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To Foreignize or To Domesticate

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To Foreignize or To Domesticate

     To Foreignize or To Domesticate

     英语论文 >> 英语其它 >> 论文正文?To Foreignize or To

    Domesticate

     To Foreignize or To Domesticate

     作者;佚名 发布时间;2006-1-26

     -

     To Foreignize or To Domesticate

     Abstract1 Domesticating translation and foreignizing translation are two

     different translation strategies. The former refers to the translation

     strategy in which a transparent, fluent style is adopted in order to minimize

     the strangeness of the foreign text for target language readers, while

     the latter designates the type of translation in which a target text deliberately

     breaks target conventions by retaining something of the foreigness of the

     original. But what is the translation practice like in China? Do translators

     tend to use foreignizing methods or domesticating ones? What are the factors

     that affect their decision making? This paper tries to find answers to

     the questions by looking into the translation of English metaphors into

     Chinese.

     Key words: domesticating translation; foreignizing translation; metaphor;

     target

     language reader

     1. Introduction

     "Domesticating translation" and "foreignizing translation" are the terms

     coined by L. Venuti (1995) to describe the two different translation strategies.

     The former refers to the translation strategy in which a transparent, fluent

     style is adopted in order to minimize the strangeness of the foreign text

     for target language readers, while the latter designates the type of translation

     in which a target text "deliberately breaks target conventions by retaining

     something of the foreigness of the original" (Shuttleworth &Cowie, 1997:59).

     The roots of the terms can be traced back to the German philosopher Schleiermacher’s

     argument that there are only two different methods of translation, " either

     the translator leaves the author in peace, as much as possible, and moves

     the reader towards him; or he leaves the reader in peace, as much as possible,

     and moves the author towards him" (Venuti, 1995: 19-20).

     The terms "foreignization" and "domestication" may be new to the Chinese,

     but the concepts they carry have been at least for a century at the heart

     of most translation controversies. Lu Xun (鲁迅) once said that

    "before

     translating, the translator has to make a decision : either to adapt the

     original text or to retain as much as possible the foreign flavour of the

     original text" (Xu, in Luo, 1984: 315).

     But what is the translation practice like in China? Recently I have read

     two articles which show completely conflicting views on this

question.

     In his article entitled "Chinese and Western Thinking On Translation",

     A. Lefevere makes a generalization based on his comparison of Chinese and

     Western thinking on translation,

     When Chinese translates texts produced by Others outside its boundaries,

     it translates these texts in order to replace them, pure and simple. The

     translations

     take the place of the original. They function as the original in the culture

     to the extent

     that the original disappear behind the translations. (Bassnett & Lefevere,

     1998:14)

     However, Fung and Kiu have drawn quite different conclusions from their

     investigation of metaphor translation between English and Chinese,

     Our comparison of the two sets of data showed that in the case of the English

     metaphor

     the image often than not retained, whereas with the Chinese metaphors,

     substitution is

     frequently used. [...] One reason perhaps is that the Chinese audience

     are more familiar with

     and receptive to Western culture than the average English readers is to

     Chinese culture. (Fung, 1995)

     The above conflicting views aroused my interest in finding out whether

     the Chinese tend to domesticate or to foreignize when they translate a

     foreign text. In what follows I shall not compare translation by Western

     and Chinese translators, but rather look into the translation of English

     metaphors into Chinese.

     2. What is Metaphor?

     The Random House Unabridged Dictionary (second addition) defines metaphor

     as "a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to

something

     to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance."

     While according to BBC English Dictionary, "metaphor is a way of describing

     something by saying that it is something else which has the qualities that

     you are trying to describe."

     Peter Newmark defines metaphor as "any figurative expression: the transferred

     sense of a physical word; the personification of an abstraction; the application

     of a word or collocation to what it does not literally denote, i.e., to

     describe one thing in terms of another. [...] Metaphors may be ’single’

     -- viz. one-word -- or ’extended’ (a collocation, an idiom, a sentence,

     a proverb, an allegory, a complete imaginative text" (1988b:104).

     Snell-Hornby rejects Newmark’s concept of the "one-word

    metaphor" in favour

     of Weinrich’s definition that "metaphor is text" (1988:56). She believes

     that a metaphor is a complex of (at least) three dimensions (object,

image

     and sense), reflecting the tension between resemblance and

     disparity" (1988: 56-57).

     This paper will follow the idea that "metaphor is text" which includes

     an idiom, a sentence, a proverb and an allegory.

     3. What has been said about the translation of metaphor?

     "In contrast to the voluminous literature on metaphor in the field of literary

     criticism and rhetoric, the translation of metaphor has been largely neglected

     by translation theorists" (Fung, 1995). In his article "Can metaphor be

     translatable?", which is regarded as an initial discussion of the subject,

     Dagut says,

     "What determines the translatability of a source language metaphor is not

     its ’boldness’ or ’originality’, but rather the extent to which the cultural

     experience and semantic

     associations on which it draws are shared by speakers of the

particular

     target language"

     (1976).

     Snell-Hornby takes metaphor translation in the light of the integrated

     approach. She says that

     The sense of the metaphor is frequently culture-specific, [...] Whether

     a metaphor is

     ’translatable’ (i.e. whether a literal translation could recreate identical

     dimensions), how

     difficult it is to translate, how it can be translated and whether it should

     be translated at all

     cannot be decided by a set of abstract rules, but must depend on the structure

     and function of

     the particular metaphor within the text concerned ". (1988: 56-9)

     van den Broeck conceives the treatment of metaphors as a functional relevancy

     to the communicative situation (1981). Mary Fung also considers translating

     metaphor as a communicative event which is both interlingual and intercultural

     (1995).

     Different from the semantic, cultural and functional perspectives mentioned

     above, Newmark holds a more pragmatic approach. Drawing on his practical

     experience, he proposes several procedures for translating metaphor: (1)

     Reproducing the same image in the target language; (2)

     Replacing the SL image with another established TL image; (3) Replacing

     the metaphor by simile; (4) Retaining the metaphor and adding the sense;

     (5) Converting the metaphor to sense; (6) Omitting the metaphor if it is

     redundant.

     Discussions of the subject, especially those written in Chinese, are also

     pragmatic rather than theoretical. In E-C Translation Coursebook (1980

     ) which is the most widely used translation textbook in China, Zhang

Peiji

     (张培基) and his co-compilers summarized three popular methods for translating

     metaphors: (1) Literal translation (similar to Newmark’s first procedure);

     (2) Replacing the SL image with a standard TL image (similar to Newmark’s

     second procedure); (3) Converting the metaphor to sense (Same as Newmark’s

     fifth procedure).

     Based on the methods suggested by Zhang and his colleagues, Guo Zhuzhang

     (郭着章) proposes five in A Practical Coursebook in Translation Between

     English and Chinese (1996, revised edition): (1) Literal translation plus

     explanation; (2) Literal translation plus meaning; (3) Adapting the metaphor;

     (4) Using Chinese couplets to render the English metaphor; (5) Replacing

     the SL image with a TL image.

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