also Korean-English ones. Note the following examples from The Tiger and the Persimmon. (15) a. 䏶⋒⓪ 㧮⋲ 㼊䞮ἶ 㕌㦖 ㌳ṗ㧊 ✺㠞㠊㣪 (㥚₆㻶 2004: 24). b. That gave him an idea. He wanted to show off (㧊㥺䧂 㡃 2008: 26). 221
(16) a. ⁎⩂┺Ṗ ⁎Ⱒ ↗㰖Ṗ 㘯 ザ㪎 ⻚⪎㠊㣪 (㥚₆㻶 2004: 27). b. And-pop! It came right off (㧊㥺䧂 㡃 2008: 29). In both examples, one sentence from ST has divided into two sentences in TT. If the sentence became longer, the phrases and clauses will make it difficult to read (㎇㔏㦖 2011:77). Therefore, like the examples, dividing technique is needed to make a short, concise sentence. 4.3.2. Adding sentences Halliday and Hasan in Cohesion in English (1976) mentioned the connection in discourse, cohesion, collocation, connectors, coherence should be considered to strengthen the cohesion. ‘Cohesion is the network of lexical, grammatical, and other relations which provide links between various parts of a text’ (Nida 1992: 181). However, most of the translators consider just the lexical level not the discourse level. The discourse level, as well as linguistic, need to deserve consideration for achieving natural translation. The next examples were considered by syntactic level. (17) a. ⁎➢ 䏶⋒Ṗ ₷㿿₷㿿 ⥆㠊㢪㠊㣪. “䢎⧧㧊 ┮, 㢲 ⁎⩂ἶ Ἒ㎎㣪?” “㟮, Ⱖ☚ Ⱎ⧒. ὌṦ䞲䎢 㧷䡖 㭓㦚 ㄪ䟞㠊” (㥚₆㻶 2004: 22). b. Just then, a rabbit came hopping along. “What's the matter, Mister Tiger?” he asked. “Don't even ask”, the tiger replied. “I was nearly killed by the Persimmon” (㧊㥺䧂 㡃 2008: 23). In ST, direct speech is used but, in TT, style of indirect speech is used such as, “he asked, the tiger replied”. This has the narrative effect to deliver the messages like a storytelling. In The Tiger and the Persimmon text, the expression of ‘said the tiger’ were used nine times. Besides indirect discourse, there is a case additionally supplemented to link the context by translators. (18) a. ⍞, ⁎⩂┺ ὌṦ䞲䎢 䢒⋮⩺ἶ ⁎⩂┞? (㥚₆㻶 2004: 25). b. What are you doing? He cried. Do you want the Persimmon to get you?
A Study on the Translation Strategies in Korean-English Children’s Literature
(㧊㥺䧂 㡃 2008: 26). In this dialogue, the translator added ‘What are you doing?’; this was not mentioned in ST and also added ‘he cried’ for indirect discourse. (19) a. 㠚Ⱎ㏢⧧ ㏷㞚㰖⓪ ⺆㿪⯒ ⦅㠊ⲏ㔋┞┺. “㞞♒. (ø)㩖Ⰲ Ṗ." ☢㧊Ṗ ⺆㿪⺃㦒⪲ ╂⩺ṧ┞┺” (㥺ῂ⼧ 1997: 17). b. The heifer and her calf eat the cabbage. “No, you're not allowed. Go away”. Dol-ri shouts as he chases the rabbits (㧊㥺䧂 㡃 2008: 17). In ST, there was not any sentence between ‘No’ and ‘Go away’. But in TT, “you're not allowed” was added. The translator inserted a sentence to explain the contextual contents. 4.3.3. Changing the order In this case, this method can give readers dialogic effects. Lastly, sentence ordering, this is referred from Levinson and he related this to the sub-maxim of Manner, ‘Be orderly’ (Baker 1992: 239). There is normal ordering but the ordering can be modified in particular cases of language and cultures. From Levinson’s maxim ‘Be orderly’; each culture has preferences for ordering strategies that has a disposition to language- and culture-specific. But if it is against the rule, the reader can recognise something strange and tend to revalue the context of the text. Therefore, in the process of translation, ordering method is required to meet the target reader’s needs. The following examples illustrate adjustments which were made to fulfil the target readers’ expectations of normal ordering. (20) a. 㧻㧊 ♮₆Ⱒ 䞮Ⳋ ῂ⽊┺ 㧮 䞶 㧦㔶㧊 㧞㦒┞₢ ⌊Ṗ ⋮⯒ ㍶䌳䞮⓪ Ệ㟒 ╏㡆䞮㧬㞚㣪 (䢿㍶⹎ 1999: 8). b. I think it's only fair that I voted for myself. After all, I’m sure I would do a better job than anyone else if they’d picked me (㤛㰚㞓䋂゛ 2007: 8). From ST, ‘╏㡆䞮㧬㞚㣪G (it’s only fair)’ is located in the end of the sentence but in TT, ‘I think it’s only fair’ is ordered in the beginning. It is
