Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Translation

On the Translation of Chinese Puns from the Perspective of Functional Equivalence

Author LiZuoZuo
Tutor ChenLiXia
School Xi'an University of Engineering
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords Functional Equivalence Pun Chinese-English translation Hong LouMeng
CLC H315.9
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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As a traditional figure of speech, pun expresses surface meaning and impliedmeaning using homonym or homophone. It displays humor and intelligence and isused widely. However, for a long time, the translation of puns was regarded as a hardjob, or even an impossible task. In fact, as a kind of rhetoric device, puns are able tobe translated, and the key point is how to translate it. Nida’s “Functional Equivalence”provides a new perspective for pun translation. This theory emphasizes theimportance of target readers’ response, not the form of language. According to Nida’spoint of view, the basic request of translation is to make the target readers understandand appreciate the target text just like the source language readers do. The traditionaltranslation theory focuses on the relationship between target language and sourcelanguage, but functional equivalence focuses on the response of the target readerswhich makes this response the standard of measuring translation quality.“FunctionalEquivalence” emphasizes the importance of text function and the purpose oftranslation, and also points out that the translation should produce the same effect inthe target text as in the source language.This thesis aims at analyzing pun translation in great literary work Hong LouMeng by using Nida’s functional equivalence. There are many different versions ofthis work, while the two most famous ones are: A Dream of Red Mansions translatedby Yang Xianyi&Gladys Yang and The Story of the Stone translated by DavidHawkes and John Minford. Based on the translation strategy of puns used in the twoEnglish versions, the success and insufficiency of pun translation in the two Englishversions are analyzed. Then the thesis discusses how to properly use translationstrategy in dealing with these problems and introduce more Chinese classic literature works to the world with different cultures, and in achieving better communicationbetween the east and the west. Through the analysis and comparison, readers couldalso appreciate the translated versions much better. What’s more, they can have a realtaste of the translating technique and strategy, and then realize that “FunctionalEquivalence” plays a very important role in the process of pun translation.

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