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LINGUIST List 19.1536

Sun May 11 2008

Diss: Pragmatics/Translation: Yeung: 'Pragmatics and Translation: W...'

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        1.    Ka-wai Yeung, Pragmatics and Translation: With reference to English-Chinese and Chinese-English examples

Message 1: Pragmatics and Translation: With reference to English-Chinese and Chinese-English examples
Date: 11-May-2008
From: Ka-wai Yeung <kkwyeunggraduate.hku.hk>
Subject: Pragmatics and Translation: With reference to English-Chinese and Chinese-English examples
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Institution: University of Hong Kong
Program: Department of Chinese
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Ka-wai Yeung

Dissertation Title: Pragmatics and Translation: With reference to English-Chinese and Chinese-English examples

Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics

Subject Language(s): Chinese, Mandarin (cmn)
                            English (eng)

Dissertation Director:
Ngai-Lai Cheng

Dissertation Abstract:

After the deep-rooted belief that translation is more of practical values
than academic value was relinquished, studies of translation eventually
emerged as a new academic discipline in the early twentieth century.
Theories of translation have been in diverse directions, most of which are
interdisciplinary approaches, including pedagogy, philosophy, literary
criticism, anthropology, and linguistics. This thesis examines the
interface between pragmatics and translation with a specific reference to
English-Chinese and Chinese-English examples. Analyses of real translation
examples encountered by translators are considered, instead of using
made-up examples. The ultimate objective of the research is to apply one
aspect of linguistic theory, pragmatics, to translation practices and
outline a more systematic approach to translation. Apart from its
theoretical significance, this project also hopes to provide a systematic
account of, as well as some practical solutions to, translation problems
owing to pragmatics for translators.

The importance of applying linguistic theory to the discipline of
translation has been suggested by translators and linguists (Nida, 1964;
Hatim and Mason, 1990; Gutt, 1991; Bell, 1991; Liu, 1995). Nida (1964)
proposes that translation practices deserve a systematic theory, in
particular linguistic theory as the theoretical framework. Pragmatic
approaches to translation have been helpful in developing models of
translation and elements of pragmatics have been incorporated into theories
of translation (Hatim and Mason, 1990; Gutt, 1991; Bell, 1991; Liu, 1995).
This thesis adapts Leech (1983) as the major theoretical framework and
applies pragmatic theories to translation practices as a starting point. It
proposes a model of translation based on pragmatic principles, serving as a
part of translation theory. The model postulates that translation
functions, such as rhetoric devices and speech acts, intermingle with
pragmatic principles including the cooperative principle, the politeness
principle and other higher-order principles, and that these functions are
grammatically realized by phonological, morphological, syntactic or
semantic means. It predicts possible translation problems resulting from
the differences in the varied preference in pragmatic maxims/principles and
the incompatibility of these maxims/principles between the source and
target languages, apart from their different grammatical realizations. The
thesis suggests that with appropriate training in linguistic theory,
translators would find corresponding solutions to translation problems with

The findings in the thesis on the interaction between pragmatics and
translation are significant in various aspects. Regarding linguistic
theory, they present an important cross-cultural analysis of pragmatics and
evaluate the validity of present pragmatic theories on the Chinese language
by a survey in actual Chinese data. Concerning translation theories, they
provide a systematic account of translation practices by means of a
proposed pragmatic theory scaffolding. As a whole, they shed light on
further interdisciplinary research between other areas of linguistics, such
as syntax and semantics, and translation. Apart from its theoretical
significance, the findings of the thesis are of practical value in
translators' training. The principles and strategies suggested for tackling
pragmatically-related translation problems can provide translators with
some practical solutions.

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