inferred that TT culture tends to mention the result first in cause and effect so the order was modified for the natural translation. 5. Conclusion This study explored the examples of domestication and foreignisation in translations of four Korean children’s literature. In order to define which factors influence translation strategy, the definition of domestication and foreignisation from Schleiermacher, Venuti and Nida. It dealt with the issues of translator’s invisibility which is closely related to the both perspectives. After synthesising all the methods from Newmark and Oh, total strategies were made by analysing the previous studies. Such techniques include cultural adaptation, liberal, idiomatic translation, replacing generalised words (hyperonym, hyponym) and explanation in domestication. On the other hand, foreignisation included literal and borrowing words or phrases from ST and so forth. Domestication methods tend to be shown more than foreignisation. In the domestication methods, the existing strategies could not explain the whole issues while analysing the four children’s books. Therefore, this study suggested more strategies from the sentence level such as separating sentences, adding sentences and changing the order of words or sentences. While the analysis of English translation of the Korean children’s books is valuable, it will be more meaningful if it covers a lot of cultural references from the various books. But it is hard to find them because there are not many Korean books translated yet. Hopefully the translated texts become diversified and study on the different properties from various translators could be an interesting piece of the next research.
Korean Publishers Association. Awarded BIB in 2007 and IBBY(International Board on Books for Young People) in 1999.
References Baker, Mona. 1992. In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation. New York: Routledge. Hagfors, Irma. 2003. ‘The Translation of Culture-Bound Elements into Finnish in the Post-War Period’ in Meta 48: 115-127. Inggs, Judith. 2003. Strategies for the Transfer or Culture and Ideology in Russian Translation of Two English Fantasy Stories’ in Meta 48: 285-297. Mazi-Leskovar, Darja. 2003. ‘Domestication and Foreignization in Translating American Prose for Slovenian Children’ in Meta 48: 250-265.
A Study on the Translation Strategies in Korean-English Children’s Literature
Munday, Jeremy. 2001. Introducing Translation Studies: Theories and Applications. New York: Routledge. Newmark, Paul. 1988. A Textbook of Translation. London and New York: Prentice-Hall. Nida, Eugene. 2003. Principles of Correspondence’ in Venuti, Lawrence (ed.) The Translation Studies Reader. London: Routlege. 153-167. Nord, Christine. 1997. Translating as a Purposeful Activity: Functionalist Approaches Explained: Translation Theories Explained. Manchester, UK: St. Jerome Publishing. Oh. Mi Hyung. 2007. ‘Foreignization and Domestication in the Translation for Korean Children’s Books’ in Fairy Tales & Translation 13:187-211. Oittinen, Riitta. 1993. I Am Me, I Am Other: On the Dialogics of Translating for Children. Tampere: University of Tampere. Sun, I.M. 2009. A Study on Translation Strategies in English-Korean Translation from the Domesticated and Foreignized Perspective: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as a Case in Point. Busan, South Korea: Busan University of Foreign Studies. Sung, S.E. 2011. Comparative Study in Length of Sentence and Clauses between Translated and Non-Translated Texts: Based on Children’s Literature’ in Translation Studies 12: 75-108. Shin, Jisun. 2005. Study on Norms of English-Korean Translation of Children’s Literature. Seoul. Sejong University —. 2000. Translating for Children. London: Garland Publishing. Shleiermacher, Friedrich. 1992. On the Different Methods of Translating Theories of Translation. London: The University of Chicago Press. 36-54. Tian, Chuanmao. 2010. ‘Etymological Implications of Domestication and Foreignization: A Chinese Perspective’ in Perspectives 18: 79-93. Venuti, Lawrence. 1995. The Translator's Invisibility: A History of Translation. New York: Routledge. —. 2000. The Translation Studies Reader. London and New York: Routeledge. Woo, D.I. 2009. Foreignization and Domestication in English-Korean Translation: No country for Old Men. Busan, South Korea: Busan National University
