Dynamic and formal equivalence Essay
Dynamic and formal equivalence
This part, which serves as the introduction to the thesis, first defines the key term “tourism text” and expounds its essential functions, then it moves on to provide a brief review of relevant studies available and explain the necessity and purpose of the research, finally, it points out the arrangement and content as well as the data and methodology of the thesis. 1 Tourism texts 1. 1. 1 Definition of tourism texts The tourism text is a broad term covering various texts concerning tourism industry.
Tourism texts that this thesis is concerned with are written texts such as, tourist pamphlets, guidebooks, brochures, tour maps, and advertisements, which are published by publishers, tourist agencies, and government departments formally or informally, and which are mainly designed to introduce tourist attractions, tourist resources, and tourist service facilities, etc. 1. 1. 2 Functions of tourism texts The destinations people choose to visit for their holiday away from home are likely to have a significant bearing on the level of satisfaction they derive from their holiday.
What the tourists are buying is essentially a destination (Hawl, 1988: 98). While tourism texts appear to be “mines of information”, their purpose is not simply to inform but to persuade potential holiday makers to purchase. For inexperienced holiday buyers, tourism texts are especially important. They help holidaymakers choose a tourist destination. Therefore, tourism texts play a crucial role in attracting the holidaymaker’s initial interest. Tourism marketing relies on brochures to a much greater extent than other forms of consumer marketing (Luo Xinghuan, 2001: 133). Like other kinds of texts, tourism texts are multi-functional.
1. The vocative function The leading and dominant function of a tourism text is the vocative function: the text possesses the directive function and produces obvious perlocutionary force. By providing rich information with vivid and particular descriptions, the tourism text stimulates and induces the interests and impulses of tentative tourists and attracts them to visit a destination. The vocative function is central to how the tourism text works as such and all the other functions serve this purpose (Kang Ning, 2005: 85). A tourism text that fails to gain the receiver’s attention and then hold the person’s interest is ineffective.
2. The informative function The informative function means that a tourism text must be informative enough to make a consumer aware of a destination, which is of exceptional importance. It is the basic function of a tourism text. The tourism text, as a tool for promotion, is usually presented at an early stage of a tourist’s awareness. Before he makes the decision to visit an attraction, a tourist must first attain enough relevant information. The information provided by the text includes historical and cultural information, practical information, such as location, itinerary, facilities, expenses, etc.
(Kang Ning, 2005: 86). Through reading, the tourist absorbs the essential information about the destination and gets the outline of an image in his mind. A tourism text is most directly related to the promotion of a certain attraction and is designed to familiarize the general public with it. Thus, a tourism text has to be informative enough in order to achieve its persuasive function. As a provider of information, the tourism text has to be factual, giving information that the readers are interested in. Nevertheless, readers have different political, religious, and personal beliefs.
A tourism text is not intended to get involved in such disputable issues, let alone publicizing them. When it comes to historic sites where certain factual accounts are necessary, such as accounts of the war of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, some alternative approaches have to be adopted so as to avoid offending some tourists (Zhu Baochen, 1991: 174). However,if the text only provides some basic information, it is difficult to induce the readers’ desire to visit a tourist destination. Therefore, it is necessary to resort to the descriptive function. 3.
The descriptive function The descriptive function means that a tourism text writer tries to furnish potential tourists with a vivid and concrete picture of a tourist destination. By a skillful selection and arrangement of details of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch, a tourism text writer attempts to create for them an appropriate image, induce in them a fitting mood, or arouse a proper emotional response (Xiao Liming, 2002: 208). The descriptive function is often employed to picture for the tentative visitors a beautiful scene of a tourist attraction. The three functions work simultaneously.
The vocative function runs through the whole text and the other two are embodied in part of the text. The vocative function is dominant and the other two merely play auxiliary, add-on roles. The vocative function is the internal function of the text, which can only be achieved through the external functions—the informative and descriptive one (Kang Ning, 2005: 86). In a word, the ultimate purpose of a tourism text is to realize its vocative function, which depends on the combined realization of the informative and the descriptive function. 1. 2 Review of the relevant literature available.
