Chapter One Introduction
1.1 Research background
As a popular literature,detective novel has gained a large number of readersworldwide since it was created.ZHANG(2006)Jun has studied that in China,whendetective novels were first introduced in the early twentieth century,there was a“detective novel fever”that caused a trend of reading and translating detectivenovels”.Nowadays,detective works are once again loved by the public in China,andshine brightly in different forms.In 2020,the suspense drama series which focuseson puzzle and suspense launched by iQIYI has been a great success,gaining greatattention and numerous awards in the society.According to CHEN Hongmei and LUXingtai’s(2021)paper,The Bad Kids,adapted from the the same name novel by thedetective novel writer Zijin Chen,became the first Chinese TV drama to win the“Best Creativity Award”at the“Busan International Film Festival Asian ContentAward”.The Long Night was selected as the“Ten Best Chinese Dramas”by thewell-known Korean magazine Cine21.In addition,“The Ten-Day Game”,“Sisyphus”,and“Wisher”released in 2021,have also received high click-through.These facts shows the public’s love for the detective works.At the same time,underthe leadership of“Who’s the murderer”Launched by Hunan TV and other similarshows,“murder mystery game”which is also called“live action role playing(LARP) games”with deduction and decryption as the core is on fire across the country.According to WANG Sai’s(2022)paper,In 2021,the scale of LARP game industryis expected to reach 17.02 billion yuan,with a year-on-year growth of about 45%.Asfar as the offline lifestyle preferred by consumers is concerned,LARP game ranksthe third with 36.1%,which is only exceeded by watching movies and exercising.Inaddition,classical detective games such as“Room Escape”and detective videogames are also attracting a large number of people.Thus,it can be seen that detectiveworks have a large audience in China and are becoming more and more popularamong the public.In order to respond to the market needs and provide morehigh-quality detective works for the people,it is necessary to study classic detectivenovels and learn from the experience of previous writers.As the origin place ofdetective novels and one of the birthplace of the golden age of classical detectivenovels,British and the United States have a large number of excellent Englishdetective novels.The introduction of these detective novels into China could fulfilthe need of domestic detective novel enthusiasts,but also broaden the horizons andcreative thinking of domestic detective work writers.
1.2 Research purpose
This thesis will examine what translation strategies CHEN Yaoguang used inMurder on the Orient Express to maximize the charm of the detective novel bygetting maximal relevance and optimal relevance according to the characteristics ofthe source text.Relevance Theory is proposed by Sperber and Wilson and appliedinto translation by Gutt.On the view of Relevance Theory,it is believed thattranslation as a kind of communication is a process of inferring about communicativeintentions through communicative clues,while detective novels also focus on logicalinferring,and the emphasizing of inference makes the two have a natural fit.UsingRelevance Theory to study the translation of detective novels has rarely beenresearched in the past.By using the AND algorithm to search“Relevance Theory”and“detective novel”on the WOS platform,no relevant thesiss were searched.Using“And”algorithm to search“关联理论”and“侦探小说”on CNKI yielded only onerelevant thesis,and its writing ideas were very different from this thesis.This showsthat there is room for further research on the co-study of Relevance TranslationTheory and detective novel.
CHEN Yaoguang’s translation of Murder on the Orient Express is the most popular translation in China,and he has used certain translation strategies to getmaximal relevance and optimal relevance according to the characteristics of Murderon the Orient Express.This thesis will summarize these translation strategies,analyze their impact on the translation,and examine their reference value for futuretranslators of detective novels on the view of Relevance Translation Theory.
Chapter Two Literature Review
2.1 Previous studies on Relevance Theory
Before Relevance Theory was proposed,Wilson(1975)published the papersPresuppositions and Non-Truth-Conditional Semantics,which talk about thenon-truth-conditional and presupposition to semantics.And Sperber(1975)publishedRudiments de Rhetorique Cognitive,which talk about the cognitive context.In 1986,Relevance Theory is co-founded by them with the publishing of a monograph:Relevance:Communication and Cognition(1986),marking the formal birth ofRelevance Theory.Since then,a large number of scholars have expanded andinterpreted it.In this thesis,relevant researches are divided into two categories,namely,theoretical research and applied research,which are presented separately.
2.1.1 Theoretical studies
After Relevance Theory was proposed in 1986,Wilson and Sperber havedeveloped and improved the theory constantly.In 1995,the second addition ofRelevance:Communication and Cognition was published,parts of the book wererevised,relevance principle has been formally expanded to cognitive principle andcommunicative principle.
