Chapter One Task Description
1.1 Task Background
The interpreter provided Mr. Calvin, a foreign teacher working in Changchun with interpreting service free of charge on September 22, 2021 after learning that he intended to visit Changchun City Planning Exhibition Hall. Although Mr. Calvin has been working in Changchun for several years, he hardly has opportunity to learn Chinese so he has difficulty following the guide’s explanation. And he also knows little about the historical background and culture of Changchun let alone the detailed past of China so it is a huge challenge for the interpreter when they encountered the terms with Chinese characteristics and the folk custom of the northeast of China. Therefore, the interpreter has made an enormous effort to prepare for the interpreting and seek to give a better performance for Mr. Calvin’s better understanding of these knowledge.
As for the Exhibition Hall, it is located in the south of Changchun and has been regarded as the flower of the city. The whole museum is composed of the Planning Exhibition Hall, the Museum and the Art Gallery, with a total construction area of 545 thousand square meters, including more than 20 thousand square meters of Planning Exhibition Hall, designed by Master Cui Kai, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, showing Changchun’ s city development and city planning vision. The exhibition hall is divided into three layers, including the development history of Changchun, the current city planning and the future of Changchun, which represent the subject of “history and humanities, intelligence development and green development” respectively. The exhibition shows in four parts: Reading Changchun History, the Construction of Regional Central City of Northeast Asia, Promoting the Construction of Ecological Civilization and Exploring the Future with a total of 22 galleries.
1.2 Task Requirements
In order to help Calvin to understand the guide’s explanation and the content of the exhibition hall, the interpreter has to understand everything in advance so that she can give more precise interpreting when they encounter some terms unusually seen in their normal life. If there are some terms that the interpreter doesn’t know either, some strategies can be used by the interpreter to make the tour go on smoothly.
First of all, the interpreter should make sure that her announcement is clear and her voice is loud enough to hear because the tourist is exposed to a public area where many people walk around and even probably come and watch. In such a situation, Calvin can understand nothing except what he sees and the English instructions written on the plates in each room, so he needs to spend a lot of energy to read the information around him. Complex interpreting may occupy too much cognitive load of tourists and have a negative impact on the tourist’s experience. Therefore, concise interpreting is always welcome, especially when other sources of information are available and time is tight.
Second, as is known to all, members growing up in the same language and cultural background will be influenced by the cultural tradition, social background, beliefs and customs in the background, forming their fixed cognitive structure and values. The reason why folk culture can be handed down from generation to generation and continuously develop is mainly based on the vocabulary system of language, which is a cultural symbol. Vocabulary is the fastest response to the development and change of a national culture and the latest cultural phenomenon. Cultural subjects, including culture-loaded words and folklore words.
Chapter Two Interpreting Process
This visit to Changchun City Planning Exhibition Hall involves various aspects of Changchun, ranging from political, historical and cultural background to folk customs and people’s livelihood in northeast China so the interpreter tried her best to accumulate knowledge and information about Changchun in all aspects, especially the northeast ethnic characteristic vocabulary. If the interpreter doesn’t understand these related vocabularies, it is difficult to explain them. After collecting these words, the interpreter searched the Internet for their specific meanings. In addition, the interpreter had also done some research on the layout of the exhibition hall, because being familiar with the site can help the interpreter to predict timely and be more determined while interpreting. With all the information collected, the interpreter became more confident, free of anxiety. Besides, the interpreter should be careful about the accent of the tourist when Calvin asks questions. Accent may also pose challenges in interpreter-mediated communication. (Pochhacker, 2021: 25-30). It’s also necessary for the interpreter to make preparation for the accent of South Africa in advance in case.
2.1.1 Background Information
In the periods of two Han dynasties, the Three Kingdoms and Wei, Jin Southern and Northern dynasties, Changchun was part of Buyeo and Goguryeo in the north. After 713, the first year of Kaiyuan, Emperor Xuanzong of Tang Dynasty, the Bohai people aroused and established the Bohai Kingdom. In 916, the Knitan was founded and gradually became strong. It replaced the Bohai State and established the Liao Dynasty, and established the Huanglongfu (now Nong ’an). In 1115, the Jurchen people rose up and established the Jin State, and Changchun was under the jurisdiction of Longzhou Capital. In 1234, the Mongols destroyed the Jin Dynasty, unified China to establish the Yuan Dynasty, and Changchun was in the boundary of Liaoyuan province Kaiyuan Road. The Yuan Empire was overthrown by peasant rebels, and its remnants retreated to the northeast, where Mongol nomads lived until the Ming Dynasty.
