Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Translation

A Study of Different Translated Editions of Mencius by the Outlook of Skopos Theory

Author WeiXingNi
Tutor BaoTongFa
School Jiangnan University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords translation of ancient Chinese classics and records Mencius SkoposTheory translation purposes target readers
CLC H315.9
Type Master's thesis
Year 2013
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Ancient Chinese classics and records are the essence of the broad and profoundChinese culture, inheriting the long history and colorful civilization of the5000years.While Mencius, an exotic flower in it, occupies a quite important role in Chineseideological history. Mencius, recording the thoughts and deeds of Mencius anothersignificant representative in Confucian school after Confucius, is so meaningful forinheriting and carrying forward Confucianism which has a huge impact on Chinesesociety for thousands of years. Therefore, the translation of Mencius is tremendouslyimportant for both the world to absorb the beneficial ingredients of Chinese civilizationand for carrying forward and spreading Chinese culture.German functionalist Skopos Theory is a translation theory different fromtraditional ones which consider faith or loyalty to be the only standard. SkoposTheory advocates that the main factor that decides the translation process is the purposeof translation action while the main factor deciding the translation purpose is thecognitive tension of expected readers of the target text. Skopos Theory is adeconstructivism theoretical mode that studies translation from perspective of theacceptance of target text. It is oriented in the function of target text and the ultimatepurpose is the acceptance of the text. Skopos Theory emphasizes the utility oftranslation. As a kind of translation theory with the deconstructivism perspective,Skopos Theory breaks with the limitations of standard of value in traditional translationtheory loyalty and equivalence, stresses translators subjective initiative, fullyrespects function of the translated text and emphasizes that the property of translatedtext is primarily decided by its purpose and task. So it could be said that Skopos Theoryhas provided a theoretical basis for some translation practice that is verified to besuccessful but violates some existing translation standards, thus adding a newdimension to the exploration of translation study.On this basis, this paper tries to research on the combination of the study offunctionalist Skopos Theory and translation of Mencius. By the outlook of SkoposTheory, this paper makes a comparison and analysis of language styles, sentence patterns, culture-loaded words and cultural information among the three Englishtranslated editions of Mencius James Legge s edition, translation in Library ofChinese Classics and D. C. Lau s edition from linguistic and cultural perspectives.After that, it discusses and describes the differences among various translatorstranslation methods and translation strategies directed by different translation purposesand target readers, and makes an evaluation of these editions. Conclusions drawn are asfollows:1. When translation is undertaken, loyalty to the original text is essential;translation that deviates from the original meaning could not be called translation anymore. However, mechanical and static loyalty is not the only standard. In translation,loyalty should be taken into consideration as well as other factors, such as function ofthe target text, translation purpose and target readers. This is, actually, the objectivereflection of the ends justify the means advocated by Skopos Theory. Making clear ofthe translation purpose and being considerate for target readers cognitive levels andreading feelings are both indispensible factors for successful translations. Translation ofancient Chinese classics and records is no exception.2. Culture plays an assignable role in translation, especially for translation ofancient Chinese classics and records which embody rich cultural information. Therefore,different translators, nurtured by different cultures, will certainly show different culturalinclinations in their translations. As is shown in the three translated editions of Mencius,when translating culture-loaded words and statements that contain much culturalinformation, Chinese translators usually do a better job and could better transmit thecultural connotations of the original text, since Chinese translators are more proficientin Chinese culture; western translators growing up in a western cultural environment,however, tend to show a tendency for the western culture and to use western culture tointerpret Chinese culture.3. Studying the translation of ancient Chinese classics and records by the outlookof Skopos Theory is an effective try for new ways to translate ancient Chinese classicsand records, meanwhile, it could be considered a reference index for evaluating thequality of translations of Chinese classics; thus it is feasible. In summary, the significances of research on different translated editions ofMencius by the outlook of Skopos Theory include: first, it s a breakthrough intranslation theory and a new cut-in in perspective: from traditional one-dimensional andstatic perspective to overall and dynamic perspective, constructing a new theoreticalmode for translating ancient Chinese classics and records, infusing a so-called clearstream into the Chinese classics translation field. Next is the practical meaning. Itmakes those translated texts accepted the ones that are not word-for-word translationsto the original texts but could live up to the target readers expectations and express theessence of the original texts.

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