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Foreignization and Domestication in the Translation of English Proverbs

Author: LiChunJiang
Tutor: YuYingJi
School: Ningbo University
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: English proverbs domestication foreignization
CLC: H315.9
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 163
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Executive Summary


Culture is the product shared by human society. Language is the system to record the cultural phenomena. There is a close relationship between culture and language. The proverb is the language symbol that carries rich national culture. The translation of proverbs not only involves the transform of language, but also the transform of culture. In fact, translation is a cultural activity.Proverbs are rich in content and have deep moral meanings. It is the vivid image of a nation’s geography, history, social structure, social concept and social attitude. The proverb reveals the life and the living environment of a nation, so proverbs have cultural peculiarities. Due to the difference in religious beliefs, food and geographical environment between the English and the Chinese nation, the translation of English proverbs into Chinese should strive to convey the language style and rich implication of the original.This thesis makes an analysis of the two translation strategies—domestication and foreignization in the application of the translation of English proverbs into Chinese, from the angle of the aim of translation, the translator’s mission, readership and the influence of information age and globalization on the cultural communication.Domestication and foreignization are two different translation strategies. Domestication is target language oriented, which uses the expressions, easily accepted by the target readers and makes the translation natural and smooth and tries to keep the author closer to the readers. Foreignization is source language oriented, which tries to keep the exotic flavor and style of the original. English proverbs have unique characteristics. The proverbs are rich in resources, simple in form, concise in language and subtle in the use of different rhetorical devices. So it is a tough task for translators to maintain the national peculiarities of the original texts and be faithful to the content and style of the original in the translation of English proverbs. Compared with foreignization, in the translation of English proverbs, domestication has some limitations: it imposes the cultural concept of the target language to domesticate the source language culture. This type of translation activity is the indication of cultural hegemony and cultural ethnocentrism.In the translation of English proverbs into Chinese, foreignization translation may serve not only to be faithful to the original texts but also helps to promote the cultural exchange between different nations, thus enriching the target language and culture.

Full-text Catalog


Abstract     4-5
Abstract     5-9
1 Introduction     9-12
1.1 Research, background     9-10
1.2 Research questions     10
1.3 Research methodology     10
1.4 Thesis structure     10-12
2 The Present Situation of Proverb Translation     12-17
2.1 Translation methods for proverb translation     12-13
2.1.1 Free and literal translation     12-13
2.1.2 Suggested translation approaches     13
2.2 Problems in proverb translations     13-15
2.2.1 Misunderstanding or literally guessing     13-14
2.2.2 Incorrect substitution     14
2.2.3 Loss of exotic flavor     14-15
2.3 Literature review     15-17
3 English Proverbs and Their Characteristics     17-26
3.1 Definition of proverbs     17-18
3.2 Source of English proverbs     18-19
3.3 Characteristics of English proverbs     19-26
3.3.1 Cultural characteristics of English proverbs     19-21
3.3.1.1 Reflection of social customs     19-20
3.3.1.2 Reflection of the religious belief     20
3.3.1.3 Reflection of the value concept     20-21
3.3.2 The rhetoric characteristics of English proverb     21-24
3.3.2.1 Aspect of acceptation     21-22
3.3.2.2 Aspect of structure     22-23
3.3.2.3 Aspect of phonology     23-24
3.3.3 Grammatical characteristics of English proverbs     24-26
3.3.3.1 Negation     24
3.3.3.2 Indefinite article \mood     25-26
4 Domestication and Foreignization     26-33
4.1 The development of domestication and foreignization     26-30
4.1.1 Domestication and foreignization in the west     26
4.1.2 Domestication and foreignization as translation strategies     26-28
4.1.3 Development of domestication and foreignization in China     28-30
4.1.3.1 Literal translation vs free translation     28-29
4.1.3.2 Domestication vs foreignization     29-30
4.2 Selection of translation strategies     30 -33
4.2.1 Translation principle     30
4.2.2 Factors influencing choice of translation approaches     30-33
4.2.2.1 Type of text     30-31
4.2.2.2 Translation purpose     31
4.2.2.3 Expectation of readership     31-33
5 Foreignization over Domestication in Proverb Translation     33 -47
5.1 The trend of foreignization in translation     33-35
5.1.1 The aim of translation     33-34
5.1.2 Globalization and assimilation tendency     34-35
5.1.3 Resistance to the ethnocentrism     35
5.2 Advantages of foreignization in the translation of proverbs     35-40
5.2.1 Faithfulness to the original     35-37
5.2.2 Promotion of cultural exchanges     37-39
5.2.3 Enrichment of the target language and culture     39-40 < br /> 5.3 Disadvantages of domestication in proverb translation     40-43
5.3.1 Ignorance of different emotional colors     41-42
5.3.2 Failure to meet reader's needs     42-43
5.4 Application of foreignization in proverb translation     43-47
5.4.1 Complete literal translation     43-44
5.4.2 Literal translation with explanatory notes     44-46
5.4.3 Literal translation with explanatory phrases     46-47
6 Conclusion     47-49
Bibliography     49-52
study results     52-53
Acknowledgement     53

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CLC: > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Translation
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