On Cultural Message in Translation

减小字体 增大字体 作者:佚名  来源:www.zhonghualunwen.com  发布时间:2010-05-24 16:53:10

[摘 要]Culture is an important factor which can not be avoided during translating.Because there are totally different cultures of two languages,it becomes more difficult to translate in an acceptable way for the reader.This article aims at analyzing the cultural message during translating and putting forward some methods of reducing the cultural distance between the original and target languages so as to produce a more effective translation.
  [关键词]cultural message translation methods
  Ⅰ.Some Information about Cultural Message
  It is no way easy to say what culture actually means,although it is a familiar word to us.Culture refers to the particular ideas,arts and way of life of a people or nation.And people's language,beliefs,habits,or even moral standards are all included in the ways of life.Because all these aspects of the people in two nations are different,the cultural information under the two languages in literature works could have a great distance.Thus the work of shortening this distance and making the target readers fully understand the author's intention is extremely important for the translator.
  In his book Language,Culture and Translating,Nida holds that:
  "For truly successful translating,biculturalism is even more important than bilingualism,since words only have meanings in terms of the cultures in which they function."(Nida,1993,110)
  According to Nida's opinion,we could know that language is not the only important element during translating.Language could play a role only when it is under some unique culture.Therefore,the translator should have a great knowledge of both the languages and the cultures and some devices to render the cultural flavor to the target readers.
  Ⅱ.Translation of Chinese Cultural Message
  1.Translation of People's Names
  The translation of people's names seems simple but actually complicated.While translating the normal people's names in our daily communication,there are some rules.The orders of the fist name and family name are totally different between Chinese and English.That is to say,family name goes before fist name in Chinese,while fist name is followed by family name in English.However,in literature works,there are lots of special names which could reflect the character of the hero.These names are needed to be properly rendered in order to maintain the cultural flavor of the original text.
  In Tomorrow,Lu Xun used the names“红鼻子老拱”“and“蓝皮阿五”to reflect the unique features of the two persons.And Yang Xianyi and Gladys Yang rendered them into"Red-nosed Gong"and"Blue-skinned Awu".This translation successfully retained the original culture of this literature.While translating these nicknames,free translation is much preferred.
  2.The Translation of Idioms
  In both Chinese and English,there are lots of idioms.Idiom,which is very common to see,is a combination of words.When they combine as a whole part,they have some special meanings,but if they are separated and read one by one,its meaning would be totally different from the whole part.In Chinese language,there are a large number of idioms,which could make the language more vivid,succinct,and elegant.This case is the same as in English language.Since idioms always have their unique meaning that foreigners no way easily understand,the translating of them needs much more devices.

 If one wants to accurately represent the cultural flavor under an idiom,he could use three devices of translation according to different situations.They are totally correspondent translation,literal translation and free translation.The translator should choose the method based on the acceptable degree of the idiom for the target readers.
  Ⅲ.Methods to Keep the Cultural Flavor
  To maintain the original cultural information,the translator has to apply some devices,which could be summed up to three methods—literal translation,free translation and combination of literal and free translation.
  1.Literal Translation
  Literal translation is the most preferred method while translating.It requires the translation must be equivalent with the source text on form,structure,content and style.Literal translation can be used in two conditions.Firstly,it could be found in the target language the same cultural expressions as in the source language.Secondly,the source cultural massage is understandable and acceptable for target readers.For instance,the Chinese phrase“锦上添花”could be literally rendered into"add flowers on the brocade".This literal translation is more vivid and understandable than an indicated explanation.And the target readers could fairly imagine what this phrase wants to express and its connotative meaning.

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