Translation of Governmental Publicity

By Anthony Howard,2014-10-14 15:36
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Translation of Governmental Publicity

    Translation of Governmental Publicity

    --Enlightened from the Translation of

    Five-dimensional Chongqing Construction

    Shiyang Ran

    School of Foreign Languages and Literature, Shandong University, Jinan, China

    School of Foreign Languages and Literature, Yangtze Normal University, Fuling, Chongqing, China Email:

    AbstractWith the rapid development of Chongqing Municipality directly under the Peoples Republic of

    China Central Government, Chongqing Municipality is more and more focused and well-known all over the

    country. And the construction aim of wu ge Chongqing arouses the interest of more people and is widely

    discussed. However, to internationalize Chongqing Municipality and to attract more foreign peoples eyes, the

    publicity is crucial and first and foremost. To attract more foreigners, the translation of materials of publicity

    is decisive and pivotal. Consequently, in this article it is to analyze English translation of wu ge Chongqing,

    and discover the principles and approaches in translating materials of governmental publicity, so as to

    advance the translation practice of governmental publicity translation and to improve foreigners awareness

    and understanding of governmental publicity.

    Key Wordswu ge Chongqing, governmental publicity, principle, approach


    The translation of wu ge Chongqing, which means literally five (wu ge) and Chongqing (a municipality

    directly under the Peoples Republic of China Central Government), therefore it is combined literally as Five

    Chongqing, which can be found from the publicity or news from the paper or websites related to Chongqing. In addition, the detailed Five Chongqing” are yi ju Chongqing, chang tong Chongqing, sen lin Chongqing, ping

    an Chongqing and jian kang Chongqing. They are translated as livable Chongqing, smooth Chongqing, green Chongqing, safe Chongqing, and healthy Chongqing respectively according to the publication (Picture 1). Livable

    Chongqing is also translated as liveable Chongqing, and green Chongqing sometimes is also translated as forest ?Chongqing. How about these translations? And what can it enlighten the following translation of governmental publicity?


    2.1 Translation of Title of Wu Ge Chongqing

    Originally, Five Chongqing is a developmental aim of construction of Chongqing Municipality, however the translation Five Chongqing is just from the literal meaning of wu ge Chongqing, while in fact it means five aspects

    of constructing Chongqing Municipality, that is, it is to build Chongqing as a city suitable to live, a city of convenient transportation, a city with a large area of forestry, a city of low-level of crime and a city with healthy living environment. In the five aspects, there are overlapping, while each one lays particular emphasis on certain prominent problems. Grammatically, the translation five Chongqing of wu ge Chongqing will make foreigners confused, as

    the readers do not understand the semantic or grammatical structure of five Chongqing. According to traditional

    grammar, a plural form of a noun is followed after the number five, so the translation five Chongqingis not

    grammatical, which is easy to be thought as a wrong expression of Five Chongqings. As a result, from the aspect of

    literal translation, it is not a proper translation. On the other hand, the translation does not tell the readers especially foreigners the five aspects of constructing Chongqing. From this aspect, the translation is not a good translation. According to the five aspects of wu ge Chongqing, its English version should at least contain the information of five-aspect; therefore it is better to be translated as five-aspect Chongqing construction or five-dimensional

     ? All the translations are easily found from public sign in Chongqing. The readers can also find relative information from such websites as:;;;

    Chongqing construction, which can facilitate readers to understand its essence easily. Compared with each other, the former is clearer, while the latter is more literary, therefore it is better to choose the latter as its English translation of

    wu ge Chongqing.

