A Comparative Study of two Chinese Versions of Oliver Twist From the Perspective of Translator’s Subjectivity
---in Line With George Steiner's Fourfold Translation Motion Theory
|毕业论文写作时间||20xx年 1 月 日至 2013 年 5 月 日|
Rationale and Significance of the study
The translator is the subjectivity of translation and a text-producer in the target culture. In recent years, the academia has witnessed the growth of translators’ studies from different theoretical methods. Translators’ subjectivity and their subjective initiative displayed in the translation process are gradually taken into consideration. Cha & Tian (2003), Xu (2003), Hu (2004) and other scholars emphasized its important role in translation process during their translation studies.
Oliver Twist is the second novel by Dickens, whose publication aroused huge success on English society at that time because of its sarcastic and humorous description of real life, the criticism of unequal treatment for the underclass and the evils of hypocritical society. As a world renowned classical works, attentions and studies were given by scholars from home and abroad. Oliver Twist is among the earliest novels that are translated into Chinese. Until now, a variety of Chinese versions have been seen in China. However, there are just a few studies focus on the differences between different translated texts. Moreover, few studies were conducted on the comparison of different Chinese versions in two different centuries from the perspective of George Steiner’s fourfold translation motion theory. After entering in 21th century, China has witnessed a rapid development not just in economic but also in culture. The growth of culture to some extent in return influences translators and their works in 21th century. This thesis try to analyze two Chinese versions which were published in two different centuries and find out their differences between each other and how translators’ subjectivity affects the quality as well as the style of translators’ works.
In China, previous studies on Oliver Twist are mainly focused on literature level, such as the characterization analysis carried out by Liu (1999) and Zhang(2010);the appreciation of Dickens’ writing style by Zhao(2008), Ma(2008) and Zhang(2012); the analysis of the thought of Dickens by Qiao (2004), Zhao (2010) and Guo (2012); the comparison the adapted film script with the original text by Zhang (2010) and He (2011); or the pragmatic and semantic exploration from the perspective of linguistics theory by Li (2005). Besides, there are also some studies being conducted on translators’ subjectivity. Zhu (2005) in her thesis studied the translator's subjectivity in two Chinese versions from the hermeneutic point of view and found that the translator’s subjectivity is one of the most important elements that directly affect the outcome of translation practice, it can help translators understand source texts better to reach the balance between source texts and target texts as much as possible from the aspects of form, spirit and style. Lei (2012) also conducted a study in her thesis from the perspective of George Steiner’s fourfold translation motion theory and found that translator's subjectivity is embodied in very translation step and influences the translation process. Another article was carried out in a journal in the same year by Lei. Four different translators’ translated texts which included Lin Shu, Rong Rude, Jiang Tianzuo and Long Bing were studied and she has the same finding. Moreover, Corpus was used by Jin (2013) to analyze the translators’ subjectivity of 11 translated texts published from 1914 to 2000. However, studies on the comparison of different Chinese versions in two different centuries from the perspective of George Steiner’s fourfold translation motion theory needs further study.
1）How translator’s subjectivity participate in the process of translation?
2) What are the differences between the 2 Chinese versions causing by translator’s subjectivity in two centuries?
3) If there is any relation between translator’s subjectivity and the style of source text as well as the quality of translation?
2. Prospective Targets:
The translator’s subjectivity takes part in very step during the cause of translation from the choice of original text, understanding and the strategies translators choose, to other skills translators use in their translated works. Because of different education background or the different culture the translators experienced in two centuries when they translated the text, the understanding of the original text and strategies chosen or even the purpose of translators are distended from each other, which in turn affects the style as well as the quality of their translated works.
George Steiner’s fourfold translation motion theory is put forward by George Steiner. His books After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation in 1975 is regarded as a milestone for contemporary translation study in Western. Based on Heidegger's interpretation ideology, George Steiner proposed a concept that understanding is also translation and he regarded translation process as hermeneutic motion. Then Steiner put translation into four steps which are trust, aggression, incorporation and restitution.
The first step is trust which refers to an “investment of belief, underwritten by previous experience” (1975, 312:2). George Steiner believes that all translation starts from trust. Before doing translation, translator considers that there may be something valuable in the original text that is worth understanding and interpreting. However, “trust can never be final. It is betrayed, trivially, by nonsense, by the discovery that ‘there is nothing there’ to elicit and translate” (312:22). Translators have their own choice in selecting original text and they certainly hold some kind of expectation in it.
The second step following trust is aggression. It is the unavoidable aggressive activity in the procedure of understanding and interpreting of the original text due to the differences or conflicts aroused by different kinds of languages or culture. According to Steiner, the second step is “incursive and extractive”. During the course of translation, translator “invades, extracts, and brings home” (314:20). For the translation between different languages and culture, understanding the way of narrating story is already aggressive. Just as trust in the first step, aggression is not absolute, because some translated versions are already surpass the original one and is a feast to the eye.
Incorporation is the third move in translation according to Steiner. He pointed out that “There are innumerable shadings of assimilation and placement of the newly-acquired, ranging from a complete domestication” and “The Heideggerian ‘we are what we understand to be’ entails that our own being is modified by each occurrence of comprehensive appropriation. No language, no traditional symbolic set of cultural ensemble imports without risk of being transformed” (314-315). Namely, no matter what extent the translator incorporates original text to; the accepting of new staff will inevitably influence the whole structure of translated text. Incorporation is an activity of thought and is symbolized by the usage of language. Incorporation injects new power and feeling in the translation course.
The final step is restitution. Though the former three steps form important moves for translation, it is still not enough. Steiner holds that “it is dangerous because it is incomplete, if it lacks its fourth stage......which completes the cycle” (316:9). Moreover, he offered us a complete view of the whole four steps and explains the necessity of restitution. “We lean towards’ the confronting text. We encircle and invade cognitively. We come home laden, thus again off- balance, having caused disequilibrium throughout the system by taking away from ‘the other’…...the hermeneutic act must compensate. If it is to be authentic, it must mediate into exchange and restored parity” (316: 12). In other words, translator has to return what the text originally has. Restitution is the core of translation skills and a must have link in translation process and it rebuilds the balance through interacting and compensation.
1.1 Rationale and Significance of the study
1.2 Research Questions
1.3 Data Collection
1.4 Organization of the Dissertation
2. Literature Review
2.1 Previous Studies on the Original Text of Oliver Twist
2.2 Previous Studies on the Chinese Versions of Oliver Twist
3. Theoretical Framework
3.1 The Overview of George Steiner and his Fourfold Translation Motion Theory (FTMT)
3.2 Translator's Subjectivity Manifested in FTMT
4. Case Analysis
4.1 Oliver Twist and Two Chinese Translated Versions
4.2 Manifestation of Translator's Subjectivity in Rong and Huang 's Versions in Line With George Steiner's FTMT
5.1 Findings of the Research
5.2 Limitations and Suggestions for Future Studies
The Arrangement of Time:
1.Total time: 16 weeks( begin from the middle of January in 2014)
The first draft will be written in 1-6 weeks；
The second draft will be finished in the end of the 9th week;
The thesis will to come to an end at 14th week;
The preparation of the presentation of thesis will be in 15-16weeks.
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