Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Manipulation in Poetry Translation

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Manipulation in Poetry Translation

Article excerpt

Abstract

Traditional poetry translation studies often emphasize on the reproduction of the form or meaning and the translatability of poetry, not beyond the constraints of linguistic analysis. This paper sets out to discuss English translation of Chinese poems within a larger social, political and cultural context. According to André Lefevere, the leading representative of "Cultural school", translation is a rewriting or manipulation of an original text mainly influenced by three social and cultural factors, that is, ideology, dominant poetics and patronage. Translation doesn't go on in a vacuum and is bound to reflect a certain ideology and poetics. Translators from different social-historical backgrounds are manipulated by different ideology, poetics and patronage, and often rewrite the original to different degrees to meet the target cultural demands in different times.

Keywords: Manipulation, Ideology, Poetics, Patronage, Poetry translation

1. Theoretical Review

Traditional translation theory tended to stress linguistic equivalence and maintained that equivalence to the original is the basic and fundamental quality that a translated work should possess. This source-oriented approach dominated the study of translation for a considerable period. Around in the 1950s and 60s, culture-orientation started to emerge in social sciences, such as literary criticism, which is one of the most important developments to impact on translation theory by shifting its focus from the author and the original work to the reader and the context of reception. This shiftis very important to translation theory since in the first place a translator is a reader of the original work, and his or her interpretation of the original is thus both authorized and contextualized. Translation studies were no longer confined to the text itself, instead in close connection with the social and cultural context. The descriptive, target-oriented and inter-disciplinary turn in translation studies provided an impetus for manipulation theory. Manipulation stresses the translator's role and the various constraints at the receiving end rather than the equivalence to the source. According to Hermans (Hermans, 1999, p.8), the name was proposed by André Lefevere who attempts to study translation from a sociological perspective, that is, how translational activities operate and function in the target society. For Lefevere, any work is not translated in a vacuum, which serves the needs of the ideology and poetics of a given society. Ideology and poetics, for him, are the two major factors that constrain the production and the reception of translation. He thought society is a super-system and literature is one of the subsystems, or "system of systems". There are two control factors influencing the interaction between literary system and other systems. The first operates within the literary system, represented by "professionals", such as critics, reviewers, teachers and translators. The other, outside of the literary system, is called "patronage". The first factor functions within the literary system, but according to the parameters set by the second factor. Lefevere's theory of manipulation successfully places translation within a larger social, political and cultural context and allows us to observe the way in which translation interact with the target environment. His theoretical framework has been employed by many scholars to study specific cases and has been proved quite enlightening and fruitful. It is therefore believed that this framework will help throw some new light on the study of poetry translation. As for poetry translation, one of the most prevalent discussions on it is whether the form and meaning in the original can be well reproduced in translation from the perspective of linguistic analysis. Different scholars hold different ideas to themselves, for example, the Chinese translator Xu Yuan-zhong said, "a poetic translation should be as beautiful as the original in sense, in sound and, if possible, in form" (Xu Yuan-zhong, 1988, p. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.