Dissertation > Literature > Literary Theory > Literary Creation > Literary Translation

A Corpus-based Study of Language Use in Translated Chinese Children’s Literature

Author ZuoGuangYa
Tutor QinHongWu
School Qufu Normal University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords translation of children’s literature corpus-based translation studies linguistic feature
CLC I046
Type Master's thesis
Year 2010
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In China, translation of children’s literature started in late Qing dynasty, and since then, a large number of excellent children’s literary works have been translated into China. Children’s literature translation saw a vigorous and rapid development in the late 20th century, and excellent translations and inferior translations intermingle on children’s book markets. However, compared with the flourish of children’s literature translation, translation studies are inadequate. Studies about children’s literature translation stopped at the level of literary analysis and translation strategy and skill studies. Few researchers have done the studies of linguistics that are quite necessary. As children readers aged from 6 to 12 are of lower reading comprehension ability and receptivity, they need native and normative mother language and an optimized language acquisition environment.In line with modern trends of translation studies, this thesis employs the methods and tools of corpus linguistics and intends to do a target-oriented study about language use in translated Chinese children’s literary works. And the study is carried out on the basis of three small children’s literature corpora—translational Chinese children’s literature corpus, original Chinese children’s literature corpus and English classic children’s literature corpus, and comparison be made to assess translation quality and find out the deficiencies in it.This study finds that TCCLC shows a lower lexical density than OCCLC, and simplification is reflected on the use of content words—the majority of nouns and verbs used in TCCLC are of high frequency words and concrete superordinates, less idioms or allusions are adopted, in spite that TCCLC possesses a lower ratio of nouns and verbs. The frequency of function words use, especially the use of person pronouns, is higher in TCCLC which indicates the tendency of Europeanization on lexical level. Meanwhile, it leads to wordiness, redundancy and ambiguousness to translational language, which is against the language feature of being simple and clear in children’s literary works; reduction of spoken language is reflected on lower frequency of modal particles and onomatopoeias use, because of which translational language seems a bit more formal rather than colloquial. The average sentence length is longer, conjunction words and long attributives are highly used indicating the tendency of syntactic Foreignization and lengthy sentences, which are bound to hinder children’s reading and understanding; reduction of translation normalization is reflected on the translation of passives. Passives in English texts are mainly translated into single bei passives in Chinese, and some of the expressions are irregular. These findings show that there are language Europeanization and non-standard language uses in the translation of children’s literature, which exert bad impacts to children’s reading and language learning.

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