Author: Wu, Chunming
Title: Towards norms in two translations of Hong Lou Meng : a corpus-based study
Advisors: Li, Dechao (CBS)
Degree: DALS
Year: 2021
Subject: Chinese fiction -- Qing dynasty, 1644-1912 -- Translations into English -- History and criticism
Translating and interpreting
Cao, Xueqin, approximately 1717-1763
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Faculty of Humanities
Pages: xv, 286 pages : illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: This study investigates the norms in the two translations of Hong Lou Meng (The Story of the Stone, translated by David Hawkes and John Minford, and A Dream of Red Mansions, translated by Yang Hsien-yi and Gladys Yang) through a corpus-based method. To encompass the multifarious aspects of norms in translation studies, an integrated model of norms is devised on the basis of the diverging perspectives about norms from previous scholars such as those of Levy, Even-Zohar, Toury, Chesterman, Hermans, and Chang. In this model, translational norms are conditioned by translation skopoi, the formulation of which are constrained by the norms of macro¬≠polysystems, such as political, ideological, economic, linguistic, literary, and translation norms. The norms of the two translations are described with reference to the three hierarchies of this integrated model. To describe the norms in the two translations, a corpus-based extended procedure based on approaches by Gideon Toury (1980; 1995; 2012), Jeremy Munday (1998; 2002) and Kaibao Hu (2016) was developed in this study. To carry out a corpus-based study, a comparable and two parallel corpora were compiled. The comparable corpus consisted of the two translations and the texts in the FLOB_K (Text category K "General fiction" in Lancaster-Oslo/Bergen Corpus of British English). The two parallel corpora consisted of the two Chinese source texts and the two translations respectively. The extended procedure included four phases. First, a multidimensional analysis approach (using Biber, 1988) was employed in the investigation of the acceptability of the two translations via the comparable corpus. Then, the speech presentation and Generic Structure Potential (Hasan, 2014) of the two translations were mapped onto the source texts to examine the translation relationships through the parallel corpora. Next, generalizations were suggested regarding initial norms of the two translations, based on the findings of the first two phases. Finally, a variety of paratexts were used to inform those generalizations from acontextual perspective. These include the preface to The story of the Stone and A Dream of Red Mansions, personal letters from David Hawkes, interviews with Yang Hsien-yi, his autobiography, and other historical documentaries concerning politics, ideology, economy, language, literature, and translation poetics in Britain and China during the 1960s and 1970s. In addition to providing thecontextual information of the two translations, they were used to generalize the skopoi of the two translations and the norms of the macro-polysystems in the two different target cultures.
The results of this study show that there are five contrasting elements between the two translations, which became evident in light of the integrated model of norms for translation studies: (1) The initial norms in the Hawkes-Minford translation were acceptability-oriented, whereas those in the Yang-Yang translation were adequacy-oriented; (2) the linguistic style of the Hawkes-Minford translation is in line with modern English fiction, whereas the style in Yang-Yang conforms to English fiction in the middle of the seventeenth and in the eighteenth centuries; (3) in terms of the narrative mode of presentation, Hawkes-Minford is showing-oriented, while the Yang-Yang translation is telling-oriented; (4) while the purpose of the Hawkes-Minford translation is to entertain Western readers, Yang-Yang translated the novel in order to promote a positive image of China; (5) the formulation of the skopoi of the translations are subject to the different target culture norms of the two macro-polysystems (English-speaking and Chinese, respectively). Because translational norms in Yang-Yang break the prevailing norms in Britain, their translation has not been well-received by Western readers. The significance of this study lies in its theoretical, methodological, and practical contributions. In terms of theory, it integrates different perspectives on norms and develops a comprehensive model for translation studies, making it possible to reveal the overdetermination of translation (Hermans, 1999, p. 128), that is, the, the constraint on translation by different variables (linguistic, cognitve, socio-cultural). Regarding methodology, the study proposes a corpus-based extended procedure within the framework of Descriptive Translation Studies (DTS). The corpus-based procedure is systematic and replicable; therefore, it is appropriate for use in empirical translation studies. In practice, this study reveals that a translation will only be well-received by a target audience when it is in line with the norms of the target culture. In other words, referral to target culture norms can be a useful guide for translation practitioners. Despite the contributions that this study makes to extant research, it is also limited to the two translated texts of HLM by two translators. Thus, a small comparable corpus consisting of the two TTs and texts in FLOB_K is used to distinguish the kinds of verbal formulations in the two translations. This in turn, may exaggerate the significance of norms in the target languages, as determined by the translators' idiosyncratic styles. To differentiate the constraint of the translational norms from the translators' style, it is necessary to add the oeuvre of Hawkes-Minford and Yang-Yang translations of Chinese classics other than HLM in the comparable corpus. Without these additions in the comparable corpus, the relevant conclusions in this study have been made with reference to other findings, as the last resort to ensure a unitary explanation. Even so, the speculative nature of concluding norms/ this process/ narrowly defined norms, additional texts of Hawkes-Minford translations of Chinese classics other than HLM is needed in explaining their translation behavior on explicitness-situatedness (Dimension 3 of Multi-Dimensional Analysis), which is more deviant from FLOB_K than the Yang-Yang translation. To expand the comparable corpus by adding Hawkes-Minford and Yang-Yang translation of Chinese classics other than HLM is a resource-intensive task; yet, information from these texts will help future research to establish a greater degree of accuracy regarding the issue of norms in the two translations of HLM.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: restricted access

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
5880.pdfFor All Users (off-campus access for PolyU Staff & Students only)10.88 MBAdobe PDFView/Open


Copyright Undertaking

As a bona fide Library user, I declare that:

  1. I will abide by the rules and legal ordinances governing copyright regarding the use of the Database.
  2. I will use the Database for the purpose of my research or private study only and not for circulation or further reproduction or any other purpose.
  3. I agree to indemnify and hold the University harmless from and against any loss, damage, cost, liability or expenses arising from copyright infringement or unauthorized usage.

By downloading any item(s) listed above, you acknowledge that you have read and understood the copyright undertaking as stated above, and agree to be bound by all of its terms.

Show full item record

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/11348