Towards a quantitative & qualitative stylistic approach to ideational construal in the translation of narrative discourse : norms and readers' responses revisited--a corpus-based study on Hong-lou Meng and its two English translations

關於敘事文本翻譯中概念識解的文體定量與定性分析 : 規範與讀者反應重訪--一項基於《紅樓夢》及兩個英譯本的語料庫研究

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Author(s)

  • Yuanyuan MU

Detail(s)

Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Award date15 Feb 2012

Abstract

Underpinned by Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), stylistics, contrastive rhetoric, (Product-oriented) Descriptive Translation Studies (DTS) and its applied extension to translation criticism (reader-response criticism in particular), this dissertation develops an integrated descriptive-explanatory framework aiming at a stylistic characterization of the textual accountability for translation criticism (readers' responses in particular) on the basis of a corpus-based study on Hong-lou Meng and its two English translations (David Hawkes's translation and Yang Hsien-yi & Gladys Yang's translation). In the descriptive part of this research, it involves a set of parallel corpora of the Chinese source text and the two English translations of Hong-lou Meng, and gauges the tendencies of conformity of the two translations to either the source system norms or the target system norms based on the statistical generalizations and qualitative analyses of transitivity processes (representing experiential construal) and rhetorical structures (representing logical construal) in view of the discoursal ideational construal. In the explanatory part of this research, on the other hand, responses to the two translations are observed from readers in both the source culture community and the target culture community. The findings from the quantitative & qualitative stylistic analyses as illustrated in the descriptive part of this research, informed by Norm Theory in DTS, explain why readers from different interpretive communities have responded to the two translations in such different ways, and make their responses textually accountable. With regard to the research methodology, for the annotation of rhetorical structures and transitivity processes in the present parallel corpora, the RST Tool developed by Michael O'Donnell (O'Donnell, 1997) was used in this research for rhetorical-structure annotation (RST annotation) and the TPA Tool was developed by the author of this dissertation in collaboration with Dr. Ma Ming from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) for transitivity annotation in this research. To maintain the objectiveness in sampling, 342 pieces of text samples from the Chinese source text and its two English translations of Hong-lou Meng are randomly collected by the random sampling software Research Randomizer for annotation. The statistical methods concerning correlation coefficient are also applied in this study to identify and analyse the tendencies of the RST features and transitivity features of each of the two translations in relation to the tendencies in the source text. Qualitative analysis, in terms of the grounding effects of transitivity in relation to rhetorical structures, is combined with quantitative analysis to provide a more rigorous investigation of the textual features. In the descriptive part of this research, the findings from the quantitative and qualitative analyses of the transitivity processes and rhetorical structures in the parallel corpora are listed as follows and contribute to the textual accountability for readers' responses to the two translations. Hawkes's translation shows a greater tendency to conform to the western narrative norms of emphasizing "events" (Plaks, 1977) and the expression of individual feelings (Kahler, 1987), and also conforms to the English typological norms of hypotactic structuring. On the other hand, the Yangs' translation shows a greater tendency to conform to the Chinese narrative norms of "more emphasis on non-events" (Plaks, 1977) and the indirectness" in expressing individual feelings (Bishop, 1956), and also conforms to the Chinese typological norms of paratactic structuring. In the explanatory part of this research, the findings from textual investigation in the descriptive part, informed by Norm Theory in DTS, make the following readers' responses textually accountable. The conformity of the Yangs' translation to the source system norms indicates its "adequacy" (Toury, 1995) as compared to the source text and explains the more favorable responses from readers in the source culture community than the target culture community, while the conformity of Hawkes's translation to the target system norms indicates its "acceptability" (Toury, 1995) in the target culture and explains the more favorable responses from readers in the target culture community than the source culture community.

    Research areas

  • Translations into English, History and criticism, Cao, Xueqin, approximately 1717-1763 Hong lou meng, Corpora (Linguistics), Translating and interpreting, Discourse analysis, Narrative