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No.3 2022

May 26, 2022

English Abstracts of Major Papers

Translation as a Sign-Converting Activity: Some Reflections on the Definition of Translation

By FENG Quangong (Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China) p.11 

Abstract: As a contribution to the ongoing debate over how to define translation, this paper proposes, in line with the principle of reductionism, that translation be redefined as a sign-converting activity. The proposed redefinition is justified because, first of all, sign-converting is translation’s only essential attribute from which its other attributes arederived. Secondly, this new definition is also capable of overcoming the prescriptive and one-sided tendencies of the previous definitions by opening TS to such diverse topics as the agency, object, strategy and criticism of translation.

Keywords: translation; definition; sign-converting;essential attribute 

A Cognitive Semantic Interpretation of the Classic Chinese Translation Concept Shensi

By ZHOU Yuanhang (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China) & ZHOU Hongmin (Nanjing Xiaozhuang University, Nanjing, China) p.29 

Abstract: A translation concept derived from classical Chinese poetics, shensi (spiritual resemblance) has understandably become a favorite topic for translation scholars in China. However, the studyof this concept has so far been based largely on the investigators’ intuitions, and what it signifies exactly remains fuzzy and equivocal. For its conceptual clarification, this paper takes a fresh look at the generative mechanism of shenyun, which constitutes shensi’s semantic core, from the perspective of cognitive semantics. Within this chosen theoretical framework, shenyun is understood as the mental activity triggered when the thinker’s stored experiences and knowledge are linguistically activated, and representable as a schema which leads, through cognitive process, to conceptual, aesthetic and emotional experiences. Based on this understanding, the achievement of shensi in translation becomes differentiated. If the normative cognitive model of the source culture coincides with that of the target culture, it is easy for a translator to create shensi or a resemblance of shenyun through literal translation. If the two cognitive models concerned are different, the translator could either adopt non-literal approaches to create an equivalent to the original’s shenyun, or stick to literal translation at the expense of a reduced shensi effect.

Keywords: Chinese poetics; translation; shenyun; shensi; cognitive semantics; interpretation 

Oscillating Between Westernization and Nationalization: Late Qing China’s Approach to Cultivating Translation Talent

By XIA Jun (Tongji University, Shanghai, China) & DU Chenglin (Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou, China) p.39

Abstract: Forced to integrate itself into a dominant colonial world system, the late Qing China was subject to two conflicting imperatives, i.e., to become Westernized, and to preserve its own national and institutional identity. The need to “learn from the west” forced its traditional Confucian education system to change its way of cultivating talents, including those in translation. A new generation of translators we reexpected to play a pioneering role, on the one hand, in overcoming the foreign language obstacles and helping China adapt to the new world it faced, and on the other in safe guarding the traditional feudal political system, social order, and cultural self-preservation. A review of and reflections on the unique process of translation talent cultivation in late Qing Period could provide lessons and practical inspirations for contemporary translation talent cultivation in China.

Keywords: the late Qing China; translation talent cultivation; cosmopolitan; nationalization 

Translations of Classical Chinese Arts of Ceramics and Their Impact on the Spread of Ceramic Culture

By XU Mingwu & FENG Huiyi (Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China) p.56 

Abstract: Chinese classics on ceramics are the most reliable records of China’s time-honored art of ceramic making and method for appraising the origin and value of ceramic products. Their translation into foreign languages since the 1850s has therefore helped other peoples understand Chinese ceramic culture in a systematic way. A review of the translation history of Chinese classics on ceramics identifies three orientations among the translations concerned: those that are practically oriented, those that seek to promote cultural understanding, and those that serve the purpose of collecting. These translations play the respective roles for promoting cross-regional exchanges, facilitating interdisciplinary spread of ceramic knowledge, and deepening international recognition of Chinese ceramics and ceramic-related culture. Together, they also help to disseminate Chinese culture abroad.

Keywords: classic translation; spread of ceramicculture; ceramic classics; translation history 

BFSU’s Mid-20th Century “Translation Classes” and China’s Early Attempt at Training High-Caliber Translators and Interpreters

By YAO Bin (Beijing Foreign Studies University, Beijing, China)p.71 

Abstract: In 1958, in line with Beijing Foreign Studies University’s “Ten-Year-Plan for Training High-Caliber Translators and Interpreters”, its Russian, English, French and Spanish departments began to offer Translation Classes to trainees for China’s diplomatic services. Based on an archival research, this paper explores those classes’ historical background, pedagogical goal, training process, as well as their faculty and student body. The findings show that the training model these classes adopted then, because of its overriding goal to serve China’s national strategies, its clear differentiation between foreign language acquisition and translator and interpreter training, its constant pursuit of pedagogical innovations and excellence, remains to acertain extent adoptable for today’s translator/interpreter training programs.

Keywords: translation pedagogy; high-caliber translators and interpreters; training model; innovation 

Sun Dayu’s Poetic Translation of Shakespearean Plays: A Critique

By ZHAO Tingchi (Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China) p.117 

Abstract: Owing to his “phonological group theory” and his poetic rendering of Shakespeare’s plays guided by this theory, Sun Dayu hasbeen acknowledged as “the first person to do poetic translation of Shakespearean drama” in China and his approach has been widely accepted as amajor paradigm for translating Shakespeare’s works. A reexamination of Sun Dayu from a perspective that draws simultaneously on Translation Studies and poetics, however, calls into question both his theory and his translational practice. At issue are whether Sun’s “poetic translations” really correspond to their originals and whether his “phonological group theory” has indeed a solid theoretical basis in poetics.

Keywords: Sun Dayu; poetic translation; Shakespearean drama; phonological group theory