Chinese scholars who specialize in the field of tourism text translation have published some books and articles which discuss the translation of Chinese tourism texts into English from different perspectives. 1. 2. 1 Research from the perspective of functionalism Scholars who study the translation of Chinese tourism texts from the perspective of functionalism attempt to construct a theoretical framework for the translation model from the functionalist theory. The functionalist theory includes Nida’s principle of dynamic or functional equivalence, Newmark’s text typology and Skopos Theory.
By means of a comparative analysis, Kang Ning (2005: 85) puts forwards three functions that both English and Chinese tourism literature are meant to perform: the directive, the descriptive, and the informational function. He further argues that the right strategy for translating Chinese tourism texts into English should be based on three reader-centered principles: 1) striving to achieve adequate equivalence with the source text as far as the directive function is concerned; 2) making proper adjustments to the informative function of the source text to better serve the TL readers’ need;
3) adapting the descriptive function of ST to TL readers’ aesthetic norms. Chen Xiaowei (2000: 9-12) believes that the functional concept of translation put forward by some German scholars has opened up a new perspective to translation studies at home and it has provided the theoretical basis for some translation practices which were considered to have violated the existing criteria of translation but which produced satisfactory practical outcome and provoked reappraisal of such translation methods as abridgment and adaptation. Jia Wenbo has published some books and articles on the translation of pragmatic texts to which tourism texts belong.
He (2004a: 337-380) thinks that the internal relationship between the textual functions and the translation strategies is obvious to see and forms a regular pattern in the translation practice, showing that the notions advocated by Nord and Newmark in their translation studies can serve as a guiding principle for specifying the strategy. Following Skopos Theory, many other scholars represented by Lu Guofei, Jiao Wenyuan and Lin Xiaoqing also discuss the functions and purposes of translation of Chinese tourism texts into English and explore the specific translation strategies 1. 2.
2 Research from the perspective of cross- cultural communication Tourism texts are filled with cultural elements, such as history, religion, social customs, cuisine culture, landscaping, etc. Major differences between Chinese and Western culture are reflected in tourism texts. While studying the translation of Chinese tourism texts, some scholars focus on the cultural aspect and propose that one of the main purposes of translation is to promote Chinese culture to the outside world. Jin Huikang (2007: 31) says that the development of tourism has a great impact on the world’s economy and culture.
When translating Chinese publicity materials into English, translators should consider the cross-cultural factors and conduct the exchange of information and inter-language transfer. Zhang Ning (2000) analyses cultural elements in tourist materials and differences between Chinese and Western cultures as reflected in them before he puts forward some rules and techniques concerning the translation of tourist materials into English. 1. 2. 3 Research from the perspective of pragmatics Research from the pragmatic aspect argues that the task of seeking and achieving “perlocutionary equivalence” forms part of the translator’s job.
So the translator should attempt to minimize the perlocutionay loss or “leakage”. Hichey (2004: 57-79) examines how certain types of locutionary and illocutionary forces are treated in the translation of Spanish tourist literature into English and French, and concludes that there is little evidence that the translator has kept in mind any perlocutionary aim as their top priority, their only objective seeming to be semantic equivalence. Ye Miao (2005: 26-29) also discusses the translation of tourist literature from the perspective of pragmatics with abundant examples illustrating the points discussed.
1. 2. 4 Problems in translated tourism texts Quite a few scholars have done much research on the mistakes in the target versions and the reasons behind. Through data analysis, various problems in the present tourism text translation are shown and some valuable suggestions and principles are put forward to improve the quality of tourism text translation.
The problems discussed include spelling and omission mistakes (Wen Jun et al. , 2002), no agreement in translated names of some tourist destinations(Lai Yu, 1986;Min Dayong et al., 1991;Yi zhou, 2002;Li Huaigui and Li Huai hong, 2004), grammatical errors(Liu Jiangang, 2001; Wen Jun et al. , 2002), chinglish(Liu Jiangang, 2001;
Wen Jun et al. , 2002;Jia Wenbo, 2003), the failure to transmit cultural information (Huo Guangli and Wang Bingjin, 2002;Zhang Ning, 2000;Wen Jun et al. , 2002;Chen Baiying, 2003), pragmatic failures (Lu Jianping and Jian Qingmin, 2001). Xu Mingwu and Wang Mingjin (2006) analyze in detail the linguistic mistakes in translated versions on three levels: word, sentence, and text.
