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Translation

时间:2013-10-04


Translation
shijie

Part One The General Management of Translation
? I. The Aim of the Course ? Eugene A. Nida, a famous American translation theorist, holds that “translating is far more than a science. It is also a skill, and in the ultimate analysis fully satisfactory translation is always an art.” That is to say, translation is largely a matter of practice. But such cases often occur that one buries himself in actual practical work all day long yet the result is far from being satisfactory. Thus theories and general principles of translation come to the scene.

? We all agree that theory is the guide to action, serving as a torch to show the way for travelers to their destination, without which one would grope in the dark or come to lots of twists and turns. Yet, any theory, no matter how good it is or how refined it appears, if we do not integrate it with practice, it would be useless, a castle in the air. ? So we should bear in mind that only constant practice will make a good translator, genuine truth (knowledge) comes from practice. Practice makes perfect.

? Our course will deliver a brief survey of theories and principles of various schools of thoughts upon translation, and the skills and techniques summed up by them, upon which the students would do their work more freely and effectively with better results. ? Yet, our students should never rest themselves on one learning of some translation theories and techniques, but plunge themselves into the sea of translation, learning swimming through swimming. Emphasis is laid on practice.

II. Definition of Translation
? What is the nature of translation? In short, what is translation? This is an essential question that we should be clear about before going into translation practice. Without knowing what translation is one could be confused and lose his track in translating. Mostly, different concepts of the nature of translation lead to different practice and surely, different results. Two translations of the same source text may arouse totally different responses among their receptors in the same cultural environment. The difference results from a variety of elements among which the different understandings of the nature of translation, consciously or not, plays the most important part. In a word, different definition results in different translation.

? “Translating means to render one language into another”; “Translating refers to express in the target language what is said in the source language.” Are they the correct definitions of translation? Strictly, they can by no means serve as the definitions of translation. Why? They are unable to reveal the nature of translation, as a matter of fact. ? Here, I would like to introduce two representative or leading translation definitions. One is given by Eugene A. Nida. He says “Translating consists in reproducing in the receptor language the closest natural equivalent of the source-language message, first in terms of meaning and secondly in terms of style.”

? According to his definition, Nida has developed a system of translation theory, and the core of his theory is now known as “Dynamic Equivalence” or “Functional Equivalence.” The so-called dynamic equivalence focuses on the target language receptor’s response. In other words, Nida’s theory can be interpreted as communicative method. This theory has now been popularly recognized in translation research, translation criticism and translation practice.

? Newmark’s theory is text-centered. He holds that translating is in fact text translation. He therefore classifies texts into three types according to their distinctive linguistic functions: ①Expressive Function, which includes all the serious literary creations such as lyric poems, short stories and novels, dramas; authoritative declarations; selfautobiographies, essays, and private letters. ② Informative Function, which includes the texts of science, commerce and industry, economy etc. in the forms of textbooks, reports, thesis, memos and minutes. ③Vocative Function, which includes specifications, publicity pamphlets, and the popular novels that only serve as reading entertainment.

? Accordingly Newmark breaks translation into two categories—Semantic Translation and Communicative Translation. The former aims at the texts of expressive function, while the latter at those of informative and evocative function.

? His idea can be clearly shown by the flowing diagram:
? ? ? ? Semantic/ Communicative Source Language Bias Literal Faithful Target Language Bias Free Idiomatic

?

III. Criteria of Translation
? Criteria of translation is a problem which arouses heated discusses and fierce conflict. Scholars at home and abroad, modern and ancient, held different opinions about it and put forward their different standards, some are similar in content, some contrary to each other both in content and form. ? Speaking of criteria of translation, what we should first mention is Yan Fu’s three-character standard, namely, faithfulness (信), expressiveness (达) and elegance (雅), which has exerted great influence on our translation work since it was founded in 1898.

? In the last decade of the 18th century Alexander Fraser Tytler, professor of history at Edinghburgh University, laid down three fundamentals by which translation should be made or judged. They are: ? 1.A translation should give a complete transcript of the ideas of the original work. ? 2.The style and manner of writing should be of the same character as that of the original. ? 3.A translation should have all the ease of original composition.

IV. Literal & Liberal Translation
? The controversy of literal translation (直译) and liberal translation (意译) arises from the different standpoints of different translation theories. ? What is literalism? ? Literalism manifests itself in various ways: ? 1.Following the word order of the original; ? 2.Trying to reproduce the syntactic clauses of the source language (e. g. translating nouns by nouns and verbs by verbs); ? 3. Trying to math all the syntactic constructions, actives, passives, relative clauses, conditions contrary to fact, etc.; ? 4. Trying to follow a strict concordance of lexical items, that is, always translating one word in the source language by one and the same corresponding word in the target language; ? 5. Matching rhetorical features, for example, parallelism, chiasms, hyperbole, understatement, etc.

? There are also various kinds of liberal translation: ? 1. Employ complete freedom in restructuring the grammar while at the same time may be reluctant to exercise a similar kind of freedom in translating complex lexical units; ? 2. Incorporate explanations to deal with cultural differences; ? 3. Some translators feel that they are obliged to correct mistakes which may occur in the source text; ? 4. Others may like to bring historical data up to date; ? 5. Some translators feel no qualms about deleting something they do not like or do not agree with.

? 直译和意译都要求忠实于原文的内容,但直译还 要求忠实于原文的形式,而意译却只要求通顺传 神的译文形式。要使直译和意译这对矛盾尽可能 地统一起来,就要找到尽可能忠实于原文形式的 通顺译文。总而言之,无论直译还是意译,都要 把忠实于原文的内容放在第一位,把通顺的译文 形式放在第二位,把忠实于原文的形式放在第三 位。也就是说,翻译要在忠实原文内容的前提下, 力求译文的形式通顺;又要在译文通顺的前提下, 尽可能做到忠实于原文的形式;如果通顺和忠实 于原文的形式之间有矛盾,那就不必拘泥于原文 的形式。这就是内容和形式、直译和意译的辩证 关系。”


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