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A Descriptive Study of Chinese Translation of English Film Titles:a Corpus-Based Approach

Author: LiuTengTeng
Tutor: ZhangXu
School: Central South University
Course: Translation
Keywords: film title translation descriptive study translation universal case study corpus norm
CLC: H315.9
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2012
Downloads: 15
Quote: 0
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With China’s reform and opening up to the outside world in the past three decades, especially after we entered the WTO, the quantity of films introduced into China has experienced a flourishing growth, among which the British and American films have become the main stream. It is undeniable that as an important and powerful vehicle of cultural exchanges, films play an extraordinarily influential role in the modern society. Meanwhile, as an important part of a film and the first part to be directly confronted with the audiences, the translation of film title plays a critical role in the promotion of the film production in the international film market. Film title is also a portion of the social language, as a result, it surely relates to aspects of the social culture, such as politics, economics, history, religion, etc.. Therefore, how to bridge the comprehension gap of the audiences from different cultural backgrounds is crucial and urgent in film title translation. However, as an essential part of film translation, the translation of film titles hasn’t been paid due attention to, and a systematic and feasible study to introduce film title translation is still in lack. So far, studies of film title translation already done seem mostly confined to the traditional translation studies, which one-sidedly stress the "equivalence" between the source and target texts and simply sum up the translation standards or strategies while in-depth studies on the socio-cultural reasons underlying varied strategies applied are in serious lack, let alone the descriptive study of film title translation by the aid of corpus. Therefore, the research in this thesis is quite necessary.Adopting an empirical approach, this thesis aims to observe, describe and explain the transition between the source text and target text from the perspective of Descriptive Translation Theory. The thesis consists of six parts with the overall movement of this study going from theory to practice. The first part is an introduction to the background, research questions, methodology, research scope and expected findings. Chapter One illustrates the theoretical basis, that is the Descriptive Translation Studies (DTS), mainly including the development, characteristics, methods and significance of DTS. In Chapter Two, proceeding from the functions and naming methods of film titles, the importance of film titles is demonstrated, meanwhile, a comparison between Chinese and English film titles is made from the perspectives of linguistic and cultural difference. The emphasis of this thesis is the application of DTS, which will be illustrated in detail in Chapter Three. Taking the film titles of Oscar winners and the nominated films as the study objects, a small-scaled corpus will be constructed, utilizing related retrieval software and taking the high-frequency words as research method, some objective statistics will be calculated from the corpus. According to the statistics concluded above, the author aims to probe into the translation universal in the Chinese translation of English film titles under the political, economic and cultural background, once the assumption of translation universal is postulated, more cases will be employed to testify, modify or even overthrow the assumption. In Chapter Four, the author not only explores the translation norms conformed to by the translator during the translation process, but also sums up the main translation strategies adopted under the guidance of corresponding translation norms and their effects. The last part is the conclusion where the content and significance of the research are evaluated, meanwhile, the limitations of the thesis are also pointed out.

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