A Study of Translating Extra-Textual Expressions from a Non-English Language into English: A Case of Contemporary Japanese Computer-Mediated Communication Noboru Sakai The University of Queensland (Australia) Abstract This study discusses how extra-textual elements found in computer-mediated communication (CMC) (such as smiley faces or emoticons) can effectively be translated between English and non-English languages. To approach this question the study focuses on Japanese CMC as CMC is quite advanced in Japan and is widely used by Japanese people (e.g., MSN or mobile e-mail); the Japanese language also integrates five different scripts when written, which can be further applied in translations from other languages. The study firstly analyses how professionals have attempted to handle these non-textual parts in translation when they explain the linguistic and cultural characteristics of Japanese CMC, and it finds that in general intersemiotic translation is a major method of handling such extra-textual elements (other than emoticons which are basically left in their original forms). After a review of previous translation methods, the study considers how these elements can be more effectively translated, in particular using an intrasemiotic means of translation in order to convey the meaning of the original message more directly without loss of some extra-textual meaning. The discussion focuses on cultural aspects and foreignness, giving case studies for a few elements which very frequently occur in Japanese CMC.
Keywords intrasemiotic translation, communication (CMC)
1. Introduction In the study of sociolinguistics, computer-mediated communication (CMC) has gained growing attention, and non-textual elements in CMC texts are one of the main foci of CMC studies. With the growth of CMC studies in English, CMC other than English has also gained increasing attention (Danet & Herring 2007: 5), and this has raised the issue of how to translate such extratextual but important message conveyers for readers other than non-native speakers of the source language in order not to lose meaning. This translation of extra-textual meanings will become increasingly significant in the current environment of rapid growth of intercultural communication using the multilanguage platform of smart phones. It is highly probable that non-specialists from the general public, i.e., not academic specialists, will be asked to translate messages containing non-linguistic elements at some point in their
lives. In even more serious cases, these aspects may play an important part in a lawsuit. In this respect, to pay attention to the extra-textual elements in translating is a logical step under conditions of globalisation and this study will discuss this topic with a special focus on English and non-English language translation, using Japanese as an example of non-English language since Japanese people commonly utilise CMC in their daily life and Japanese-English translation is a challenging task even at the textual level. The study firstly reviews how previous Japanese CMC studies have handled this issue, then discusses several issues in translating these elements and gives some suggestions as shown in few case studies. 2. Japanese language The Japanese language utilises five types of script: Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji, Romaji and Arabic numerals. The Hiragana syllabary represents the sounds of Japanese and there are forty-six of them (e.g., Ǘ, Ǚ, Ǜ, ǝ, ǟ, Ǡ , Ǣ, Ǥ, Ǧ, Ǩ). The Katakana syllabary is mainly used to spell foreign loan words, representing the same sounds as Hiragana (e.g., Ȫ, Ȭ, Ȯ, Ȱ, Ȳ, ȳ, ȵ, ȷ, ȹ, Ȼ). Kanji are Chinese characters; (e.g., Sunday to Saturday in Kanji can be written as ᰕ, ᴸ, ⚛, ≤, ᵘ, 䠁, ൏). Romaji are the letters of the Western alphabet. Japanese writing also uses Arabic numerals. Of these five scripts, Hiragana and Katakana are native Japanese writing systems, whereas the other three share properties with language systems from some other countries. Writing in Japanese is a combination of these scripts. 3. Translation and elements that are translated The task of translation can be seen as translating several elements in written languages into other sign systems. Munday (2001) defines translation as having three directions: x x x
intralingual: translation, or ‘rewording’: ‘an interpretation of verbal signs by means of other signs of the same language’; interlingual: translation, or ‘translation proper’: ‘an interpretation of verbal signs by means of some other language’; and intersemiotic: translation, or ‘transmutation’: ‘an interpretation of verbal signs by means of non-verbal sign systems’ (Munday 2001: 5).
