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Cultural Loss in the English Translation of Chinese Poetry

Author/Editor: Liu, Yang

Year of publication: 2010

Place of Publication & Publisher: Babel (Amsterdam: John Benjamins), 56(2), 2010: 168-185

Publisher URL: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/jbp/bab

ISBN/ISSN: 0521-9744

Publication blurb:

Translation is to reproduce the meaning and style of a source language text in a target language text in consideration of the cultural differences. Because of dramatic differences between the cultures, translators have to sacrifice something, such as time, religious connotation, and the wording of the original poem to obtain its aesthetic value and its original beauty. 

In this paper the author examines the poetry translation focusing on the basic concepts of cultural translation and the difficulties of Chinese poetry translation, and special attentions are paid on losses and the strategies in the translation. Beginning from the basic concepts of cultural translation, the paper expounds the essence of the cultural translation in order to lay a sound foundation for the following analysis of the poetry translation. 

In Part 2, the paper points out the difficulties of Chinese poetry translation that arise from the differences between Chinese and English cultures. Part 3 is a tentative analysis of the losses in the English translation of Chinese poetry and categorizes the losses into four groups: the loss of time, the loss of religious connotation, the loss in wording, the loss of allusion. To address the losses, the author proposes several strategies such as free translation, transfer of allusion and annotation. 

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