Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Translation

A Case Study of Yan Fu’s Reframing Translation of Evolution and Ethics from the Perspective of Mona Baker’s Narrative Theory

Author LiZuo
Tutor ChenLang
School Central China Normal University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Yan Fu Tian Yan Lun Mona Baker narrative theory reframing translation
CLC H315.9
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Recently among the scholars within the western academic circle, there has been a new tendency to apply the notion of narrative to all activities and disciplines, with new research fields being explored and studies being more productive. Such research method in fact is an interdisciplinary application of narratology. Alternative understandings could be gained if a cultural product, an everyday phenomenon or a social activity etc. is interpreted from the perspective of narratives. As a scholar with a interdisciplinary view, Mona Baker, a renowned Professor of translation studies at the University of Manchester, draws on narrative theory in social and communicative context, to explore various ways in which translators accentuate, undermine or modify narratives in the process of disseminating them. Her translation studies are carried out under the fundamental idea that narratives represent and constitute reality at the same time.In view of this, the present thesis attempts to apply Mona Baker’s narrative theory to investigate translation process of Tian Yan Lun, a translation work by the outstanding scholar Yan Fu in Late Qing Dynasty. Tian Yan lun is translated from the biological work Evolution and Ethics, written by the famous British biologist Thomas Huxley. And Tian Yan Lun came as a huge hit upon the then endangered Chinese society when it was published. Through the means of introducing advanced western works, Yan Fu greatly aroused crisis consciousness of common Chinese people, and his translation exactly corresponded to the strong desire of progressive Chinese intellectuals with an aim of saving the country by seeking truths from the West. Another contribution of everlasting worth made by Yan Fu in Tian Yan Lun, is the three-character translation principle "xin, da, ya", put forward in his preface to Tian Yan Lun. Yan Fu’s thoughts on translation are regarded as groundbreaking in the history of modern translation theory. Thus Tian Yan Lun, enjoying a high reputation in the academic fields such as history of ideas, literatures and translations, has long been a focus due to its profound impact upon society.When it comes to a detailed analysis of Tian Yan Lun, at first some of unconventional sites are listed, like the preface by Wu Rulun, a leading figure of Tongcheng School, and Yan Fu’s notes at which refraining translation is achieved, and then the thesis offers several examples of refraining strategies such as temporal and spatial framing, selective appropriation of textual material, framing by labeling and repositioning of participants. After a detailed illustration of translated text, the author of the thesis hopes to clarify in what way Yan Fu, through working his own patriotic ontological narrative into the conceptual narrative of Thomas Huxley’s biological work Evolution and Ethics, effortlessly contributed himself to the construction of a public narrative of saving Chinese people from extinction and striving for progress, with China embedded into a meta-narrative of modernity.

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