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Representing Cultural Elements in History

Author: LinLin
Tutor: YueFeng
School: Fujian Normal University
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: Translation Culture Zuo Zhuan Comparative Study
CLC: H315.9
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2012
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Zuo Zhuan, the earliest Chinese annals among those extant, has exerted great influence on the shaping of the Chinese literature, culture and ideology.The research is a comparative investigation into the three English renderings of Zuo Zhuan from linguistic and cultural aspects, based on translation theories, including those related with functionalistic translation theory, foreignization and domestication. The linguistic analyses consist of lexical and syntactical analyses. The former comprises the study of interchangeable characters and euphemisms while the latter is composed of sentence patterns and syntactical mistranslations. In the chapter, discrepancies or inaccuracies of related translations are delved into to spot out the underlying reasons and solutions. On the cultural level, some culture-loaded terms are deliberated on, including concepts, titles, geography, gods and evils, wares and ceremonies, numbers and units. Different translation strategies are applied in the presentation of cultural elements, which reveal the latent influence on the translations. Based on the previous discussion, it is then pointed out that the skopos of the translations, the subjectivity of translators, the social and historical backgrounds all have their share of influence on the translations, accounting for the diversity of translations and the choices of translation strategies. The comparative study of the three translations of Zuo Zhuan throws light on the proper evaluation and strategies of translations of Chinese classics. Inaccuracies in the translations are more than questions related with what is right or wrong; instead, they reveal the cryptic information about the translations. Translation of Chinese classics calls for the preservation and promotion of Chinese culture, which means translators should resort to foreignization as much as possible. Nevertheless, they should also pay heed to the acceptability of the target audience and secure intratextual coherence.

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