2.2 Previous studies on detective novels
The studies of detective novel mainly focus on famous detective works.Theworks at the late Qing Dynasty and early Republican period when detective novelswere first introduced into China are the hot topic of researches.These studies can bedivided into two main categories:characteristic studies and translation studies.
2.2.1 Characteristic studies
In terms of characteristic studies,the study of detective novel mainly focuses ontwo aspects:narrative skills and theme research.
The research from the perspective of narrative skills includes:GUO Yanli(1996)published“A Brief Introduction to the Modern Translation of DetectiveNovels”,which provides a systematic overview of the development and translationof detective novels in modern China,and proposes to translate detective novelsaccording to their four characteristics,namely,eye-catching events,characters withspecial personality,ups and downs of the plot and strict logic.LIN Xueping(2010)published“Suspense Construction of Murder on the Orient Express from thePerspective of Characters’Discourse Expression”.She put forward that thesuccessful suspense construction of Murder on the Orient Express comes from thewriter’s aesthetic choice of“the way of expression of characters’discourse”at themacro level of the novel style.“Free direct speech”and“direct speech”are mainlyused to create suspense.These two types of direct speech greatly shorten thenarrative distance,so that readers can directly explore the meaning of characters’utterances and influence readers’interpretation of character.
Chapter Three Theoretical Foundation.......................17
3.1 Relevance theory..................................17
3.1.1 Development of Relevance Theory............................17
3.1.2 Concepts of Relevance Theory...............................18
Chapter Four Source Text Analysis................................26
4.1 Potential Gratuitous Inference base on maximal relevance..........................26
4.1.1 Multiple time expressions..............................27
4.1.2 High-frequency pronoun uses..............................28
Chapter Five Translation Study on CHEN’s Translation of Murder on the OrientExpress...................................36
5.1 Reducing gratuitous inference to get maximal relevance.............................36
5.1.1 Unifying time expressions.............................36
5.1.2 Restoring substituted names................................40
Chapter Five Translation Study on CHEN’sTranslation of Murder on the Orient Express
5.1 Reducing gratuitous inference to get maximal relevance
Gratuitous inference this thesis discussed will only bring gratuitous inference tothe target readers.To get maximal relevance,it is the translator’s duty to reduce thegratuitous inference to minimum size.From Chapter four,it could be known thatmultiple time expressions,high-frequent pronoun uses and displaced dialogue utterercan lead to gratuitous inference.By reading CHEN Yaoguang’s translation,it is easyto find out that he noticed that time expressions,pronoun uses and dialogue logicneed to be processed with special translation strategies and he deals with themwonderfully.As for multiple time expressions,he applies the strategy of unifyingtime expressions;As for high-frequent pronoun uses,he applies the strategy ofrestoring substituted persons;And as for dialogue logic,he applies the strategy ofchanging dialogue structure.These strategies will be discussed in detail in next threesections.
5.1.1 Unifying time expressions
The clues of time is necessary to solve the puzzle in detective novels.Manydetective novels needs time to infer about the possibility of each suspect committingthe crime.In Murder on the Orient Express,detective Poirot asks thirteen suspectsabout their actions that night,and the narration contains many time expressions.
Based on the maximal relevance and optimal relevance in Relevance Theory,this thesis studies the translation strategies used in CHEN Yaoguang’s version ofMurder on the Orient Express.By analyzing the two factors of inference and contextin the original text that affect the maximal relevance and optimal relevance,the thesisprobes into the elements that cause gratuitous inference and different clues contextsin the original text.After that,through the case study of CHEN Yaoguang’s handlingof gratuitous inference and clue context,two translation strategies CHEN used aresummarized,namely,reducing gratuitous inference and maintaining clue context.
First,this thesis applies Relevance Theory in detective novels,broadening thescope of research of Relevance Theory and providing ideas for the research ofRelevance Theory to the translation of other literary genres.
Second,When analyzing the text of Murder on the Orient Express,this thesisstudied the previous research on Murder on the Orient Express,proposing thattranslators should pay attention to the gratuitous inference and two types of cluecontexts in Murder on the Orient Express,which provides convenience for futurestudy of Murder on the Orient Express and detective stories.
Third,based on Relevance Theory,this thesis concludes the translationstrategies and techniques used by CHEN Yaoguang,and puts forward two strategies,namely,reducing gratuitous inference and maintaining clue context,which couldprovide references for future translation of detective stories.