1 Task Description
1.1 Background of the Task
With the process of globalization,cultural exchanges between differentcountries have become increasingly close.There is a growing demand for westernhistory and culture for Chinese readers.Therefore,it is necessary to introduceexcellent western historical and cultural works into China.The translation ofhistorical texts has always been a much-researched field.Historical texts belong toinformative texts,which contain a lot of professional knowledge and terminologies.Translators must accurately and concisely translate the information the original authorwants to convey.An excellent translated text needs the translator to be professionaland has aesthetic images.Besides,the translation of historical texts is in great demandand is worthy of a long-term study by scholars.As one of the origins of humancivilization,ancient Rome has had an indelible impact on later generations.Peoplecan see the traces of Rome in today’s words,art,architecture,law,mathematics,andother aspects.Therefore,Roman history has always been the research highlight forhistory lovers.There is also an increasing demand for translating excellent westernhistory books.The translation of That Tyrant,Persuasion can help people increasetheir knowledge accumulation and meet their cross-cultural communication needs.
1.2 Choice of the Text
That Tyrant,Persuasion is a typical historical text by J.E.Lendon.Thetranslator has excerpted approximately 10,000 words from the first three chapters ofthis book,which focus on the origins,development,and importance of rhetoric andthe assassination of Julius Caesar.In That Tyrant,Persuasion,J.E.Lendon exploredhow rhetorical education in the Roman world influenced not only the words ofliterature but also momentous deeds:the killing of Julius Caesar,what civic buildingsand monuments were built,what laws were made,and how the empire itself should berun.As one of the most famous ancient countries in the history of human civilization,ancient Rome has always been fascinated by history lovers.Relevant literature studieshave emerged endlessly.Famous historic figures and significant events in ancientRome have also been discussed with great relish.This book is about Rome,but theauthor has studied ancient Rome’s social,historical,and cultural knowledge from anovel perspective,rhetoric.Rhetoric in this article is different from modern rhetoric ina broad sense.
In ancient Rome,“rhetoric”refers to the skills and art of speech,a disciplineprevailing in ancient Greece and Rome.Aristotle(1954)defined in his book Rhetoric,“Rhetoric then may be defined as the faculty of discovering the possible means ofpersuasion in reference to any subject whatever”(p.9).
2 Process Description
2.1 Preparation Before Translation
First of all,in terms of text selection,in order to ensure the initiative of thistranslation report,the translator searched for That Tyrant,Persuasion and its relatedinformation on Chinese websites and found it had not been translated yet,whichensured the originality of the translation report.In terms of the source text,as ahistorical text,the source text contains a lot of historical and cultural knowledge.As abridge between the reader and the author,when translating informative text,the mostimportant thing for translators is to ensure the accuracy of information transmission.Therefore,to correctly translate the content of the source text,the translator consultedmany materials and documents related to ancient Rome in advance,watched relevantdocumentaries,and accumulated knowledge of ancient Rome’s history and culture.The translator also recorded and summarized essential names of people,places,events,and proper nouns.In addition,in terms of theory,the author started with relevancetheory,read a lot of literature about relevance theory,and combined it with thetranslation report.After accumulating enough professional knowledge,the translatorbegan to translate the book.
2.2 Translation Process
First,the translator read the selected text from beginning to end to understandits general idea.Before translation,the translator made a daily translation plan,specified the daily workload to be completed,and then translated in strict accordancewith the schedule.In the translation process,the translator adopted various translationmethods,focusing on the accurate and precise expression of information.Whencoming across unfamiliar words,the translator consulted dictionaries and relatedexamples to ensure the meaning of words.When proper nouns appear,they shall bemarked,and then the translator searched for them in the full text and ensured that theproper nouns’translation is consistent throughout the text.
In the translation process,the translator found two main difficulties,which arecommon issues in translating historical texts.The first one is it was hard to follow therule of faithfulness in translation.That Tyrant,Persuasion contains a large amount ofcultural knowledge about ancient Rome,including the name of people,locations,events,religious knowledge,myth story,ancient English and Latin,etc,which greatlyincreased the difficulty of translation.In order to accurately translate source texts,thetranslator consulted various materials and finally determined appropriate words intarget language.
3 Case Analysis ....................................... 9
3.1 Theoretical Framework .................................. 9
3.1.1 Introduction to Relevance Theory......................... 9
3.1.2 Principles of Relevance Theory .................................. 11
4 Conclusion .................................. 35
4.1 Major Findings ..................................... 35
4.2 Limitations ........................................ 37
4.3 Suggestions ............................. 38
3 Case Analysis
3.1 Theoretical Framework
This chapter is divided into three parts.In the first part,the translator brieflydiscussed the development of relevance theory at home and abroad.In the second part,the translator explained the principles of relevance theory.In the third part,thetranslator illustrated the applicability of relevance theory in the book That Tyrant,Preservation(excerpted)
3.1.1 Introduction to Relevance Theory
184.108.40.206 The Development of Relevance Theory Abroad
Relevance theory was first proposed by Sperber and Wilson(1986)in theirbook Relevance:Communication and Cognition.Relevance theory holds thatlanguage communication is regarded as a process of“ostensive-inferential model.”Although it was not researched explicitly for linguistics at the beginning,it quicklyentered the field of pragmatics.It was Gutt who first applied relevance theory totranslation studies.In his doctoral dissertation,Translation and Relevance:Cognitionand Context,Gutt explained translation studies with relevance theory.Based on relevance theory,Gutt(1991)proposed that the rationale of relevance translationtheory is that translation is a reasoning process,and the object of translation studies isthe human brain mechanism.Relevance theory has been regarded as necessary inpragmatics works abroad in recent years.By combining communication withcognition,relevance theory promotes the development of cognitive pragmatics andprovides a broader research space for pragmatic phenomena and communication froma new perspective.Despite the inadequacy of the communication-theoretic approach,Gutt(2014)still believes that“strong reasons to believe that translation is indeed besthandled as a matter of communication”(p.23).The emergence of relevance theoryprovides an extended perspective of cognitive linguistic research and systematicanalysis of many pragmatic phenomena.
4.1 Major Findings
Cultural default is ubiquitous and has been integrated into many aspects ofpeople’s life.Any cultural background has its unique cultural connotation.Therefore,it is necessary to study the translation of cultural default.When translating the book,the translator found that relevance theory is suitable for application in cultural compensation.Through this thesis,the translator summarized and classified fourtranslation methods suitable for cultural default:annotation,amplification,paraphrase,and substitution.
Annotation means that the translator first translates the cultural default parts inthe original text as literal translation and then provides cultural backgroundknowledge for the target readers in the form of extra-textual footnotes or endnotes toreduce their reading difficulty.Amplification is when the translator adds backgroundknowledge to the text immediately after the literal translation of the cultural default.However,a very limited amount of background information can be provided if thetranslator uses the method of contextual amplification.Paraphrase refers to thetranslator’s interpretation of the core meaning of the cultural default elements in theoriginal text to the target readers rather than compensating the background knowledgeafter literal translation.Unlike amplification,which means that the translator addssome necessary information for compensating background to the TT,paraphraserefers to that explaining the original sentence to readers,usually through restatementof another piece of writing with new words,phrases or sentence patterns.Thetranslator needs to reorganize the sentence structures and transfer the core meaningsof some words,phrases,or sentences in the ST to the TT,which cause culturaldefault.