2.2 Translation of Five Aspects of Wu Ge Chongqing

    As the five-aspect Chongqing construction or five-dimensional Chongqing construction just gives the readers

    general information, but what are the five aspects or dimensions? The translators in some cases should add some details on it. The first one yi-ju Chongqing is to make the city more convenient and more comfortable to live in, with good living surroundings, self-contained public facilities, and perfect urban functions, which can satisfy those living in the city and those visiting this city. It is translated as livable or liveable Chongqing. How about this translation? ?According to an online dictionary, livable (also liveable) means suitable to live in; habitable. From its Chinese

    original meaning, yi ju means livable, suitable to live, or a best place to settle down, and yi ju Chongqing is an

    adjective-noun phrase which refers to that Chongqing is a desirable place to live. Therefore, livable contains the semantic meaning and connotative meaning a desirable place to live of yi ju Chongqing”, while the word livable

    also contains a pragmatic meaning that the Chongqing government encourages anybody to come to visit and settle down in Chongqing. Therefore from the aspects of semantic translation and functional translation, the translation is a perfect transformation of the original expression.

    The aim of second aspectchang tong Chongqing is to build a higher-speed city transportation system and to open

    more passageways outward, such as roads, highways and airlines. Chang tong in Chinese means no blocking, and no

    traffic congestion, therefore it is translated as smooth Chongqing. Smooth refers to free from or proceeding without

    abrupt curves, bends, etc, or allowing or having an even, uninterrupted movement or flow, and its collocation can be

    as a smooth ride or driving and a sentence of its collocation can be That road is smooth. Based on this analysis, the

    translation implies that Chongqing government focuses on good infrastructure construction especially in traffic, which shows the semantic meaning and the aim of constructing chang tong Chongqing. According to Skopos Theory [1], the

    shape of TT should above all be determined by the function or skopos that it is intended to fulfill in the target context.

    From the translation of chang tong Chongqing, the function or skopos of constructing a high-speed city transportaion

    system is occurred to target readers. While the foreigners can easily understand the content and aim of this aspect of Chongqing construction, and the translation is tested among foreigners with good responses. From aspects of semantic translation, Skopos Theory and readers reception, the translation fulfills its function.

    Originally the Chinese version of sen lin is a noun phrase referring to forest, while in this case of sen lin

    Chongqing it is used as an adjective phrase meaning with forest. According to Chongqing governmental publicity,

    the aim of sen lin Chongqing is to plant as many trees as possible so as to build Chongqing as a city of forest and to

    make the city as a oxygen bar of forest with a high forest coverage. Therefore it is not only related to planting trees, but also concerned with greening and afforestation. It is generally translated as green Chongqing or forest

    Chongqing. Forest is a noun with meaning of a large tract of land covered with trees and underbrush. “Green refers

    to covered with herbage or foliage; verdant or characterized by the presence of verdure. Whereas by comparison

    with the two expressions, green covers more information than forest does, as it is related to environmental concerns

    but not only forestation, consequently green Chongqing is more suitable to its Chinese version from perspectives of semantics, function translation and readers reception.

    Ping an in Chinese is a common adjective to refer to safe, and the aim of ping an Chongqing is to crack down on

    illegal speculation and profiteering, illegal lawbreakers, so as to build a safe city. It is to attract more foreign investors to invest in Chongqing securely. Thus it is translated as safe Chongqing. Safe is free from hurt, injury, danger, or

    risk, or involving little or no risk of mishap, which is equivalent to its Chinese counterpart semantically, in addition

    it represents the aim of the Chinese version, and will make it understandable and acceptable for foreigners. From aspects of semantic translation, Skopos Theory and readers reception, the translation fulfills its function.

    Jian kang refers to healthy in Chinese, and the aim of jian kang Chongqing is to establish more public exercise

    facilities, to build more average sports ground for the public and to increase the rate of the national physical conditions. In this situation it is more related to the construction of public physical and mental health. Jian kang is an adjective

    with the meaning of healthy, so it is translated as healthy Chongqing. Healthy refers to possessing or enjoying

    good health or a sound and vigorous mentality, or pertaining to or characteristic of good health, or a sound and

    vigorous mind. From its collocation, it is easy to find that it is generally used with somebody, and when it is used as Healthy City, it is a set expression related to the WHO Healthy City Project among some developing countries. As the project mainly focuses on environmental improvements, the translation is interpreted by foreigners in a survey as good fresh air and water supply, enough doctors, hospitals and medicine etc. From this analysis, the translation does not make foreign readers clear understand the aim of jian kang Chongqing, though its literal meaning is the same, in addition, it

    embodies the essence and function of construction of jian kang Chongqing: to build a city with healthy living

    environment for those dwellers.