The mistakes on word level include incorrect translation of some words and phrases, caused by a misinterpretation of the original information, false-equivalent words, inappropriate expressions, redundancy, the use of some uncommon words; those on the sentence level include false structures, misplacement of sentence components, unnecessary repetition, run-on sentences; those on the text level are the lack of cohesion and coherence. In “Appealing for More Attention to External Publicity”, Mr. Duan Liancheng (1992: 19-37) states that the problems in the translated versions of publicity materials can be summarized as two kinds of “diseases”.
The symptoms of the first kind of “disease” include numerous spelling and typographical errors, grammar mistakes and inappropriate diction. The second kind of “disease” is characterized by the difficulty for foreigners to understand and comprehend tourism texts, let alone appreciating them, due to striking cultural barriers. Among these problems, the first kind of “disease” is caused mainly by translators’ carelessness and poor language skills. Many materials are printed even without proofreading. Such mistakes are easy to recognize and correct.
The second kind of disease, however, is difficult to detect, because superficially the target version is equivalent to the original. The reason why foreigners fail to understand it is that the translator does not bear the target readers in mind and that he or she neglects the difference between source text readers and target text readers, who belong to different cultural groups. Compared with the original text readers, the receptors of the target text, no matter how well-educated they are, lack basic knowledge about Chinese language, culture, and society (Lu Guofei, 2000:79).
Therefore, if Chinese tourism texts are translated mechanically, the versions will be confusing or perplexing to the target tourists. Skopos Theory, which holds that the addressee of the translation is a decisive factor in the production of a target text, will certainly be used to guide our translation practice. 1. 3 The necessity and purpose of the study Owing to such factors as increased global mobility, industrialization, and urbanization, tourism, which has been developing rapidly, has become one of the world’s biggest industries and a major component of the world economy.
Under the guidance of the Central Government of China and with the support of local governments at all levels, the tourist industry in our country has made great headway since the reform and opening up to the outside world started in 1978 (Luo Xinghuan, 2001: 231). According to the World Tourism Organization, China will become one of the largest tourist destinations in the world in the following decades. In 2020, China will surpass any other country and become the largest tourist destination in the world. By 2020, more than 1,137,000,000 people will have visited China and (Hong Ming, 2006:56).
As traveling cost decreases, as people’s leisure time increases and as people become more curious about other lands, certainly the tourism industry will develop more and more flourishingly in the 21st century. The development of tourism, in turn, exerts a great influence on the economy and culture of the world. As a principal means of spreading information, persuading tourists to travel and influencing their decisions, tourism texts, for many people in the tourism business, constitute the most critical variable in the marketing process.
English tourism texts are an important tool with which China introduces its commodities, services, Chinese culture, etc. to the world. They play a positive role in meeting the material and cultural needs of the public and carrying forward national culture. Therefore, it is quite necessary and invaluable to translate numerous Chinese tourism texts (CTT) into English and to ensure that their English versions are excellent. On the other hand, the quality of translated tourism texts is far from satisfactory in China. Let’s first look at the following publicity material for the Butterfly Spring —a famous tourist attraction in Yangshuo.
It is extracted from the travel brochure which is distributed to every tourist who visits the place. (1)??????????????? “???? ”??????? ,????????????????????????? “???? ”???????????????????????????? (????????????? )??? ,?? “??????? ”—????????????? “?? ”?????? ,?????? ,????? Butterfly Spring is located on the way to the famous Moon hill and has to the unique hanging bridge in Yangshuo. Butterfly Spring atea also has natural waterfall, good melodies echoed among mountain. You can view the beautiful yulong River and Yangjiao hills there.
It has Bee riew garden and China’s biggest Butterfly View garden in the area. You can experience rock-climbing. Which is called “Ballet on the cliff”. You can Butterfly Lover-Romeo and Juliet in East. It is areally a place you to feel the nature. In the above text, six spelling and grammatical mistakes can be identified at a glance. “Area” and “view” are misspelled as “atea” and “riew” respectively. Furthermore, the translated Chinese names of sight spots do not accord with the criterion of English tourism texts. The first letter of each word in the names should have been capitalized.
