Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Translation

A Study of Shakespeare’s Plays from the Perspective of the Polysytem Theory

Author LiuYiLing
Tutor ChenLang
School Central China Normal University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Shakespeare’s work translation diachronic study polysystem theory translator’s subjectivity
CLC H315.9
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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At the end of last century, the great English playwright Shakespeare’s work was translated into classical Chinese. From then on, Shakespeare’s work was translated by lots of Chinese literature masters. From the version of classical Chinese to the version of script, the translator of different time adopted different translation strategy. This paper gives a diachronic description of the Chinese translations of Shakespeare from the perspective of polysystem theory and the translation strategies, and it also analyses the limitation of polysystem theory from the aspect of translator’s subjectivity.There are six chapters in this paper. The first chapter is a brief introduction of the aim and content of this paper; the second chapter is literature review, which is about the achievement and shortage of the national study on the Shakespeare’s work and polysystem theory; The third chapter introduces the origin and the central idea of polysystem theory, and the notion of translated literature in the polysystem theory. Besides, the paper applies the concept of translator’s subjectivity as a complement for the weakness of polysystem theory; the fourth chapter introduces the activities of translating Shakespeare; the fifth chapter is the most important chapter of this paper. It is a diachronic description of Chinese translation of Shakespeare from the perspective of polysystem theory. It at first gives a brief introduction to the system of Chinese language and literature, and then divides the whole history of translating Shakespeare into three periods according to the language characteristics of translations. On this basis, the paper studies the translators’ identities, ideas and their attitudes toward adequacy to explore the feature of translations; the sixth chapter is the conclusion.At the end of Qing Dynasty, the classical novel written in classical Chinese occupied the central place of the Chinese literature polysystem. So the Shakespeare and other foreign literature were translated in classical Chinese and were deleted ad changed randomly. After the May4th movement, the Chinese modern literature written in vernacular began to approach the center of Chinese literature polysystem. In this period, the vernacular version and classical Chinese version both appeared. This paper uses the translator’s subjectivity as a complement to explain this situation. After the Anti-Japanese war, Chinese modern literature occupied the central place of the Chinese literature polysystem, and the vernacular version of translated Shakespeare completely replaced the classical Chinese version.The study reveals that the translation of Shakespeare’s work experienced a series of change in China. In this process, lots of elements composed the complicated polysystem which affecting the translation’s position in Chinese literature polysystem.In this sense, the translation of the Shakespeare is different in relative history background. When the traditional literature is in the center and written in classical Chinese, the Shakespeare is translated in this way. When the modern literature is in the center and written in vernacular, the Shakespeare is translated in this way. When the traditional literature and modern literature are fighting for the center, the translator’s subjectivity would be very important in how to translate the Shakespeare individually. People’s ideology changes as the time goes on. In the new period, people will create better translation for the better result.Through the study of translation of Shakespeare from the perspective of polysystem theory, the translators would have more clearly realization of their translation and even their own. This paper provides a new way for the translators to study the different translation versions in the past, or to expect how the versions would develop in the future.

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