     ? All the definitions of words “livable or liveable, smooth, forest, green, safe and healthy” are from the website: .

From these analysis, wu ge Chongqing is better to be translated as five-dimensional Chongqing construction:

    liveable/livable Chongqing, smooth Chongqing, green Chongqing, safe Chongqing and healthy Chongqing. The

    semantic meaning and function or aim of the original is achieved in this translation from the perspectives of equivalent theory, Skopos Theory and readers reception, and this translation also can make foreign readers understand its essence.


    It is not possible to discuss or evaluate the translation of publicity translation without considering its translation principles. Therefore in this part it is mainly to discuss the principles in the translation of publicity, especially governmental publicity. Firstly it is necessary to make clear what governmental publicity translation is. In modern international communication, for more famous and more attractive to foreigners, a government has to provide some persuasive information about the city to others. In this process, the original texts have to be translated to foreign texts to make foreigners easily get to know them and understand them clear. As this activity is sponsored by the government, and it is to give the government and relative activities publicity to other people, the translation process is called governmental publicity translation. Consequently, governmental publicity refers to the governmental publication of information related to governmental activities, announcements, developmental directions and steps or others relating to the publicity of relative city or government. For the discussion of principles of governmental publicity translation, it is essential to consider the elements and considerations of governmental publicity translation.

    The first element is the information itself. Any governmental publicity text contains its contents, idea and semantic meaning. From this view, the translation of governmental publicity should take the semantic meaning of the original text into consideration. The second element is the aim of text. Governmental publicity text is to enlarge its international recognition and influence, to make more people get to know it and attract more people come to visit or invest, and to win the city an international fame. Therefore, this kind of text is function-oriented, and in translation it is necessary to pay much attention to its function. The third consideration is the acceptance of target readers. As the government publicity will realize its value and influence only when it is widely accepted by readers. Since the governmental publicity translation is to attract foreigners’ attention, its translation should pay main attention to foreign readers, as a

    result the valuation of governmental publicity translation should focus on the response of foreign readers. As the translation activity is sponsored by government, and its aim is also restricted by the aim of publicity, the translation has to abide by some principles. Enlightened from the English translation of wu ge Chongqing, in

    translation of governmental publicity, it is necessary to consider the semantic meaning of original text, its function or aim and its acceptance of target readers. This is the first principle. Secondly, texts of governmental publicity are appeal-focused texts, which should achieve the non-linguistic purpose of its message and provoke a particular reaction on the part of the hearers or readers, inciting them to engage in specific actions. [2] Therefore, translation of governmental publicity is goal-oriented, that is, to appeal others attention, so in translating theses kinds of texts its

    aim is of priority. This is the second principle. The third one is that all the translation should be tested and verified by target readers, as the purpose, skopos or aims of the governmental publicity is to attract foreigners attention, the foreigners’ response and acceptance is of course of paramount importance. From this aspect, the translation principle is accordant to Venutis domesticating [3] to target readers, or as Schleiermachers choice that he (the translator)

    leaves the reader in peace, as much as possible, and moves the author towards him. [4] In other words, it is to translate

    according to its functions, meanings and target readers reception, and among of them, the function is of priority.


    From these principles, the translation of governmental publicity is foreigners-oriented, which is to arouse foreigners

    attraction and interest, to realize the functions of the materials of governmental publicity, and to attract more and more foreign readers understand and get to know it. Therefore, for the purpose of preserving the semantic meaning, in translating materials of governmental publicity the translators should try to express the content and ideas of the materials, which is often called literal translation. For the majority of translating materials of governmental publicity, literal translation is the basic approach in practice, for instance the translation of yi ju Chongqing, chang tong

    Chongqing, ping an Chongqing and jian kang Chongqing as livable Chongqing, smooth Chongqing, safe Chongqing

    and healthy Chongqing. In practice, the government institutions or organizations are generally literally translated such as Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Ministry of State Security of the People's Republic of China, Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and so on.