In order to focus on extra-textual elements in translation, this study mainly deals with the issue of intersemiotic translation, since these aspects are part of the non-verbal sign system. Gottlieb (2005) gives a further explanation of inter/intra semiotic translation: 228
A Study of Translating Extra-Textual Expressions In intersemiotic translation, the one or more channels of communication used in the translated text differ(s) from the channel(s) used in the original text. In other words, the source and target text are semiotically non-equivalent. In intrasemiotic translation, the sign systems used in source and target text are identical; a case of semiotic equivalence. Whereas ‘intersemiotic translation’ is a notion directly borrowed from Roman Jakobson (1959), the term ‘intrasemiotic translation’ is used here as an umbrella term for Jakobson’s ‘interlingual’ and ‘intralingual’ types of translation (Gottlieb 2005: 3).
From this definition, extra-textual elements can be translated in accordance with their original sign system or other systems. In Japanese CMC, there are several extra-textual elements that are sometimes applied to texts. Miyake (2007) summarises extra-textual elements found in Japanese CMC, in particular Japanese mobile-email (Figure 1). Figure 1. Extra-textual elements in Japanese mobile e-mail
(Miyake, 2007: 62)
Non-standard choices of script involve the use of irregular types of script. For example, ‘Hello’ is written in the alphabet (English) in general, but sometimes Japanese people write it as ‘ Ȅ Ȣ ό ’ with a combination of Hiragana symbols. Non-standard letter sizes and spelling involve a violation of standard spelling by making some changes without losing the original meaning. For instance, ǟ Ȅ ȝ Ǜ (hello) is written as ǟ Ȅ ȝ ǟ (nonstandard spelling) or ǟȄȝǚ (non-standard letter size: the use of a smaller font size). Both ǟȄȝǟ and ǟȄȝǚ are understandable for native Japanese speakers without any comprehension problem. Gyaru-moji, or distorted characters composed of a number of elements, involve methods which apply more visual creativity in writing words of standard spelling. ǟ 229
ȄȝǛ can be written as ‘˄ȝ∋ǚ’. In some cases, even native speakers of Japanese find difficulty in recognising the original word. Plays on words also involve irregular descriptions for some words. Compared to Gyaru-moji, this type focuses more on sound information or other properties than visual presentation. For example, a combination of Arabic numerals is used to describe ǟȄȝǛ as ‘084’ (/o/ /ha/ /yon/) since the sound of the original word and the combination is the same. The characteristics above involve basically the manipulation of language itself, and the other types of application of extra-textual elements involve mainly additional elements which can be attached to some parts of compositions, mainly at the end of sentences (elements introduced in the lower column of Figure 1). Symbols are basically preinstalled characters other than the scripts of language, such as ☆or♪. Pictorial signs are preinstalled symbols and emoticons as a picture in each mobile phone. Emoticons show some facial expressions through some combinations of preinstalled symbols (smiley faces). There are basically two ways in which extra-textual elements are added: language itself and non-language aspects. This study refers to symbols and emoticons as Emotional Graphic Signs (EGS) (referred to in Kataoka, 2009). Because of the use of various types of script in written Japanese, as well as the rich source of extra-linguistic elements available in Japanese CMC, Japanese CMC composition can include various unique features, and these are actively employed to achieve some eye-catching effect or even an extra layer of message not expressed by the language alone. 4. Some cases of Japanese CMC translations including extra textual elements Only a very limited number of published studies in English discuss Japanese CMC with example Japanese sentences In order to discuss how to effectively translate extra-textual elements frequently found in non-English CMC, this study reviews the manner in which scholars have attempted to do so in academic works published during the early stage of Japanese CMC studies. To begin with, this study analyses the translation found in Nishimura (2003). Nishimura also provides a Romanised script as a mediator between the original Japanese script and the English translation, but the Romaji scripts are not shown here because it is beyond the scope of this study. 6 ࣇࣇࣇ㹼ݜ㸵᪥ࡍࡡ㹼ࠋ 7 ᶆ‽࡛㘓⏬ࡉࡍ㸽㸦➗㸧ࡌࡗࡃ㸟ࡗࡓ㸟㸦ㅦ㸧ぢࡋ࠺ࡡ㹼(-_-) ண࿌ࡣぢࡋࡓ㸽(*^_^*) 8 ࡑ࠺ࡑ࠺ࠊ࠶࣓࣮ࣝࡢ௳࡛ࡍࡀ㸦➗㸧ゎࡋࡋࡓࡗ㸟㸟
A Study of Translating Extra-Textual Expressions
6 Huhuhu [laughter] ̚♪ on the 7th they will show it, right 7 Are you going to record [honorific] in standard [playing mode] [kanji for laughter] Let’s watch [it] leisurely! appreciatively [kanji for puzzlement] ̚(-_-) Were you able to see the preview? (*^_^*) 8 Oh by the way, as for the other topic, e-mail, [kanji for laughter], I understand !!
