On the Stylistic Characteristics of James Legge's Translation of Lun Yu/SUR LES CARACTÉRISTIQUES STYLISTIQUES DE LA TRADUCTION DE LUN YU DE JAMES LEGGE

By Zhu, Fang | Cross - Cultural Communication, June 3, 2010 | Go to article overview

On the Stylistic Characteristics of James Legge's Translation of Lun Yu/SUR LES CARACTÉRISTIQUES STYLISTIQUES DE LA TRADUCTION DE LUN YU DE JAMES LEGGE


Zhu, Fang, Cross - Cultural Communication


Abstract:

Closeness in style has always been the highest standard or the supreme goal of translation. A successful translation of Lun Yu is inseparable from the preservation of its original style. This paper examines whether James Legge's translation of Lun Yu reproduced the original style from the linguistic point of view and the literary point of view respectively. A careful comparative study on the source text and the target text reveals that the stylistic features of Lun Yu have been preserved in Legge's version in a considerable degree. This pioneer, and at the same time standard translation by Legge has provided us with so many good and useful translation techniques as well as enlightenment that it will continue to benefit the development of translation theory and practice.

Key words: Lun Yu; translation; style

Résumé: La proximité de style a toujours été le standard le plus élevé ou le but suprême de la traduction. Une traduction réussie de Lun Yu est indissociable de la préservation de son style original. Cet article examine si la traduction de Lun Yu de James Legge a reproduit le style original du point de vue linguistique et littéraire respectivement. Une étude comparative soigneuse sur le texte source et le texte cible révèle que les caractéristiques stylistiques de Lun Yu ont été conservées dans la version de Legge à un degré considérable. La traduction standard de Legge nous a fourni tant de techniques de traduction de qualité et utiles ainsi que de l'éclaircissement qu'il continuera de bénéficier au développement de la théorie de la traduction et de la pratique.

Mots-Clés: Lun Yu; traduction; style

1. INTRODUCTION

Closeness in style has always been the highest standard or the supreme goal of translation. According to the Revised Edition of A Dictionary of Literary Terms, style is "the characteristic manner of expression in prose or verse; how a particular writer says things. The analysis and assessment of style involves examinations of a writer's choice of words, his figures of speech, the devices (rhetorical and otherwise), the shape of his sentences (whether they be loose or periodic), the shape of paragraphs - indeed, of every conceivable aspect of his language and the way in which he uses it." (J.A.Cuddon, 1979, pp.663) Nida said that "certain mistakes in terminology or grammar can be forgiven, but a failure to reflect the spirit and dynamic of a source document is a 'mortal sin'." (Nida, 1993, Ed.2) His words demonstrate how important it is to keep the original style in translation. Therefore "translators today should try their best to make their translations correspond, or at least, steer close to the original in style so that resemblance in spirit may be achieved." (Liu Zhongde, 1991, pp.123) A successful translation ?? Lun Yu is inseparable from the preservation of its original style. This paper examines whether James Legge's translation of Lun Yu reproduced the original style from the linguistic point of view and the literary point of view respectively.

2. LINGUISTIC ANALYSIS FROM THE MICROSCOPIC POINT OF VIEW

From the microscopic point of view, namely, the linguistic point of view, style is embodied in "phonological, register, lexical, syntactic, textural and rhetorical markers of a work." (Yang Zi-jian, Liu Xue-yun, 1994, pp.598) Critical study and evaluation of Legge's translation of the original style is to be made in these six respects.

2.1 Phonological Features

From the angle of auditory phonetics, "a meaningful act of speech has another end - the reception end. The sounds produced by the speaker will be received by the hearer. "(Hu Zhuang-lin; Liu Run-qing; Li Yan-fu, 1988, pp.39) Professor Liu Mi-qing further pointed out the relationship between phonetics and style: "Due to the fact that human language should first of all resort to the sense of hearing, the phonological features of the language system become the basic features of the language style, by which the unique beauty of the language can be made up. …

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