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

The Realization of Translation Purpose

Author YangLiLi
Tutor ZhangLongKuan
School Central South University
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords skopos theory translation purpose faithfulness language features translation methods
CLC I046
Type Master's thesis
Year 2010
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With the continuous development of language and culture, there are always several translation versions of the same work with different features and styles. The traditional translation theory regards "faithfulness" and "equivalence" as standards of evaluating translation works and views translation as linguistic transfer. However, translation activities will easily be influenced by social, cultural and historical factors. Thus, to some extent, it is not scientific and objective enough to regard the "faithfulness" and "equivalence" as standards of evaluation.In view of various drawbacks which the traditional translation theory causes in dealing with translation problems, skopos theory, a core theory of the functionalist translation theory, appeared in Germany in the late 1970s. It regards translation as a purposeful human action, and highlights that the intended translation purpose determines various choices in the process of translation. The theory makes people pay more attention to the functional and socio-cultural factors in translation activities and makes translation criticism no longer adhere to the traditional "literal translation" and "free translation". Thus, its appearance offers a reasonable explanation for the various choices of translators in the process of translating and makes the evaluation of the translation works become more objective.The thesis aims to explore how the respective translation purposes of the two Chinese versions of Uncle Tom’s Cabin are realized on the basis of the skopos theory. What’s more, it also makes a detailed comparison of the two Chinese versions in faithfulness, language features and translation methods. The significance of these studies is to make a macroscopic and fair evaluation of the two Chinese versions, sum up the experience in translation, deepen the understanding towards translation and provide some guidance for the future translation study. In general, both Lin Shu’s Heinu Yu Tian Lu and Huang Jizhong’s Tang Mu Dabo De Xiaowu have achieved their intended translation purposes and fulfilled the needs of specific historical periods. The difference of the two versions lies in that Lin Shu’s classical Chinese version is concise, vivid and produces great social effect, but it has a lot of omission and translation mistakes; Huang Jizhong’s vernacular Chinese version is easy to understand and consistent with the requirement of the contemporary translation study, but it is not compact and concise enough.At last, the thesis argues that only the evaluation of translation based on the translation purpose and the real social effect can be regarded relatively scientific and fair. On the whole, it must be admitted that, the skopos theory provides a theoretical support for the free choices in translation, cultivates translators’sense of originality and avoids some mechanical translations and clumsy translations; but it is also undeniable that, too much freedom in the translation process may produce some random translations and translation mistakes. Therefore, in the process of translation, translators should keep a good balance between the free translation and the mechanical translation to produce translations with high quality.

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