2.2 Interpreting on Site
The tour began in the lobby on the first floor and ended on the third floor. During the more than one-hour trip, the interpreter mainly interpreted from Chinese (tour guide) to English (the tourist), and sometimes, did some dialogue interpreting, because tourists occasionally had some problems. After completing the preparation work, interpreters had learned a lot about the history and development of Changchun and have prepared relatively sufficient expressions of historical and cultural colors, but they do not know what the tour guide will focus on during the tour. For example, there are many exhibits on the folk customs of Northeast China, but the tour guide only passed through them, and Changchun’s historical changes and ancient fossil exhibits were not described in details. All in all, the trip ended successfully, despite the occasional poor interpreting by the interpreters, which made no sense.
After completing the task, the interpreter listened to the playback of the recording and listened carefully to the interpreting process. On the whole, the interpreter thinks she has done a good job in this task. On the one hand, since the speaker is not too fast to keep up with, the interpreter can keep up with the guide without missing too much information. Therefore, the interpreter thinks she has done a good job of information integrity. On the other hand, although there were still some problems, most of the content was explained smoothly, thanks to the thorough preparation before the mission. The tourist is hampered by the interpreting of receiving information including slurred speech, sometimes this is due to external factors, such as something caused by wearing a mask, sometimes maybe because the interpreting ability is no enough, and it also maybe because of too much information and other interference factors, such as the noise of the other tourists. All of these can affect the speed and sound of an interpreter’s response, and lead to omissions and other errors.
Chapter Three Application of the Eco-translatology ................................ 15
3.1 The Development of the Eco-translatology .................................. 15
3.2 Three-dimensional Transformation ............................... 17
Chapter Four Problems and Solutions ................................ 19
4.1 Problems .......................................... 19
4.1.1 Inaccuracy of Interpreting Cultural Content ....................... 19
4.1.2 Omissions of Trivial Information ....................................... 22
Conclusion .............................. 33
Chapter Four Problems and Solutions
Three kinds of interpreting mistakes: inaccuracy of cultural content, omissions and misunderstanding of long and difficult sentences. And here are some corresponding strategies that can contribute to solving these problems in the light of eco-translatology.
4.1.1 Inaccuracy of Interpreting
Cultural Content Cultural content defines “culture” as the customs, values, laws, technology and art of a particular time or people. Such words not only carry rich cultural connotations, but also “exist only in one culture and are blank in another culture”. Just because one has characteristics that the other does not have, there are often obstacles to cross-cultural communication and translation. As one of the important carriers of culture, language reflects a nation’s historical and cultural tradition. The reason why a nation’s culture can be handed down from generation to generation and continuously develop is mainly by the lexical system in language, a cultural symbol but there are many words without corresponding translation in English or the literal translation is not the exact meaning of the original. Take the idiom“直捣黄龙”as an example, the direct translation “yellow dragon” is not the real meaning of the original. It refers to Changchun at that time. Therefore, to convey the accurate meaning of the original culture, some coping strategies must be applied in such situation.
Interpreter: From ancient times to 1800, Changchun is in the core area of Song-Liao plain and nomadism, fishing and agriculture……farming cultures mingled at the same time here. And in Liao and Jin dynasty this place was under the jurisdiction of Huanglongfu. In China, there is an old saying “Zhi Dao Huang Long”, means this place, Changchun.
In this report the Chinese-English interpreting is conducted in Changchun City Planning Exhibition Hall. Throughout the whole task, there have been many challenges and problems. The interpreter first analyzed the problems arising in interpreting activities, mainly the improper handling of long and difficult information-intensive sentences in the source text and the culture-loaded words, which also bring some psychological pressure to the interpreter. Under the guidance of the principle of three-dimensional transformation in ecological translation theory, the interpreter discussed the problems and tried to give solutions and strategies.
Errors such as omissions and misinterpreting are the most common problems in interpreting. The interpreter can also make appropriate assumptions and associations about the content of the source text to enhance memory. When faced with culture-loaded words, the interpreter can provide further explanations to make the tourist understand them. when facing with some long sentences with a lot of information, the interpreter can simplify the information or break up the long sentences into several groups. The analysis of this report reveals some shortcomings of interpreters that can be overcome by strategies guided by the principle of three-dimensional transformation. However, in order to make better use of these strategies, the methods and strategies proposed in this report need to be further studied when analyzing other tasks in the future. In addition, the standardization of language use, dynamic adjustment of policies and experience in dealing with emergencies are also important.