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Title: Translation of cultural references in Singapore Chinese literature : a case study of Cong Qige dao Yige
Authors: Yuen, Kum Cheong
Keywords: Humanities::Language
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Abstract: Singapore Chinese literature, in its various genres, has documented Singapore’s physical and social development in a variety of expressive ways. Due to Singapore’s language context, English translations of Singapore Chinese literary works are useful to garner wider readership and deeper understanding. Inherent in Singapore Chinese prose are diverse cultural references that pose challenges for successful cultural transfer in English translation. This study examines the considerations for cultural transfer in translating Zhou Can’s prose, Cong Qige dao Yige, and the appropriate translation strategies and techniques for cultural references. This Chinese prose, representative of the pre-eminent Singapore Chinese writer’s works and significant among Singapore Chinese prose, is analyzed and translated into English, followed by a critical discussion of the treatment of cultural references in its English translation. Translating a literary prose with cultural references requires an examination of its literary text type and communicative functions. Envisioning the potential target readers enables the translator to arrive at an overall translation method for the source text in its entirety. The identification of cultural references, including names, places, items, images and concepts should be parallel with the analysis of artistic tenor and aesthetic style, which include image and function, integrity and individuality of message, covertness and overtness in expression, balance created through the beauty of the language, as well as thought and form. These enable the entire essence of the source text to be faithfully transposed using appropriate translation strategies and techniques. Translation decisions, utilizing appropriate translation strategies and techniques, are made to solve translation problems that arise due to intercultural and interlingual differences in the way cultural references are conveyed from the source culture using the target language. While losses or gains may be unavoidable in translation, this study provides insights on the translator’s deliberations, so that its results could be relevant to research conducted on cultural transfer and the translation of cultural references. This will be useful for future English translation of Singapore Chinese literature, so as to build a wider readership of local literature instrumental for a shared understanding of Singapore’s past and present, and to build greater cultural and literary diversity.
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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