    Considering the aim of governmental publicity, the translators should pay more attention to the purpose of materials in translating, as a result the translation should be functionally equivalent to its original. From this point of view, sometimes for those materials in which the literal meaning is not so important as its functions, the approach of translation can be free translation, that is, the translation is greatly different from its semantic equivalent of the original.

    The translation of sen lin Chongqing not as forest Chongqing but as green Chongqing is a good example, which

    is usual translation approach for those appeal-focused texts [5]. To satisfy foreign target readers, in translating texts of governmental publicity it is to adopt the strategy of domesticatingconforming to target discourse types and adopting a

    fluent, natural-sounding target language style.[6] For the translation of wu ge Chongqing, as the original in Chinese is

    grammatical and understandable for Chinese ordinary readers, while its literal translation as Five Chongqing is

    ungrammatical and incomprehensible to foreign readers, in translating it is changed as five-dimensional Chongqing

    Construction, which can facilitate the foreign to clear grasp the essence of wu ge Chongqing, and accordingly to

    grasp the details of the aim of Chongqing construction.


    According to the analysis of translation of wu ge Chongqing and its details of five aspects, it is to conclude that the

    translation of wu ge Chongqing is not grammatical and incomprehensible, therefore it is not a good translation. From the requirements of translation of governmental publicity, in translating it is necessary to pay much attention to the semantic meaning and functions or aims of original texts, at the same time the translation should take target readers

    reception into account. Based on these requirements, it is easy to get the principle and approaches in translating materials of governmental publicity. Enlightened from the analysis on translation of wu ge Chongqing, the translation

    of materials of governmental publicity is to focus more on function of original appeal-focused texts, on the

    acceptance of target readers, and in the basis of original semantic meaning and essence of original texts. Enlightened from this article, in the translation of foreigner-oriented text, such as governmental materials, governmental websites, and governmental press conference materials and so on, the translation principles and approaches are good examples for them.


    [1] Shuttleworth, Mark & Moria Cowie (eds.) (2004). Dictionary of Translation Studies (1st edition). Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign

    Language Education Press, 156.

    [2] Reiss, Katharina (ed.), E. F. Rhodes (translated) (2004). Translation Criticism: The Potentials & Limitations (1st edition).

    Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, 38-39.

    [3] Venuti, Lawrence (ed.) (2004). The Translators Invisibility: A Hitstory of Translation (2st edition). Shanghai: Shanghai

    Foreign Language Education Press, 17.

    [4] Venuti, Lawrence (ed.) (2004). The Translators Invisibility: A Hitstory of Translation (2st edition). Shanghai: Shanghai

    Foreign Language Education Press, 19-20.

    [5] Shuttleworth, Mark & Moria Cowie (eds.) (2004). Dictionary of Translation Studies (1st edition). Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign

    Language Education Press, 44.

    [6] Shuttleworth, Mark & Moria Cowie (eds.) (2004). Dictionary of Translation Studies (1st edition). Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign

    Language Education Press, 38.

    Picture 1 Publicity outside of the Chongqing Airport Square: wu ge Chongqing and their English translation

Shiyang Ran was born in Chongqing of People’s Republic of China in 1976. He received his MA degree in E-C

    translation theories and practice from Chongqing Normal University, China in 2008.

    He is a doctoral student from Foreign Languages and Literature in Shandong University, Jinan, Shandong, Peoples Republic of China, in Translation Studies. He is also currently a lecturer from the School of Foreign Languages, Chongqing Yangtze Normal University, Fuling, Chongqing, Peoples Republic of China. His research

    interests include translation theories, applied translation studies and translation teaching.

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