Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Translation

Relevance Theoretical Approach to Translation of Cultural Elements in Chinese Film Subtitles

Author JingJing
Tutor QuanXiaoHui
School Northwest Normal University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords subtitle translation Relevance Theory cultural elements translation strategies
CLC H315.9
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Film can be viewed as an important way of amusing and receiving information for people. Film subtitle translation, as a newly developed branch, has gradually attracted attention and research of worldwide scholars. Translation is a kind of intercultural activity. The film subtitle translation not only has function of entertainment, but also takes the responsibility of spreading foreign cultures. Therefore, translations of cultural elements, in film subtitle, become very important. Under the framework of Relevance Theory of Sperber and Wilson, this paper attempts to analyses some cases of translation of film subtitles with cultural elements in order to obtain some effective strategies.Relevance Theory lays emphasis on the intention and inference in communicative activities, that is to say, the inference should be made about what the original speakers or writers intend to convey to the listeners or readers. In this process, the relevant information must be provided for the listeners or readers to infer easily the original meaning and the intention with minimal effort. This is the key issue in film subtitle translation, where subtitle translators are involved in the two-way inference and communication. On the one hand, subtitle translator must comprehend the original intention and the relevant information based on original films; on the other hand, they should take the cognitive environment of the target language viewers into account and provide information for them. In this two-way process, subtitle translators attempt to achieve the optimal relevance and also produce the optimal contextual effects to the target language viewers to understand the original intention and meaning with the least information-processing effort.This paper is composed of six chapters: chapter 1 introduces the research background and significance, presents the framework of this study; chapter 2 makes a literature review about study of characteristics and constraints of subtitle as well as some fruits of scholars at home and abroad in this filed; chapter 3 interprets Relevance Theory, the theoretical foundation of this study. And then, make an illustration of relationship between Relevance Theory and translation. Finally, make a definition and classification of cultural elements of film subtitles in this thesis; chapter 4 is the research design, which includes the research questions and the research methodology descriptive-explanary method. The source and some reasons of data are explained; chapter 5 is the research procedure. On the basis of classification of cultural elements from Nida, according to three Chinese films adopted in this thesis, subtitles with elements in these films are made a further classification: proper name, religious culture, material culture, ecological culture and historical events or folklores. Then, on Relevance Theory, subtitles with cultural elements are analyzed and discussed. At the same time, under the guide of Relevance Theory, considering some features and constraints of subtitle, strategies of reduction, substitution and explanation are employed; chapter 6 is the conclusion of this thesis, that is, Relevance Theory can be and should be the guideline in the decision-making process of the adoption of translation strategies in subtitles translations.On Relevance Theory, this thesis employs the classification of culture elements to analyze subtitles with cultural elements in these Chinese films, The Banquet, Curse of the Golden Flower and Red Cliff. This research can guide further research on film subtitle translation.

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