Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

Translation Techniques of Chinese Union Version: From the Perspective of Skopos Theory

Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

Translation Techniques of Chinese Union Version: From the Perspective of Skopos Theory

Article excerpt


With the development of modernization and opening up and reform policy, Christianity has the opportunity to prosper in China. Holy Bible, the sacred scripture of Christianity, is one of the brilliant crystals of western culture. As a predominant translated work, Chinese Union Version (CUV) is widely spread in Christians and its publication marks the forerunner of vernacular campaign, which sets an example for the replacement of classical Chinese. CUV has been popularized extensively and intensively in China, which is closely related to its high quality of translation and techniques. Three rules of Skopos theory, including Skopos rule, coherence rule and fidelity rule are applied in the paper to prove that the three rules of Skopos theory should be taken into account when analyzing translation techniques of CUV. Fidelity rule is discussed first in a broader perspective, conforming to its feature of faithfulness. As a result, literal translation dominates the whole translational process. In addition, the specific techniques are concluded based on Skopos rule level and coherence rule level. The techniques of CUV translation include: diction, repetition, conversion, inversion and amplification.

Key words: Skopos theory; Chinese Union Version; Translation techniques

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In western countries, almost all the translated versions of Bible have impact on the unification and standardization of their languages. Compared to the study of CUV, the researches on its translation techniques are far from enough. With Skopos Theory as a theoretical basis, the paper discusses and categorizes the techniques of translation in accordance to the three rules of Skopos Theory. In a broader sense, the fidelity rule conforms to the literal translation of CUV to preserve the original meaning. While the techniques of CUV translation, including diction, repetition, conversion, inversion and amplification are discussed from the perspective of Skopos rule and Coherence rule, which demonstrates the particularity of CUV.


When it comes to the connection between functionalist approaches and translation, Skopos Theory of Vermeer plays an indispensable role. Vermeer holds that translation is a kind of action or an intentional and purposeful behavior which changes according to specific situation. It also depends on the source text. As for Vermeer, any action has its aim or purpose, the same as translation. "Skopos", a Greek word, was introduced into translation theory by Vermeer in the 1970s, which refers to the goal or purpose of a translation, namely what a translator is aiming at in the translation process. The Skopos Theory holds that the way the target text eventually shapes up is determined to a great extent by the function, or "Skopos", intended for it in the target context. (Hatim, 2005:74) Therefore, the goal or purpose of translation determines the methods, techniques and process of translation so as to realize a functionally adequate translation. The theory introduces the idea that a translation should always be conducted to realize the purpose of the target text in the target text's situation. The main purpose contributing to any translation process is the purpose (Skopos) of the overall translational action.

Vermeer first put forward Skopos theory in his paper Frame Work for a General Translation Theory (1978), giving three main rules: the Skopos rule, coherence rule and fidelity rule. The Skopos rule means that translation is determined by the prospective function or purpose of the translated text as determined by the translation initiator, which is the paramount rule among the three rules. There are three branches affiliated to the Skopos rule including the Skopos of translator, communicative Skopos of the translated text and Skopos fulfilled by specific translational tactics and approaches. In the common ground, Skopos refers to the communicative Skopos. …

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