Chapter One Task Description
1.1 Information relevant to the translation project
1.1.1 Background information
With “the Belt and Road” initiative, the foreign trade between China and other countriesbecome frequent in recent decades. Since Translation and Interpreting is closely related to thenational situations, the demand for qualified translators has also been heightened. Nowadays,MTI is designed to improve students’ proficiency in solving problems in the translationprocess of bilingual communication. Therefore, as a student majoring in English, thetranslator is supposed to devote herself to the translation practice. In this process, thetranslation skills can be practiced and solutions to translation difficulties can be discovered.Therefore, according to MTI’s training principles, this translation report aims to investigatewhether translators meet national needs.
In addition, with the Chinese culture strategy of “going global”, literary works take onthe responsibilities of developing native language and promoting national culture when theyprovide readers with pleasure (Han, 2000: 40). As one of the most popular literary genres, theprose conveys the philosophical implications and life creed of the Chinese nation concisely.Hence, it is a good strategy to attract readers and promote Chinese culture through thetranslation of famous prose. And these epistolary proses written by Zhu Guangqian are quitewell-known, enjoying great popularity among Chinese readers. They not only discuss the profound philosophy of life, but also promote the traditional Chinese culture. Therefore, theEnglish translation of the epistolary prose can help western readers obtain new insights intohuman life and Chinese traditional culture.
1.2 Information related to the text selected
1.2.1About the author
Zhu Guangqian (1897-1986) is one of the most famous contemporary aestheticians,literary theorists, educators and translators in China. He graduated from HKU Faculty of Artsin 1922. In 1925, he studied at Edinburgh University, devoting himself to the study ofliterature, Psychology and philosophy. After returning to China in 1933, he worked as aprofessor at Peking University, Sichuan University and Wuhan University.
As a pioneer in the development of modern aesthetics in China, Zhu Guangqian wrotemany masterpieces including Psychology of Literature and Arts, Of Beauty, Letters on Beauty,The history of Western Aesthetics, etc. The History of Western Aesthetics is the first bookdemonstrating the history of aesthetics written by the Chinese scholar, which paves the wayfor the study of aesthetic theory in China. Besides, this knowledgeable man is proficient inEnglish, French and German. He has translated Gespr che mit Goethe, Plato’s SelectedDialogues on Arts and sthetik in the past few decades. Among them, his translation of themasterpiece sthetik, written by Hegel, is highly accepted in China.
Zhu Guangqian is noted for his meticulous scholarship. Under the guidance of previousidealistic system, he realizes that current study of aesthetics is just “making great efforts tocircle around in the wrong way”. Therefore, he has the courageto criticize himself, and usesmore advanced Marxist aesthetic theory to guide his aesthetic research. In addition, hefocuses on independent thinking and never echoes the views of others. And the work TwelveLetters to the Youth is a reflection of his attitude toward academic research. Therefore,translating this work serves as a medium for English readers to understand the noble personality of Zhu Guangqian.
Translation is the process of transformation performed by the translator from the sourcetext (ST) to the target text (TT). Based on the comprehension of the source text, the translatorfinds that there are three difficulties to be solved in the translation practice. In order toproperly deal with these difficulties, the translator takes the semantic and communicativetranslation principles of Newmark as the guide, so as to gain a more accurate, fluent andauthentic translation.
2.2.1 Difficulties encountered
Twelve Letters to the Youth is characterized by concise language and profound meaning,so it is a great challenge for translators to translate it from Chinese to English, especiallysome idiomatic expressions and complicated structures of the ST into the TT. In the processof translating Twelve Letters to the Youth, the translator tries her best to deal with three bigdifficulties and work out several ways to categorize them into three levels, namely lexical,syntactic and textual levels.
The first difficulty is at lexical level, that is, how to preserve the cultural characteristicsof Chinese culture-loaded words and four-character idioms. When expressing the viewpoints,the author often cites the classics. Therefore, there are a large number of Chinesecultural-loaded words in the ST, such as “叉麻雀、玄、斋、道、伯牙、中庸、阎王爷”, as wellas four-character idioms, such as“磨拳擦掌、敬谢不敏、依法泡制、三令五申、凤毛麟角”.Because these expressions are unique in Chinese, it is difficult for translator to reproduce thecultural images within these expressions and maintain the linguistic features of theserhythmic expressions.
Chapter Three Theoretical Basis.....................................16
3.1 Overview of the semantic and communicative translation principles.............16
3.1.1 Background ..................... 16
3.1.2 Main contents ........................18
Chapter Four Case Study .......................23
4.1 Translation at lexical level.......................... 23
4.1.1 Translation of Chinese culture-loaded words.................23
4.1.2 Translation of Chinese four-character idioms.......................27
Chapter Five Conclusion.....................53
5.2 Limitations and suggestions........................54
Chapter Five Conclusion
Translation practice provides an opportunity for the translator to combine translationtheory with translation practice. This thesis attempts to explore the translation of theepistolary prose Twelve Letters to the Youth on the basis of Newmark’s semantic andcommunicative translation principles. In order to achieve the ideal translation of the ST, thetranslator manages to solve the three difficulties at lexical, syntactical and textual levels.
In order to deal with the difficulties, the translator tries to the apply semantic andcommunicative translation principles in the translation practice. At lexical level, the translatormainly adopts the semantic translation principle to retain the cultural characteristics ofChinese culture-loaded words and four-character idioms. In this way, the translation can notonly retain the Chinese cultural images in culture-loaded words, but also keep the linguisticfeatures of straight-forward type of idioms. Once dealing with the figurative type andextended type of idioms, the translator also adopts the communicative translation principle toaccurately convey the metaphorical and extended meanings of cultural images. At syntacticallevel, the translator makes reasonable adjustments to the structures of active sentences,parallel sentences and long sentences. By taking the difference between English and Chineseinto account, the translator avails the communicative translation principle to make thesesentences more objective, rigid, static and overt in meaning and function, which are in thecompliance with English expression habits. At textual level, the translator starts with thetreatment of cohesive devices applied in the ST and the realization of textual coherence. By adopting the communicative translation principle, reference, logical cohesion, lexicalcohesion and structural cohesion are appropriately handled and contextual meanings areconveyed on the basis of linguistic and cultural contexts. In this way, the correspondencebetween the two texts is successfully realized in terms of cohesion and coherence.