Academic journal article Studies in Literature and Language

Fuzzy Language Translation in the Character Portrayal: With Special Reference to Yang Bi's Translation of Vanity Fair

Academic journal article Studies in Literature and Language

Fuzzy Language Translation in the Character Portrayal: With Special Reference to Yang Bi's Translation of Vanity Fair

Article excerpt

Abstract

The application of fuzzy language is one significant feature in character portrayal in novels. This paper aims to analyze fuzzy language translation in the character portrayal of Vanity Fair translated by Yang Bi. The three-character principle of translation formulated by Liu Zhongde functions as the yardstick to evaluate the translation referred to in this paper. The approach of domestication and the flexible reshuffling of the fuzzy Sentences are the two aspects expounded in this research.

Key words: Fuzzy language; Vanity Fair; Character portrayal; Domestication; The flexible reshuffling of the fuzzy sentences

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INTRODUCTION

Language fuzziness is one of the key elements of human languages. Bertrand Russell holds in his paper "Vagueness" that all language is more or less vague (Wu, 1999, p.98). Just as Joanna Channell (2000, p.X VIII) indicates, ordinary language leaves room for people to be vague, to avoid precision and the commitment associated with it. Wang Peizhuang maintains in the preface to Fuzzy Linguistics written by Wu Tieping that language fuzziness is the intrinsic property of non-artificial languages (Wu, 1999, p.1). Accordingly, for the sake of effect of expression, it is not unusual for novelists to apply fuzzy language in their works.

To make this research meaningful, this author narrows down the focus and concentrate on the translation of fuzzy language in character portrayal in Vanity Fair. Moreover, the three-character principle of translation formulated by Liu Zhongde, which is currently accepted as a practical criterion in evaluating the translated materials, will be the yardstick of the evaluation of the translation referred to in this paper.

1. LIU ZHONGDE'S THREE-CHARACTRE PRINCIPLES OF TRANSLATION AND THE CHARACTER PORTRAYAL IN VANITY FAIR

Whenever the translation criterion is under discussion, the three-character principle- "faithfulness, expressiveness and elegance" formulated by Yan Fu is often hailed as the one and only maxim all translators are supposed to observe. According to Liu Zhongde, nevertheless, Yan Fu's principle does not seem to be one hundred percent applicable to the translation works today. Liu keeps the first two characters of Yan Fu's translation principle. He holds that what he means by being faithful to the content of the original amounts to what Yan Fu means by "the translation conforming to the original in meaning" (Liu, 1991, p.25). That is to say, the translator ought to convey the author's ideas faithfully and accurately. He has no right to alter the meaning of the original to suit his own taste. When faithfulness is achieved, it is time for the translator to render his translation as expressive as the original. That is to say, the translation should be readable and understandable. It's just as Yan Fu said, "Without expressiveness, mere faithfulness would mean work to no avail"(Liu, 1991, p.25). Liu substitutes "closeness" for "elegance", because in his eyes elegance is actually one of various styles. A French naturalist, Buffon (1707- 1788) makes the well-known statement that style is the man, meaning that style varies with authors (Liu, 1991, p.26). In this respect, it is unreasonable for translators to make all their translations elegant in style. Therefore, Liu employs the word "closeness" as an indispensible ingredient for his own three-character principle, for this term is a neutral one which may be applied to all kinds of style.

To tremendously enhance the effects of expression, Chinese novelists are masters in employing fuzzy language in their works. The greatest Chinese classical work Dream of the Red Mansion, among others, exhibits its superb application of fuzzy language in describing the two protagonists, which is proclaimed as the most classic

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Likewise, fuzzy language is widely used in the portrayal of characters in English works. Possibly that is the reason why the belief is so universally acknowledged that one thousand readers could have one thousand Hamlets. …

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