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Reconstructing Coherence in English Translations of Yu Hua’s Three Avant-garde Fictions

Yang, Long (2017) Reconstructing Coherence in English Translations of Yu Hua’s Three Avant-garde Fictions. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This is a study which employs a linguistically-oriented approach to literary translation. The study pays attention to the translation shifts between Chinese source texts and English translations. The main objective of this research is to explore how the target texts rebuild coherence in four English translations of three Chinese Avant-garde fictions authored by Yu Hua. The study sets about identifying the translation shifts taking place in all of these translation, because translation shifts analysis can serve as the basis of descriptive studies (Toury 1980: 89-121). Based on these translation shifts, the study categorized them into three different kinds, namely those related to grammar, to semantics and to stylistics. Also, the study tried to explore how coherence was rebuilt in the target texts from three perspectives, which were grammatical coherence, semantic coherence and stylistic coherence. The analysis reveals several trends: (i) there is a generally distanced spatio-temporal point of view in the translations when we examine grammatical items. Also, there is generally an implicitation trend of deictic expressions, which is different from some previous research (Baker 1993, 1995). The combined effects would be that to rebuild spatio-temporal coherence, the narrative point of view in the translations tend to be distanced so that the events in the target texts become less personally and emotionally involved and less subjective. (ii) there is no or negligible explicitness or implicitness change in the translations in terms of semantic items. So, to rebuild coherence in the target texts, the translators did not spell out too much information. This would be faithful to the source texts to some extent. (iii) when it comes to stylistic expressions, this study found that generally speaking, the translation shifts revolve around free translation, which means that the translators would use another way of speaking to rebuild the stylistic coherence instead of focusing on their original literal meaning. As for the rest of stylistic changes, the number of explicitation and omission almost equals. In fact, these two kinds are not good practice as they both influence the distinguished stylistic features of source texts. It is hoped that this framework of grammatical, semantic and stylistic perspectives can be applicable to other texts or language pairs to compare the results and help gain more understanding of translation norms and universals.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Coherence, English translations, Translation Studies, Yu Hua, Chinese Avant-garde Fictions
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds)
Depositing User: Mr L Yang
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2017 13:24
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2017 13:24
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/18799

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