Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Translation

A Comparative Analysis on the Two Chinese Versions of Vanity Fair from the Perspective of Relevance Theory

Author HuChangZhi
Tutor WuJianGuo
School Shanghai Maritime University
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords relevance theory translation Vanity Fair differences between English and Chinese translator
CLC H315.9
Type Master's thesis
Year 2007
Downloads 545
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Relevance Theory holds that translation is an ostensive-inferential process and that translation studies should be targeted at the mental mechanism of human being. Therefore, it treats communication as a competence rather than a behavior, and tries to specify what role information processing mechanism of the human brain plays in their communication.Translation, in its nature, is an intentional-inferential process between different cultures and languages. To be more exact, it consists in two intentional-inferential processes, and therefore involves two communicators and recipients, in which translators play the double roles as a communicator and a recipient. Relevance theory introduces the concept of dynamic context and interprets the process of translation according to relevance. In this way it associates the intentions of the author with the expectation of the target language reader. It maintains that translation process involves communication among three parts, namely, among the author, the translator and the target language reader.Ms. Yang Bi’s translation of Vanity Fair appeals greatly to readers, which has been hailed as a model and classic translation. Her translation runs smooth and flexible, not restricted by the original and innovatively rearranged. Both emotional changes of the characters and the author are vividly represented. Several decades later Professor Peng Changjiang, in his new translation, makes new innovations in terms of ways of expression and preserving the original style, which shows themselves in the ways of translation, angles of understanding, more updated language and preservation of the original stylistic properties.Mainly from the angle of the differences between English and Chinese, the thesis tends to compare different handling methods from the two Chinese versions. The first chapter is a detailed study of relevance theory and relevance translation theory. It involves lots of important concepts, like concepts of context, faithfulness, direct and indirect translations, and others, among which the priority is given to communicative clues and its applicability in preserving the stylistic properties of the original.The second chapter gives a brief introduction of Vanity Fair, the author William Thackeray, and its two Chinese versions, among which personality of characters, specialties of the works and the writing style are given special focus.The third chapter makes a comparison between the two translators in handling differences between English and Chinese, mainly from the diction, syntactic properties and stylistic features.The concepts in Relevance Theory, such as openness in meaning and the faithfulness, lead us to better understanding of the nature of translation and offer a better guideline for our translation practice. It holds that the choice of a particular approach to translation is mainly decided by whether it effectively transfers the communicative intention of the original and whether it conforms to the cognitive environment and expectation of the target language reader.There are many factors involved in the process of translation, and it is impossible to expect the relevance theory covers all these factors. However, what is worthy of our attention and exploration is that it provides a different perspective for translation study. It discards off the prescriptive rules in the process of translation and holds that translation is an ostensive-inferential process between languages, thus telling the true nature of translation. The concept of direct translation in it has opened a new way for preservation of stylistic properties of literary works.

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