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

A Corpus-based Study of Explicitation and Simplification in English Translations of Tao Te Ching

Author ZiZhengQuan
Tutor HuXianYao
School Southwestern University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Tao Te Ching corpus-based translation studies translation universals explicitation simplification
CLC H315.9
Type Master's thesis
Year 2010
Downloads 383
Quotes 5
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This thesis aims to explore the two distinct features of translation, explicitation and simplification, two of the Translation Universals, in Tao Te Ching English translations through corpus-based approach. Most of the studies on translation universals in English-Chinese and Chinese-English by now have been focused on source texts and translated texts in modern language (both Chinese and English), but few studies have to do with exploring these features in translated texts of Ancient Chinese classic works. It needs to be testified that whether the translation universals are recurrent and distinct features of the translated texts of Ancient Chinese classic works. In order to testify this hypothesis, three corpora are constructed. One is the Tao Te Ching English versions corpus (TTC for short) consisting of 20 full English translated texts of Tao Te Ching. At the same time, a comparable corpus (EST for short) was built, which consists of ten English classics by choosing about thirty thousand words from each works. Besides, the researcher chose ten classic works which were translated into English by different translators from other languages and selected about thirty thousand words from each book to compile a reference corpus (ETT). For the need of study, each corpus was tagged through CLAWS 5 online.To testify the hypothesis of explicitation, the author tested the occurrence frequency of the optional reporting that after reporting verbs SAY, SEE, MEAN, and THINK. The researcher also investigated the contracted and long forms of the present-forms of WILL, BE, and HAVE after pronouns (here only I, you, she, he, we and they). The results show that the occurrence frequency of the optional reporting that in TTC corpus is higher than that of in the other two corpora, and the frequency of long forms of the present-forms of WILL, BE, and HAVE is also higher than that of in the EST and ETT. On exploration to the simplification, the author examined the standard type/token ratio (STTR), the lexical density (LD), and the average sentence length (ASL). The results show that the STTR and LD in TTC are higher than that in EST and ETT, but the ASL in TTC is lower than that in EST and ETT.The empirical investigations into the translation features of Tao Te Ching in explicitation and simplification reveal that the explicitation feature is significant, but the results could not apply to the hypothesis of feature of simplification. There might be two reasons for it. One is the characteristics of Tao Te Ching source text contains more content words than function words in Ancient Chinese language so that in certain degree it influences the translated texts. So it follows a similar tendency of the source texts with a respectively higher LD. The other one is that the STTR is sensitive to the size of corpus. It reveals that other more measures for simplification are needed in terms of detect the feature of simplification in translated texts of Ancient Chinese classic works.

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