Two English translations of the Chinese epic novel Sanguo yanyi : a descriptive and functionalist study

Feng, Lei (2012-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This comparative study investigates the English translations of China’s first novel, Sanguo yanyi. The focus is firstly on describing the factors that affect the production of each of the translations and secondly on identifying and determining the approaches and strategies used by the two translators. The primary objective of the study is to gain a better understanding of literary translation between two distinctly different languages by objectively describing and analyzing the factors relevant to the production of the two translations. The secondary objective is to evaluate the two translations by using the functionalist approach to translation. To this end, the study determines which of the two translations better serves the purpose of providing South African students of Chinese with insight into and appreciation of some aspects of Chinese culture which would enhance their Chinese studies. The key theories and models that are introduced and applied are Descriptive Translation Studies (DTS), which was mainly established by Gideon Toury in the 1980s and the Functionalist Approach, which was established by Vermeer and Reiss also in the 1980s and further developed by Nord. DTS focuses on pragmatic aspects, such as social, cultural and communicative practices instead of only on linguistic units. Within this framework, decisionmaking processes and translational norms of the two translators of Sanguo yanyi are examined. Three representative chapters of the source text and their translations are selected as the focus of the investigation. Furthermore, a description of the entire translation process is provided – from the translators’ original planning and agents acting as patrons of the project to the approaches and strategies that the translators are considered to have adopted in the process of translating. Within Functionalism the function of the target text in the target culture determines which aspects of the source text should be transferred to the target text. From this theoretical approach the findings regarding the translation strategies and processes in the translations of Sanguo yanyi are used to ultimately determine the extent to which the translators succeed in conveying the collective memory of some of the cultural-historical issues in China to the target texts, while at the same time making the texts accessible to Western (South African) students.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In hierdie studie word daar ’n vergelykende ondersoek na twee Engelse vertalings van China se eerste roman, Sanguo yanyi, onderneem. Daar word eerstens gefokus op ’n beskrywing van die faktore wat die produksie van elk van die vertalings beïnvloed en daarna word die benaderings en strategieë geïdentifiseer wat deur die twee vertalers gebruik is. Die primêre doel van die studie is om ’n beter begrip van literêre vertaling tussen twee beduidend verskillende tale te verkry deur die faktore wat ’n rol in die betrokke vertaalprosesse speel op ’n objektiewe wyse te beskryf en te ondersoek. As sekondêre doelstelling word die twee vertalings binne die raamwerk van die funksionalistiese benadering tot vertaling geëvalueer. Daar word naamlik ondersoek watter een van die vertalings die beste slaag in die doel om aan Suid-Afrikaanse studente ’n dieper insig in en groter waardering vir sekere aspekte van die Chinese kultuur te verskaf ten einde hulle studie van die Chinese taal aan te vul. Die belangrikste teorieë en modelle wat gebruik word, is deskriptiewe vertaalstudie (DTS), wat as navorsingsrigting binne vertaling hoofsaaklik deur Gideon Toury in die tagtigerjare gevestig is, en funksionalisme, wat ook in die tagtigerjare deur Vermeer en Reiss ontwikkel is en later deur Nord uitgebrei is. DTS fokus op pragmatiese aspekte soos sosiale, kulturele en kommunikatiewe praktyke eerder as bloot op linguistiese eenhede, en die besluitnemingsprosesse en vertaalnorme van die twee vertalers van Sanguo yanyi word binne hierdie raamwerk ondersoek. Drie verteenwoordigende hoofstukke van die bronteks en hulle vertalings word as die fokus van die ondersoek gebruik. Verder kom ’n bespreking van die vertaalprosesse in die geheel aan bod – vanaf die vertalers se aanvanklike beplanning en agente wat as patronate van die projek optree tot die resepsie en invloed van die doeltekste in die Engelssprekende wêreld. Binne die funksionalisme bepaal die funksie van die doelteks binne die doelkultuur watter aspekte van die bronteks na die doelteks oorgedra word. Vanuit hierdie teoretiese benadering word die bevindinge rakende die vertaalstrategieë en –prosesse in die vertalings van Sanguo yanyi gebruik om uiteindelik te bepaal in watter mate die vertalers daarin slaag om die herinnering aan kultuurhistoriese kwessies in China in die doeltekste behoue te laat bly en die tekste terselfdertyd vir Westerse (Suid-Afrikaanse) studente toeganklik te maak.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/71732
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