Nishimura introduced several Japanese sentences found in CMC as 1) original Japanese scripts, 2) Romanised Japanese, and 3) English translation. The original Japanese includes two smiley faces ((-_-) and (*^_^*) ), one symbol (♪), a type of long vowel symbol (̚), two types of parenthesised kanji ( ˄ ㅁ ˅ ˄ 䄾 ˅ ) and one extra long consonant ( Ǹ ). Of the five components, the first three do not change in the English translation. As for the two EGS (i.e., the smiley faces and symbol), Azuma and Ebner (2008) suggest that emoticons can function as a universal language among speakers of different languages, and Nishimura’s decision to keep the original shapes of EGS can be seen as a reasonable method to use in translating EGS relating to electronic-medium communications. For the other two, symbol-like usage of scripts of˄ㅁ˅and˄䄾˅are translated by direct translation of each word into English. This can be seen as an attempt at intrasemiotic translation of such elements, or simply as treating them without special attention. The parts of non-standard usage of language are not reflected in English translation. For this pattern, Nishimura also shows similar cases as follows: ࡇ࡞⥭ᙇࡍࡢࡔࡣ͐㸦ⱞ➗㸧 such a stressful thing (I hadn’t expected that) … [kanji for wry smile] ࣡ࢺࢺࡢࢧࢺ࡞ࡗࡕ࠾࠺࡞࠶㸽㸦Ṛ㸧 Shall I make my site a Whiteout site, do you think? [kanji for death]
As in the above case, ˄㤖ㅁ˅and ˄↫˅are translated as “wry smile” and “death” respectively by intrasemiotic translation. The second case study is Miyake’s paper published in 2007, which explains each type of extra-textual elements appearing in Japanese mobile email (see Figure 1). As with Nishimura’s analysis, this study also omits Miyake’s Romaji scripts in the following quotation. No.
A1 B2 A3
08:10 08:12 08:14
ǟȄǖ ȗǬǤȔǨǴǶǡ❑⨶Ǽȗǟᱬа㐂Ȁ伏ȎǿǙ?? ǲǞȂ ᱘ᰕȃ㏊ǢȧțǸǤȟ㚎ǨǛǷȘǿǙȃ Ǘȟǡǽǚ ӺɩόɳǡǢǻǪǖĂɦɀ⌓ǢǴǤǿǸǻǢǴ ǖ 䲀ǽǠșȠ≇ǿǤǿȠȝǞ ᵛᵏǵȣ ᙍǙ䂠ȖǮǣǶȘɈɩȜ ᖼǼȂ̚
Noboru Sakai A1
morningg shall we have lunch together even if kumiko and the others can’t make it?? good ideaa how about telling me the rest of what happened yesterday y thanks i've got another message just now … I feel like crying,
seriously i don’t feel like i have enough energy for a 1st period class or anything B4 08:17 You’re terminal don’t take it too seriouslyy see you laterr (Miyake 2007: 59-60). 7. ǗǃǿȨǵǃȓǵݸǠǖ Oh, it’s still a long way ahead 8. ǽǨȢǼ ǗǬǴȃ᭮䃢ᖼɚɦ̚ By the way Are you free tomorrow afternoon? (Miyake 2007: 67).
