Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Translation

On the English Translation of Huangdi Neijing·Lingshu by Li Zhaoguo from the Perspective of Functional Equivalence

Author ZhangQingHua
Tutor LuoYaoGuang
School Guangxi Normal University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Classical Chinese medicine Huangdi Neijing English translation formative equivalence functional equivalence
CLC H315.9
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Huangdi Neijing, the collection of Su Wen and Ling Shu, which is the earliest Classical Chinese medicine (CCM) document existing today. The book contains a lot of knowledge in many fields in ancient times, such as Chinese ancient medicine, astrology, meteorology and phenology. It plays a significant leading role even today on the theoretical research and clinical practice of Chinese medicine. However, owning to the special knowledge, word choosing and the great difference in the syntactic structure from modern Chinese, it is indeed difficult to read through and thus promote these essences. Difficulties and troubles lying in this field mainly involve:a. Many historical documents are found lost due to the turbulence in the long history. The ones that handed down are not clearly readable or authentic, which leaves difficulties in the translation to modern Chinese, not to mention the English translation. b. The difference between new and old brought by cultural evolution can be also another difficulty. There is certain amount of words in modern Chinese which, after evolvement, are not the same meaning as in classical Chinese. It is thus of high importance to seek for authoritative explanation in modern Chinese so as to correctly and thoroughly understand these ancient Chinese. c. The influence on the quality of the English translation also comes from the Chinese level and medical background of the translator, especially those profound traditional theories on points, meridians, acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and the treating therapy, etc. It is still remained unsolved that how to translate these elusive theories smoothly and how to evaluate that if the translated version has faithfully restored the mien of the original text. The thesis attempts to make an analysis and research on the translation strategies of these CCM documents from the perspective of functional equivalence theory. It also illustrates the different effects produced by formative equivalence and functional equivalence in CCM translation application. All these efforts are aimed to be helpful to the development of CCM translation practice. As the case in translating some Chinese medicine words, the usual way is to use pin-yin directly so as to stress the endemism and specialty of these words. Yet this kind of "adaptation" does not curry favour with the foreign readers, getting little result in rendering ideas. It seems that a transliteration plus English explanation can be a more proper and adaptable way though it may make the translated text a little longer. When it comes to the translation of a single sentence or the whole discourse, it is rather hard to realize only a formative equivalence due to the loose structure, the frequent use of three or four- character phrases and auxiliary words in the original sentence. The only way is to analyze first the meaning of the text, turning them into clear and coherent English by epexegesis, phrasing or combination. Then additional paraphrasing should be added or specific sentence style should be adopted in order to emphasize the tone. By using these methods, foreign readers can thus gain an ample understanding of the Chinese text or even the medical mechanism, getting an appropriate conveying of the extensive and profound Classical Chinese medicine document and its cultural essence.The thesis is divided into five parts. The first part gives a brief introduction of the present state of Classical Chinese medicine translation, stating the significance of this thesis and its layout. The second part is the literature review, introducing respectively the formative equivalence and functional equivalence, as well as the main idea of Nida’s equivalence theory and the relative research on this field by domestic scholars. The third part elucidates the features of CCM document and the difficulties in translation. The fourth part draws the examples from Pro. Li Zhaoguo’s translation version of Huangdi Neijing, vividly illustrating the techniques adopted in his translation work. The fifth part is the conclusion, restating the general idea of this thesis and its limitation, probing a suggestion for further study.

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