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Image Translation in Love and Marriage Poems in the Light of Reception Aesthetics

Author: ShiHui
Tutor: SongBing
School: Southwest Jiaotong University
Course: Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords: Reception Aesthetics Horizon of Expectation Place of Indeterminacy Concretization Love and Marriage Poems in The Book of Songs Image
CLC: H315.9
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 28
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As one of the representatives of China’s long and glorious culture, The Book of Songs was translated into several languages as early as over three hundred years ago and therefore, became a shared cultural legacy of human beings. However, it was known only by a few missionaries and sinologists at first and only till recent years has it entered the horizon of ordinary westerners. This shift is much attributed to translation. Early translators are mostly missionaries and sinologists, whose intended readers are scholars with some understanding towards Chinese culture. Therefore, this kind of translation focuses on the Confucius connotations. Later, translators shift their focus to the literature aspect of The Book of Songs, in the hope of wider spreading and reception of this anthology. Love and marriage poems occupy a large percentage in this anthology, vividly reflecting the love and marriage life of pre-Qin people. As the most frequently seen component in these poems, images are the key to proper interpretation of these poems, thus the foundation for translating them.Reception Aesthetics, originating in the 1960s, shifts the focus of literature study from author and text to readers and reading process. Based on Phenomenology and Hermeneutics, the leading theorists of Reception Aesthetics put forward such concepts as "Horizon of Expectation", "Places of Indeterminacy and Blanks", "Concretization" and "Fusion of Horizons". Here Horizon of Expectation refers to thoughts, moral values, aesthetic level, and intuition and reception level. Only when horizon of readers matches that of literature text can reception and interpretation occur. On the other hand, however, people’s intuition and reception level improve along with the development of the society. As a result, authors, including translators, should increase places of indeterminacy and blanks for the purpose of invoking readers’imagination and understanding.This thesis, based on four English versions of The Book of Songs-including that of Legge’s, that of Waley’s, that of Xu Yuanzhong’s and that of Wang Rongpei and Ren Xiuhua’s-made a comparative study on the image translation, in the hope of coming up with some principles and specific strategies regarding image translation in The Book of Songs. This thesis employed Reception Aesthetics as the theoretical framework, especially selecting three concepts, namely, horizon of expectations, indeterminacy, and concretization to compare the image translation in four different versions. Based on the analysis, the author of this thesis continued to induce two translation principles (Reader-centered Principle and Source-culture Oriented Principle), and four specific strategies (option of images, selection of proper words, cohesive devices between images and omission of images). According to Reception Aesthetics, readers’horizon of expectations, instead of remaining the same, keeps being broken and broadened in the course of history. As a kind of recreation, translation should keep pace with times in order to satisfy the ever-changing horizon of expectations on readers’part. Therefore, though abundant in excellent English versions, the translation of The Book of Song should continue. Hopefully the translation principles and strategies proposed in this thesis can make some contribution to future translation work of The Book of Songs.

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