Therefore, “Moon hill”, “yulong River”, “Yangjiao hill” and “Bee garden” should be changed into “Moon Hill”, “Yulong River”, “Yangjiao Hill” and “Bee Garden” respectively. In the sentence, “You can butterfly Lover-Romeo and Juliet in East,” there is no predicate and it is not a complete sentence at all. In the sentence “It is areally a place you to feel the nature,” there are two obviously serious mistakes. “Areally” is a wrong word; the omission of the important preposition “for” resulted in a very awkward and scrambled sentence. The original version is a very long sentence crammed with information about the tourist destination.
In the Chinese version, the information involves three aspects: the geographical position of the Butterfly Spring, the sight spots listed, and the activities for tourists to enjoy. The information is reorganized in the target version, but it is in disorder. For example, in the first sentence, the clause indicating the geographical location coordinates with the clause listing one of the sight spots. However, “rock-climbing” and the performance of “Eastern Romeo and Juliet” are stated in two different sentences. As for the transmission of information, some is conveyed in a distorted way and something significant is totally lost.
According to the original text, the Butterfly Spring is not “located on the way to the famous Moon Hill” but situated in one area of the famous Moon Hill, where a cluster of attractive scenic spots lie which are compared to “ten-mile gallery”. Also, the English version is very dull and monotonous because of omission of some descriptive adjectives in the original version. Furthermore, the English version is not compact in structure, in other words, it is organized loosely. The objects of descriptions in the sentences are different, and the subjects of the sentences are frequently changed between “you” and “it”.
No transitional words or cohesive devices are employed to show the logical relations between the sentences. Because of the poor quality, the English version fails to be as effective and functional as the original. From the above example, we have to face the fact that the quality of the English versions of some Chinese tourism texts is indeed at a very low level. Due to the poor quality, the English versions fail to provide foreign tourists with necessary interesting information, to say nothing of making them enjoy the beauty of the tourist attractions.
What’s worse, they will damage the images of the tourist attractions, and leave a bad impression on the foreigners that the quality of tourist service in China is not good at all. Accordingly, it is quite necessary to make an in-depth research on the translation CTT into English so as to improve the quality of English versions. In addition, although there are quite a number of researches on the translation of tourism texts, as can be seen from the brief review in the previous section, yet the topic is far from being exhausted, and moreover, as far as I know, some researches fail to solve practical problems in a rewarding way.
Thus, in my opinion, the subject is worth discussing further. This thesis is intended to introduce Skopos Theory and to illustrate how it acts as a guide to the translation of CTT and to explore appropriate and effective approaches for it. It is sincerely hoped that the research on the translation of CTT into English can arouse the translators’ awareness of the functions of the target texts and help them do better in the process of translation. It is also expected that this research can shed light on the translation of other types of publicity materials.
- 4 The arrangement and content of the thesis The thesis is composed of six chapters. It is organized as follows. Chapter I introduces some basic information about tourism texts, states the necessity, purpose and significance of the research, and points out the structure, data and methodology. It also briefly reviews of relevant literature available. Chapter II presents the main theoretical framework utilized in the thesis and discusses the component parts of Skopos Theory in detail. Chapter III analyzes the conventional linguistic features of CTT and English tourism texts (ETT).
The target versions of CTT should be in line with the language features of ETT. This chapter serves as a prerequisite for the discussion of methods for translation of CTT in the next chapter. In Chapter IV, abundant examples are supplied to illustrate how different translation methods are adopted to serve the purpose and fulfill the function of translation. By analyzing the examples, the author illustrates how Skopos Theory functions in the translation of CTT. Chapter V analyses some English versions with a conclusion that Skopos Theory is indeed operative and directive in the translation of CTT into English.
Chapter VI, which is the concluding chapter, stresses the main idea of the thesis and points out further research to be conducted. 1. 5 Data and methodology Most of the tourism texts in the thesis are selected from brochures about tourist attractions. Some are taken from the tourist materials gathered while the writer was going on a tour, such as tickets, photos and pictures, brochures, souvenirs or from introductory articles available on the websites and magazines. The provided data are objective and reliable. The study is performed mainly from the perspectives of linguistics, pragmatics, cultural communication and translatology.