In Miyake’s (2007) translation, non-grammatical long-vowel expressions (e.g., ᖼǼȂ̚ in line B4, ɚɦ̚ in line 7) are not generally reflected in the translation (e.g., “see you later”; there is no attempt to reflect the additional long vowel symbol ‘ ̚’). This method can also be seen in handling of Hiragana letters of an unusual size (e.g., ᵛᵏǵȣ in line B4, Ǡǖ in line 7), probably because it is considered that differences arising from the use of such unique expressions are not essentially significant and can be ignored in translating the original meaning of the Japanese script. As one exception, in the case of the extra-small-vowel use in emotional messaging (i.e., ɦɀ⌓ǢǴǤǿǸǻǢǴǖ in line A3), Miyake added a symbol to reflect the writer’s emotion (“i feel like crying, seriously”). The þ ÿ symbol expressed a feeling of frustration. This is seen in line 7. According to Miyake’s translation, adding a symbol to express the writer’s emotion is a device which can convey more directly the emotion entailed in the original message for the readers. The third case is a work by Katsuno and Yano (2007) (Table 1), which mainly investigates emoticons and therefore their translation is different compared to the last two cases. A major difference is that their translation (shown in the right column) does not include smiley faces; instead they added a description of each smiley face in brackets. Their translation seems to address a potential difficulty in misinterpretation of smiley faces when the backgrounds of readers are different. Table 1. Japanese written communication found in Internet chat ࠪऔǼǮǃȓǴǗǲȨǼȂᅅ
I have to go to work. Let’s get together again, OK? [ᅅ expresses cheerfulness]
A Study of Translating Extra-Textual Expressions
ልǻȅǸǠȟșȨǠǸʽ ˄┍⊇˅ ˘㠚࠶ )ā(*eƶ °*)ǗȄȄȂȠǨǽȄ ǙǙǨǽ˚ǗǢ ǲόǿȨǠ˚ǗǢ (Katsuno & Yano 2007: 292-293).
[Smiling face with both fists raised in the air as if cheering] Ganba (ǡȨ ȅǸ) [abbreviated form of Ganbatte, keep it up!] [ᅅ expresses cheerfulness] [To Kazu] I do nothing but sleep all the time! (Cold sweat pouring down) [To herself] [Smiling; both arms raised] Yeah, it’s good to sleep. [To Aki] Is that so? [To Aki]
The uniqueness of this translation is the method of handling of EGS. A symbol representing emotions (i.e., ♪) is kept but also explicitly explained; smiley faces are also explicitly explained and not kept in the translation. This indicates that Katsuno and Yano wish to convey their interpretation of each EGS precisely for their readers. In addition, they also give a detailed explanation of a phrase “ ǡ Ȩ ȅ Ǹ ” which has attached to it an extra consonant “Ǹ”. In this case, they also apply Romaji script, and this shows that this phrase is evaluated as an important emotional indicator. This explanation is also seen in an extra text in parenthesis: “(┍⊇)” in Japanese and “Cold sweat pouring down” in English. In this case study, it can be seen that explicit explanations or intersemiotic translation are used not only in conveying the meaning of the original message to readers who are not familiar with Japanese CMC but also in preventing misinterpretation which differs from how Japanese people interpret each message of EGS. For other aspects, similar to the previous case studies, some extra-textual elements are not reflected in the English translation, and this shows both 1) intentional ignorance in translating those aspects because they are not the main focus, and 2) difficulty in reflecting these aspects in the target language because of the considerable difference of language system. In the three previous studies, scholars made an effort to translate these extra-textual elements based on their research aims, and there was no consensus as to how these elements should be translated. At the same time, the messages entailed in these elements were also paid attention, and these elements can be seen as a significant part of composition which is not simply ignored.
5. Some issues in intrasemiotic translation As shown in the previous Section, extra-textual elements in Japanese CMC have been translated by inter-semiotic translation in academic works and this seems a reasonable compromise which sufficed to discuss the original research questions. At the same time, however, intersemiotic translation is not suitable on other occasions for other readers of translations, who may not pay attention to such explicit explanations in their reading of texts. Therefore, this study further discusses how these elements can be translated by intrasemiotic translation in order to directly convey the original intention without losing the message entailed. In doing so, several considerations can be raised as a cause of misinterpretation in inter-cultural communication. The first issue, as inferred in the example of Katsuno and Yano (2007), is emoticons. Although Azuma and Ebner (2008) discuss the possibilities of emoticons as a universal language, there are still some issues in misinterpretation within intercultural or even intracultural communication settings. There are several smiley faces particularly used in Japanese CMC. For example, ‘(>_