English translations of Shen Congwen's stories

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English translations of Shen Congwen's stories

 

Author: Xu, Minhui
Title: English translations of Shen Congwen's stories
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2011
Subject: Chinese fiction -- 20th century -- Translations into English
Translating and interpreting
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Chinese and Bilingual Studies
Pages: viii, 306 p. : ill. ; 30 cm.
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2441578
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/6105
Abstract: Shen Congwen is one of the most acclaimed writers in modern Chinese literature. His works have been translated into more than ten languages. The English translations cover his stories, essays, poems, and dramas. Of the stories alone, of the 44 that have been translated, there have been 70 translations. Given that these translations have come out at different times, through different channels and by different translators, the following questions present themselves: what differences exist among the translations, what has caused these differences, and what different effects do they produce? Despite the number of translations, studies of these translations are very limited. There are sporadic papers and a few MA theses on Gladys Yang's translation of 'Biancheng'. Few studies of the translations of Shen's other stories have been found. The present project is a comprehensive study of the translations based on a survey of all the English translations of Shen's stories. Adopting a case study method, I have selected those stories with three or more translations, resulting in fifteen TTs from four STs. Shen has long been acclaimed a stylist and his unique style has gained him world-renown, but it has also created translation problematics. This study focuses on his narrative style - his narrative commentaries and his lyrical narrative mode - to see how his style is represented in translation. Also, as this project is a study of translation problematics, the translators' overt narrative intrusions - their added notes - constitute another aspect of the study focus - the paratexts in narration of the translations. The present study has discovered that the biggest difference in translations is that between translations by the scholar and the non-scholar translators, rather than between the L1 and the L2 translators, or between the translators of the 1930s and 40s and those of the 1980s onwards. The scholar translators exert visible efforts to produce more adequate translations. These include keeping the original commentary functions, retaining the original lyrical narrative mode, and adding notes to explicate or supplement what is implied in the original texts. The non-scholar L1 translators are inclined to render translations that are more acceptable to the target readers' tastes. The L2 translators closely follow original narrative structures. Finally, the earlier translators more often resort to deletion or radical changes. It is believed that the significance of a translation in the literary field is determined by the positions of the SL/TL, of the original author, and of the translator. When the first two factors are the same, the position of the translator becomes decisive. Bourdieu's concepts of habitus, trajectory, capital, and field prove to have explanatory power. The various tendencies and choices betray the translators' dispositions, which are products of their structured habituses, and that these latter contribute to their translation strategies in a subconscious way.

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