In search of a varied voice : translating dialect in English literature

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In search of a varied voice : translating dialect in English literature

 

Author: Yu, Jing
Title: In search of a varied voice : translating dialect in English literature
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2017
Subject: Literature -- Translations -- History and criticism.
Translating and interpreting.
English language -- Translating into Chinese.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Chinese and Bilingual Studies
Pages: xiii, 422 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2952792
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/8881
Abstract: This thesis investigates the translation of literary dialect as a nonstandard language in literature from English into Chinese. It focuses on how the varied voice created by the use of a literary dialect in speech representation in British and American fiction is reproduced in Chinese translations with a special reference to the Chinese translations of Tess of the d'Urbervilles, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Pygmalion published in China before 2012. A descriptive study is conducted within the framework of Toury's descriptive translation studies (DTS) and Bourdieu's field theory on the 11 translations of the three works. All the translations have used different linguistic varieties to systematically represent various levels of dialect variation in the source texts. This study examines the norm-governed and norm-breaking activities underlying the above translation practices and investigates the role of the translator played in the decision-making process in order to reveal the general tendencies, universals, norms, conditioning factors as well as irregularities and innovations as shown by the translations in rendering English dialects into Chinese. The research questions are: 1. How are literary dialects in British and American fiction translated into Chinese? 2. Why are they translated in these particular ways? 3. What factors may influence the translation decisions of a literary dialect? 4. Who usually does dialect translations and why? 5. How does dialect translation evolve from 1929 to 2012, a period that is covered by this study?
The research method is both descriptive and interdisciplinary, combining Dialect Density Measure (DDM) method and register theories from sociolinguistics. The thesis confirms the hypotheses on standardization, normalization, and lexicalization from previous studies on dialect translation, and proposes new hypotheses on the tendencies on dialect translation. This thesis also tests some of the hypotheses on the conditioning factors in relation to dialect, and proposes new hypotheses on other conditioning factors including the ST dialect type, prestige of the publisher and capital of the translators. The thesis concludes by proposing three new concepts on dialect translation. Firstly, dialect translation should take two sides of the variation into consideration. How the standard side of the variation is translated may alter, change or reverse the social identity and power structure constructed in the translation. Secondly, register features may function as sociolects in the translation of both sides of the dialect variation when they are used in the same way as dialect features do. Thirdly, in literary translation dialect density matters as much as dialect features. How dialect density is translated affects the social identity and characterization of the dialect characters and the social stratification within the dialect community. This thesis also contributes to translation studies as a whole by providing new insights into the study of norms and the role of translators in the translation process. Firstly, the concept of "pioneer translator" and "follower translator" is proposed for the first time and the different roles of the two types of translators are investigated in relation to the evolution of translation strategies. Secondly, it sheds light on the transformation process from the norm-breaking to the norm-making practices from the perspectives of the constructive roles played by the translators, and of the interaction between the field and the translation agents.

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