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Title: Assessing translation qualities of online catchwords in Chinese by taking translators’ bilingual and cultural backgrounds as affecting factors
Authors: Ji, Xinru
Keywords: Humanities::Language
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Abstract: Chinese netizens have created their own online language for convenient and humorous communication. An increasing number of English speakers have become interested in learning Chinese and the Chinese culture. The Internet offers a convenient channel for them to know what is happening in China and the old and new uses of words and expressions in the Chinese language. The Internet connects Chinese people with people in both nearby and distant places. Therefore, translations of online language in Chinese have come under the spotlight. However, there is not much scant research on translations of online catchwords in Chinese based on China and Singapore that examines the relation between translation quality and language competence and cultural backgrounds. In addition, translations of online catchwords in Chinese are calling for more effort to improve the quality in Singapore and China. Therefore, the main purposes of this study are as follows. Firstly, it aims to give an overview of translation quality of Singaporeans and Chinese who are university students or graduates by taking language competence and cultural backgrounds as affecting factors. Secondly, it aims to develop translation skills and cultural awareness of translators in Singapore and China. A total of 40 Singaporeans and Chinese individuals participated in a survey designed for this study. They were required participants to provide their personal information, educational backgrounds, English and Chinese language competence and frequency of surfing online. They were also asked to translate 20 catchwords in Chinese for a further analysis of their Chinese-English translation competence. Overall, it was found that, even though Singaporean participants lived in a bilingual society and received bilingual education at an early age, Chinese participants performed better in translation than Singaporeans, which we assumed to be due to the Chinese participants’ high Chinese cultural awareness. Moreover, the Singaporean participants all lacked translation skills when translating abbreviations and catchwords related to certain aspects of Chinese culture. The result shows that being bicultural is more important than being bilingual when translating online catchwords. It is also shows that there is a need for Singaporeans to balance their levels of Chinese and English and that the biggest difficulty for Singaporean participants is not the language, but finding the cultural equivalence in other culture. It was also found that domestication and foreignisation were the two main and efficient strategies used to translate online catchwords in Chinese. Literal translation, free translation and translations with explanation were three other valid translation methods used. It was found that both language and cultural awareness affect the translation quality of online catchwords. It is hoped that this pilot study will help future studies of the translation quality of Chinese catchwords in Singapore and China, and to encourage more researchers to pay more attention to culture as an essential affecting factor affecting translation quality.
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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