Theoretical and practical analyses are made in combination with typical examples. The comparative and contrastive approach is frequently applied to the analyses. Chapter II Skopos Theory Skopos Theory belongs to German functionalism which appeared in the 1970s in Germany and was introduced into china around the 1990s. Breaking with the traditional linguistic translation theories, it treats translation as a purpose activity and focuses on the purpose of translation. In this Chapter, the development of skopos theory as well as its basic aspects will be expounded.
2. 1 An overview of Skopos Theory 2. 1. 1 Katharina Reiss:text-typology The initiator of Skopos Theory is Reiss. Greatly influenced by the theory of equivalence, especially the theory of dynamic equivalence, Reiss developed a model of translation criticism based on the functional relationship between source and target texts. In 1971, in the book Translation criticism: the potential and limitations, she (2004) first proposed that the purpose that the translation action expects to fulfill should be regarded as the criterion for translation criticism.
According to Reiss, the ideal translation would be one “in which the aim in the target language (TL) is equivalence as regards the conceptual, linguistic form and communicative function of a source language (SL) Text (quoted in Nord 2001: 9). On the one hand, Reiss adheres to the source text (ST)-centered equivalence theory. On the other hand, by examining accumulated experience in translation practice, she realized that in real situations, sometimes, equivalence is not possible and, in some cases, not even desired.
It is common that the target text (TT) is intended to achieve a purpose by the initiator other than that of the original. There are other cases, when the target text addresses an audience different from the intended readership of the original. In such cases, according to Reiss (2004), the functional perspective takes precedence over the normal standards of equivalence. The translation critic can no longer rely on features derived from source-text analysis but has to judge whether the target text is functional in terms of the translation context (Nord, 2001: 9).
Borrowing Karl Buhler’s three-way categorization of the functions of language, Reiss classified the texts into three types: the informative text where the content is the main focus, the expressive text where the focus is on creative composition and aesthetics, and the operative text by which what is meant is that the text appeals to the reader to act in a certain way, persuading, dissuading, requesting, and cajoling him (Li Heqing et al. , 2005: 87). Reiss (2004: 93) suggests specific translation methods be adopted according to text types.
Each type of text calls for particular sets of skills and strategies on the part of the translator, who must recognize what kind of text he is translating before he begins working with it. While translating the informative texts, the translator should attempt to give a correct and complete representation of the source text’s content and should be guided, in terms of stylistic choices, by the dominant norms of the target language and culture(Nord 2001: 38). The TT of an expressive text should transmit the aesthetic and artistic form of the ST.
The translation should use the “identifying” method, with the translator adopting the standpoint of the ST author (Munday, 2001: 75). In Operative texts both content and form are subordinate to the extra-linguistic effect that the text is designed to achieve. The translating of operative texts into operative texts should be guided by the overall aim of bringing about the same reaction in the audience, although this might involve changing the content and/or stylistic features of the original (Nord 2001: 37-38). Of course, there is a host of hybrid of types.
That is to say, the same text can perform several functions. The tourism text performs the informative, descriptive and vocative functions simultaneously. Tourism texts fall into informative and operative texts. Despite the existence of such hybrid types, Reiss states that “the transmission of the predominant function of the ST is the determining factor by which the TT is judged” (quoted in Munday, 2004: 75). 2. 1. 2 Hans J. Vermeer: Skopos Theory The theory of action provides the foundation for Hans J. Vermeer’s Skopos Theory (Nord, 2001: 23).
Action is “an intentional change or transition from one state of affairs to another” (ibid. ). Skopos Theory is part of a theory of translational action. Translation is seen as the particular variety of translational action, which is based on a source text. That is why action theory can explain certain aspects of translation. Any action has an aim, a purpose. It is the aim that decides the ways a person acts. According to this, Vermeer, one of Reiss’ students, proposed for many times that the purpose of translation determines the translation strategies to be adopted.
In 1984, in General Foundations of Translation Theory, a book, which he co-authored with Katharina Reiss, Vermeer first introduced the concept “Skopos Theory” (Chen Xiaowei, 2000: 9). The kernel of Skopos Theory is that the end justifies the means (Nord, 2001: 29). It is the purpose of the translation that determines the translation strategies to be adopted. Vermeer pointed out that “the overall frame of reference for the translator should not be the original and its function, as equivalence-based translation theory would have it, but the function or set of functions the target text is to achieve in the target culture” (Nord, 1992: 39).
