Academic journal article International Journal of English Linguistics

The Influence of Translators' Cultural Identity on the Translation of Lunyu

Academic journal article International Journal of English Linguistics

The Influence of Translators' Cultural Identity on the Translation of Lunyu

Article excerpt

Abstract

As a representative of the Chinese classics, Lunyu was researched by numerous scholars. There are a lot of factors that influence the translation of Lunyu. In this paper, through analysis of their translated versions and their cultural identity, the author explored how a translator's cultural identity influences his translation. In conclusion, it leads to a final conclusion through the discussion: the translators' identity determines the translating purposes, and translating purposes determine selection of translating strategies; translators' cultural identity influences their translation of cultural messages.

Keywords: translators' identity, culture, translation of Lunyu

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1. Introduction

As a representative of Chinese classics, Lunyu was researched by numerous scholars. It is the foundation of the moral, social, and political life of the Chinese people; hence the translation of Lunyu is of great significance in the communication of eastern and western cultures. There are a large number of English versions of Lunyu. There are a lot of factors that influence the translation of Lunyu. This paper intends to study the connection between translators' cultural identity and their translations.

Translation, as a mean of communication between different languages and societies, is inevitably undertaken in a cultural environment. Translator, as the key performer of the translation process, has a significant influence on his translation. He or she is a member of a certain nation; he or she lives in a particular country in a particular period of time; he or she is a product of a specific culture, and all the factors such as race, gender, class, education, ideological features and so on have an impact on the translation itself.

Three translators mentioned in this paper all enjoy a reputation of high quality, and they have different cultural identities. In this paper, through comparative analysis of their translated versions and their cultural identity, the author explored how a translator's cultural identity influences his translation.

2. Identity and Translation

2.1 The Definition of Cultural Identity

Identity is a key term in the recent cultural studies. Before discussing the cultural identity, it is necessary to make clear what culture is. There are many different cultures in the world, and divided by various standards, we have western and eastern culture, by ideology; Chinese culture, American culture, Indian culture, etc, by nation; Christian culture, Muslim culture, and Buddhism culture, by religion. As much as it has been used, however, it is not easy to give a precise definition for the term "culture". There many definitions of culture.

Bates and Plog put it: Culture is a system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviors, and artifacts that the members of a society use to cope with their world and with one another, and that are transmitted from generation to generation through learning. This definition includes not only patterns of behavior but also patterns of thought (shared meanings that the members of a society attach to various phenomena, natural and intellectual, including religion and ideologies), artifacts (tools, pottery, houses, machines, works of art), and he culturally transmitted skills and techniques used to make the artifacts (Bates & Plog, 1990, p. 28).

This is a commonly accepted definition. It includes major aspects of culture. And we should also make clear what identity is.

Stuart Hall put it: Identity is to define oneself against what one is not: to be English is to know yourself in relation to the French, and the hot-blooded Mediterranean, and the passionate traumatized Russian soul. You go round the entire globe: when you know what everybody else is, then you are what they are not (Hamers & Blanc, 1989, p.116).

The essential concept about identity is the recognition of some characters or features that function as the yardstick of belongingness or exclusion, that "define" a person or a group. …

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