Author: Wang, Bo
Title: Lao She's Cha Guan (teahouse) and its English translations : a systemic functional perspective on drama translation
Degree: DALS
Year: 2017
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Chinese drama -- Translations into English
Drama -- Translating
Department: Faculty of Humanities
Pages: xviii, 356 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: As an appliable theory, the appliability of Halliday's systemic functional linguistic framework has been widely recognized in translation studies. Within this framework, a text could be described by the different metafunctional modes of meaning: the ideational (experiential and logical), the interpersonal, and the textual. Thus, translation involves the recreation of all the four modes of meaning, and could be understood as the recreation of simultaneous choices among various options in logical, experiential, interpersonal and textual systems. This thesis aims to illuminate translation as a linguistic process and to apply Systemic Functional Linguistics to the study on drama translation. It investigates the two English translations and the Chinese original of a drama entitled Teahouse, which has been written by Lao She, and translated by Ying Ruocheng and John Howard-Gibbon respectively. In the data of Teahouse, three kinds of text are found, namely dramatic dialogue, dramatic monologue and stage direction. Based on a pilot study, a theoretical framework used for the analysis is built, and different choices are considered in the analysis in accordance with the different kinds of text. In dramatic dialogue, choices in the systems of THEME, MOOD and MODALITY are analyzed and compared. In dramatic monologue and stage direction, choices in the systems of THEME, TAXIS and LOGICO-SEMANTIC TYPE are examined. Various kinds metafunctional translation shifts are identified, quantified, and discussed based on the matrix of metafunctional translation shifts proposed in Matthiessen (2014b). These translation shifts, however, are different from the errors made in translation, as equivalence cannot be maintained in all levels and dimensions, translators thus have to make shifts in one dimension or two. After the lexicogrammatical analysis, the context for the source text and the two target texts are described in accordance with the three contextual parameters, i.e. field, tenor, and mode. These descriptions are then related to some of the translators' lexicogrammatical choices.
The present study has contributed to both Systemic Functional Linguistics and translation studies in the following perspectives: (1) Theoretically, this thesis has its contribution in its application of SFL to translation studies, specifically, to the study of drama translation. Despite the other approaches of engaging with translation generally found in the literature, translation is here considered as a linguistic process, and is therefore illuminated as a linguistic process. In this way, the appliability of SFL is emphasized. (2) By integrating the dimensions outlined in Matthiessen (2011), such as stratification, metafunction, instantiation, etc., an analytical framework is built with a purpose of applying SFL to study drama translation. This framework not only provides linguistic evidence to support evaluation and criticism, but also enables us to examine drama translation from the perspective of SFL. (3) The present study is also one of the first attempts to apply and further develop the metafunctional translation shifts proposed in Matthiessen (2014b). Based on the lexicogrammatical analysis, different kinds of metafunctional translation shifts are found and further categorized, with the more delicate sub-categories being elaborated, quantified, and discussed. (4) By analyzing the data in English and Chinese, this study also reflects the systemic contrasts between the two languages and will contribute to multilingual studies in SFL. In addition, in terms of description, this thesis is also one of the first attempts to analyze Chinese drama from a systemic functional perspective. (5) The detailed lexicogrammatical analysis also has its implications on translation practice. The present study is expected to provide translators with the tools to actually examine and diagnose the issues in translation. It also reveals the options and challenges that translators may meet in translation, enables them to know more theoretically and professionally about language. In addition, it helps them to be aware of systemic probabilities, as translators are subconsciously aware of systemic probabilities, either in terms of the general system or the generic subsystem of their translated work. (6) The lexicogrammatical analysis attempts to refute the claims of the existence of translation universals that are frequently seen in various literature. Further evidence for House's (2008) claims that it is futile to look for translation universals are provided in the present thesis.
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