Therefore, the translator is required to act consciously in accordance with the Skopos of the target text, as it is the decisive factor in the whole translation process. 2. 1. 3 Nord: function plus loyalty principle At the beginning of 1990s, Nord further developed Skopos Theory and proposed the concept of “function plus loyalty” based on the former theory, through which she wants to compensate for the limitations of Skopos Theory and solve the problem of radical functionalism. Nord’s model, designed for training translators retains the functional context but includes a more
detailed text analysis model for the ST ( Munday, 2001:87). 2. 2 Basic concepts of Skopos Theory 2. 2. 1 Definition of translation from a new perspective As we have mentioned above, translation is at first a type of purposeful human action. Moreover, because purpose behavior takes place in a given situation and the situation is in turn embedded in cultures, translation must be evaluated in a particular culture system. Translation is then not only the shift from ST to TT, but also a trans-cultural action and communication across culture barriers.
That is to say, the translator should pay special attention to the cultural differences. As tourism texts reflect the differences between the western and Chinese culture, the translator of tourism texts has to develop his cross-cultural awareness when rendering a source language text into a target language text so that he can minimize misunderstandings caused by cultural differences and cultural peculiarities and the target texts are more likely to achieve the intended functions expected by the initiators of the translation.
Vermeer considers translation to be “a type of transfer where communicative verbal and non-verbal signs are transferred from one language into another” (quoted in Nord, 2001: 35). In accordance with this view, Nord defines translation as “the production of a functional target text maintaining a relationship with a given source text that is specified according to the intended or demanded function of the target text” (quoted in Chen Xiaowei 2000:9). Translation allows a communicative act to take place which, because of existing linguistic and cultural barriers, would not have been possible without it.
She further summarizes the defining features of translation: intentional, interpersonal, and intercultural. In a word, translation in nature is a purposeful, cross-cultural communication. Compared with the former ones, the translation theory from a functionalist view is a breakthrough, which can be embodied in the following aspects.
Firstly, instead of being considered a one-to-one transfer between languages, translation is a kind of human behavior with distinct purposes; secondly, translation is a culture-comparing activity; thirdly, since translating is regarded as interpersonal interaction, it begins to pay attention to the participants in the translation process, especially the role of the target language readers and the initiators; lastly, the ST has lost its “center” position and is “dethroned” to one constituent of the translation commission (Munday, 2001: 87). 2. 2. 2 Skopos and translation commission (brief)
Skopos Theory got its name from the Greek word “Skopos” which means “purpose” and was introduced into translation theory in the 1970s by Hans J. Vermeer as a technical term for the purpose of a translation and of the action of translating (Li Heqing etal., 2005: 93).
According to Nord (2001: 28), there are three possible kinds of purposes in the field of translation: the general purpose aimed by the translator in the translation process, the communicative purpose aimed at by the target text in the target situation, and the purpose aimed at by a particular translation strategy or procedure. Nevertheless, the term “Skopos” usually refers to the purpose of the target text. The Skopos of a translation is the goal or purpose, defined by the commission and, if necessary, adjusted by the translator.
Vermeer defines commission as “the instruction, given by oneself or by someone else, to carry out a given action: to translate” (Vermeer, 2000: 229). A commission comprises (or should comprise) as much detailed information as possible on the following: the goal, i. e. a specification of the aim of the commission; the conditions under which the intended goal should be attained (naturally including practical matters such as deadline and fee) (ibid. ). Nord employs “translation brief” to refer to “translation commission”, and further analyzes it in detail.
According to her, translation commission should include the following aspects: intended text functions, addressees, the place and time of text reception, medium and reasons for text production and reception (Li Heqing et al. , 2005: 100). It is precisely by means of the commission that the Skopos is assigned. In order for the Skopos to be defined precisely, the commission must thus be as specific as possible (Vermeer, 2000: 230). A client needs a text for a particular purpose and calls upon the translator for a translation, thus acting as the initiator of the translation process.
In an ideal case, the client would give as many details as possible about the purpose, explaining the addressees, time, place, occasion and medium of the intended communication and the function the text is intended to have. This information would constitute an explicit translation commission (Nord, 2001: 30). But sometimes the clients do not know that a good translation commission spells a better translation and can not give the translator an explicit one. In these cases, an experienced translator is able to infer the Skopo.