Dissertation > Language, writing > Linguistics > Translation Studies

A Relevance-theoretic Approach to Psalms Translation in Bible from TEV to TCV

Author LiuXiaoMeng
Tutor HuZongFeng
School Northwestern University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Bible Psalms TCV Relevance Theory
CLC H059
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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There is no doubt that Bible, the Christian canon, is one of the most predominant masterpieces in the western culture, which has a great effect on Chinese civilization throughout the historical process of Chinese Bible translation as well. The book of Psalms, one of the most invaluable classics in the Old Testament, is the most fabulous and beautiful psalms of all ages with the aim of pursuing for goodness, beauty and truth, which embraces the most colorful western culture. From the perspective of Ernest Gutt’s Relevance Translation Theory deriving from Sperber and Wilson’s Relevance Theory, this thesis attempts to explore the relevance-theoretic account of Psalms translation from Today’s English Version (TEV) to Today’s Chinese Version (TCV) in order to illustrate the interpretive resemblance between the original text and the translated version. In accordance with Relevance Theory, human communication is ostensive-inferential communication and context-dependent. Among this, Sperber and Wilson come up with the principle of relevance and the optimal relevance. Afterwards, their student Gutt, a famous scholar, introduces this theory to translation field. With regard to Relevance Translation Theory, Gutt argues that translation is an ostensive-inferential process, which is considered to be an interpretive use across language boundaries, ultimately aiming for the pursuit of interpretive resemblance between the original and the target text in relevant aspects, and it allows receptors to obtain the maximum contextual effects with the minimum processing effort. In addition, under the guideline of Gutt’s theory, two core translation approaches, namely, direct and indirect translation, are proposed to further illustrate the explanatory power of Relevance Theory in translation domain. Consequently, this thesis selects several typical examples from Psalms to do a systematic case study. By a careful study and analysis, this thesis adopts Relevance Translation Theory to account for the translation process of Psalms from TEV to TCV. In compliance with Gutt’s relevance-theoretic approach, the translator should act as a mediator to take the original speaker’s intention and the target hearer’s expectation and cognitive environment into full consideration in the pursuit of optimal relevance so that the original author’s intention and the target reader’s expectation will be in line. Based on this, the translator should choose the most suitable translation strategies to render Psalms into Chinese accordingly so as to make sure a successful translated version. It is hoped that this thesis will shed a new light on the future study.

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