A systemic perspective on the translation of detective stories

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

A systemic perspective on the translation of detective stories

 

Author: Wang, Yan
Title: A systemic perspective on the translation of detective stories
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2015
Subject: Detective and mystery stories -- Translations into Chinese
Translating and interpreting
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of English
Pages: xv, 463 pages : illustrations
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2813295
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/8016
Abstract: This study is carried out within the scope of the academic discipline of Translation Studies (henceforth TS) interfacing with Systemic Functional Linguistics (henceforth SFL). Baker (2001: 277) states that TS is understood to "refer to the academic discipline concerned with the study of translation at large, including literary and non-literary translation, various forms of oral interpreting, as well as dubbing and subtitling". The Chinese translation of literary texts, detective stories to be specific, will be the object of this study. To discuss the issue of language inherent in translating for detective stories, my research echoes with Halliday's (1992) view of translation as a "meaning-making activity", a "guided creation of meaning" in which the issue of choice merits attention, particularly when the theory informing the study attending to the language of translation is SFL. In order to investigate the features of verbal clauses in detective stories and compare the differences in the two Chinese translations the translation in the early 20th century (henceforth TT1) and the translation in the late 20th century (henceforth TT2), nine short stories written by Conan Doyle (henceforth ST) and their two Chinese translations are selected for analysis and comparisons. And the main objectives of this study include: (1) to analyze different thematic patterns or choices occurring in verbal clauses; (2) to observe logico-semantic types and rhetorical relations in ST and TT1/TT2; (3) to identify different translator's choices in TT1 and TT2; (4) to investigate and interpret translators' choices in TT1 and TT2 from the perspective of context; and (5) to explore the interface between SFL and literary translation based on the theoretical framework developed for the present study. Located within the framework of DTS, this study is an empirical work, which conducts a descriptive research of the Chinese translations of detective stories. Adopting a bottom-up approach, this study starts with the lexico-grammatical stratum, to semantic stratum and then to contextual stratum within the SFL theoretical framework. And during the process of analysis and comparisons, both diachronic and synchronic comparisons are used to investigate differences between two Chinese translations in two periods and differences between various translators in the same period. This will bring new insight to comparisons of language pairs in two different historical moments, going beyond the scope of comparisons in the same period. The corpus in this study covers nine short stories written by Conan Doyle from the period between 1891 and 1905, and their two Chinese translations in wen yan (literary language: classical Chinese) and bai hua (plain language: colloquial Chinese) in 1917 and 2011 respectively. On the basis of systematic analysis and comparisons, this study makes its contributions in the following aspects: (1) theoretically speaking, this study contributes to both systemic functional linguistics and translation studies. In terms of systemic functional linguistics, this study connects the analysis and interpretations from the three strata of lexicogrammar, semantics, and context. In particular, at the semantic stratum, logico-semantic relations and rhetorical relations are compared, which enriches the analysis on the whole. And it is also an important attempt to analyze literal Chinese language from the perspective of systemic functional linguistics. In terms of translation studies, translators' choices are investigated synchronically and diachronically, which both demonstrates significant differences. (2) practically speaking, firstly, as previous studies suggest a lack of investigations at the semantic stratum, verbal projection is spelled out from various points in this study, particularly at the semantic stratum; secondly, verbal projection have been studied in the English context, but this present study makes one of the first attempts to conduct analysis in the Chinese context, including the classical Chinese language context; thirdly, since diachronic comparisons are rarely studied in terms of verbal projection, this study conducts both diachronic and synchronic comparisons.

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