Dissertation
Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Translation

Translation Strategies of English Animal Idioms from the Perspective of Equivalence Theory

Author HuFang
Tutor SunLiXia
School Dongbei University of Finance
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords English Animal Idioms Equivalence Theory Cultural Comparison Semantic Comparison Translation Strategies
CLC H315.9
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Animals have co-existed with human beings since the existence of mankind. Therefore animals played a significant role in the survival and development of human being. Animals have close connection with human beings, so connected that they are inseparable. Yet human beings, who are animals’ best friends and should naturally contribute to keeping and developing of animal words, have failed to shoulder the responsibility to develop animal vocabularies. Their emotional attitude towards animals, whether to adore, sympathize, loathe or fear, existed in languages and became an indispensable part of culture. Of all languages all over the world, there are numerous words related with animals. This is partly because apart from their unique literal lexical information, animal names also convey rich cultural connotations.However, as each country differ in their economic development pace, geographical condition, historical background; religious belief and customs, even the same animal idioms of different languages convey different cultural connotations. Therefore, language learners should understand animal idioms from the perspective of cultural connotation. Otherwise it would be difficult for language learners to conduct cross-cultural communication.For example, Chinese may not understand why raining has any connection with cats and dogs, while Americans naturally think "raining cats and dogs" means "raining heavily". Literally, it is very confusing! Chinese have similar example,“只羡鸳鸯不羡仙”,which is difficult for English speaking people to understand what it is about.In English, there is no word equal to“鸳鸯”Another example is the poem“春蚕到死丝方尽”,because silkworm is nothing more than a little worm that spits silk; they cannot understand why it means the spirit of dedication in the eyes of the Chinese. What’s worse, even the same animal can have different metaphorical meaning. Dragon, for example, stands for evil in English speaking countries; in China, dragon symbolizes power and authority. The Han People think dragon is Omni-potent, capable of commanding rain and wind, riding mists and clouds, a symbol of luck and power.Although academic authorities have published many books and dictionaries, different cultures are still experiencing different understanding of animal vocabularies, and the differences are leading to misunderstanding of connotation of animal words. So, clearly the effort is not sufficient. Of all literary works, there has been little description of how to translate these idioms properly. This thesis focuses on the translation techniques of English animal idioms by analyzing the origins of English animal idioms and characteristics. Hopefully, this thesis can bring people more thoughts and attention.ChapterⅠtalks about the background and significance of the study. Chapter II focuses on Nida’s Equivalence Theory from the perspectives of conception, theoretical basis and requirements of Equivalence Theory. The author also made some research on previous studies abroad and in China. Chapter III is all about English animal idioms, the author talks about the definition and origin of English animal idioms, and next the author compares English animal idioms with Chinese animal idioms from the perspectives of semantic and cultural comparisons. By semantic comparison, there are 3 aspects:the same animal’s idioms with the same conceptual meaning, the same animal’s idioms with different conceptual meanings and different animals’idioms with similar conceptual meaning. By connotative meaning, there are four aspects:the same animal’s idioms with the same connotative meaning, the same animal’s idioms with different connotative meaning, different animals’ idioms with the same connotative meaning and different animals’idioms with different connotative meanings. Chapter IV elaborates on translation of English animal idioms. First, it starts from the definition, principles and types of translation. Next it analyzes the relationship between translation, culture and language. After analyzing the problems in animal idioms translation, it puts great emphasis on the methods for English animal idioms translation:literal translation, literal translation with explanatory notes, liberal translation and supplementation.Still there are some limitations in this thesis; more examples need to be given to verify the practical values of the translation strategies listed above. More efforts need to be done.

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