Thesis title: A CDA and Corpus-based Study of Ideological Mediation through Translation Shifts
This piece of research aims to explore the extent to which the ideological message of President Xi conveyed in the Chinese version of The Governance of China is mediated (strengthened, downplayed, or transformed) in the English version. It adopts a mixed-methods approach by combining critical discourse analysis (CDA) with corpus-based translation studies. A parallel corpus based on the source and target texts of Xi’s domestic speeches addressed at government officials and party members, published in The Governance of China, was constructed to analyse, both quantitatively and qualitatively, optional translation shifts in relation to textual features such as modality, transitivity, metaphor and terms of address. The research offers great significance, as it reveals subtle ideological shifts buried in translated texts, reminds translators of the ideological potential of lexico-grammatical resources and encourages audiences to read translated political discourse critically.
Thesis title: A Corpus-based Study of Connective Explicitation and Explicitness in Chinese Translations
This research investigates connective-based explicitation and explicitness in Chinese translations of English scientific texts, and the extent to which the phenomenon is influenced by source language or target language norms. The study is based on a triangulation of composite corpora, which consists of English Source Texts Corpus (ESTC), Chinese Target Texts Corpus (CTTC) and Chinese Comparable Texts Corpus (CCTC). Quantitatively, occurrence frequencies of connectives in the three sub-corpora will be obtained to establish whether there is a difference in the degree of connective explicitness between them. Qualitatively, connective-based shifts (i.e., additions, omissions, and substitutions) will be identified in the parallel corpus of ESTC and CTTC. The shifts will also be checked carefully to find out whether they can be identified as explicitations according to the working definition, and to specify the conditions under which explicitations can be observed.
Thesis title: Simultaneous interpreting (SI) with text: Trainees’ perceptions of language-pair-specific problem triggers (Chinese-into-English) and training implications
The project aims to establish interpreting trainees’ (Chinese A and English B) perceptions of language-pair specific difficulties when working from Chinese Mandarin into English in SI with text, and to make pedagogical recommendations about possible improvements in training methods. Following this aim, the research attempts to identify language-pair-specific problem triggers as described in the literature and instantiated in the source speech selected for the study; and to ascertain trainees’ perceptions through a) their operations during limited preparation time, and b) their retrospective reports recalling their cognitive processes during the simulated interpreting task. The trainees’ performances would be compared and contrasted with these data. The findings will inform training in SI with text by focusing on specific Chinese-into-English problems triggers and the trainees’ perceptions thereof.
Thesis title: The Translation and Reception of Virginia Woolf in China
Abstract: The proposed research project focuses on the different approaches used to develop Chinese translations of Virginia Woolf’s works and on the contemporary reception of the author’s key publications; it is based on a self-built, specialized translation corpus comprising several of Woolf’s most celebrated works. Virginia Woolf, as a pioneer of modernism and feminism in the 20th century, embodies the diversity of feminist criticism. In recent decades, although extensive research has been published on Woolf’s views and publications, this research has not contextualized the writer and her output within the theoretical sphere of Translation Studies. In other words, very little research has focused on the translated versions of Woolf’s works because scholars have tended to explore the influence of the writer’s worldview and the recurring themes in her works, rather than investigate the research significance of the translated versions of her books, and the implications of the ways in which the publications have been translated. This has inevitably led scholarship on Virginia Woolf away from the essence of the language in the books themselves. Although some scholars have classified the key textual features of Woolf’s works, they have not specifically studied the linguistic features of the translated versions of the author’s works via a substantial corpus, or offered hypotheses about the determinants influencing the vocabulary used in the translated texts. Therefore, this project will use a corpus-based approach – and other supplementary methods – combined with a theoretical framework that centres on critical discourse analysis and feminist translation theory, to analyse the features and functions of the translated Chinese language versions of Woolf’s works. By analysing a specialized corpus of Woolf’s translated works, this research will identify the main features and characteristics of the translations and compare the effect of translators’ voices and styles. In addition, with the help of other supplementary methods such as interviews and questionnaires, this research will: interview professional translators to gauge their views on the effectiveness of the translation process; use questionnaires to assess the relevance and impact of these translated works on female Chinese readers in terms of evolving socio-cultural contexts such as the social status of women and family values. In essence, this research provides a methodological and theoretical debate on the translation and reception of Virginia Woolf’s works, which will enhance dialogue between China and the West.
Thesis title: Metaphor Translation in Political Discourse between Chinese and English -- a Corpus-based Approach
Abstract: This PhD research draws on a corpus of Chinese political public speeches related to areas such as the environment, foreign policy, the economy, and education; its aim is to analyse the construction, translation and transfer, and reception of metaphors used in Chinese political discourse, and in similar discourse in English-speaking countries. The project also considers the impact of these processes at a macro-political and a micro-political level. Politics relies heavily on language to fulfil its role and exert its influence. Metaphor, as one of the rhetorical devices, can play a variety of roles in political discourse. The study of metaphor in political discourse has attracted the attention of many scholars, but the same cannot be said for the study of its translation. There are few diachronic studies of metaphor translation in political discourse. Also, existing research has been criticized because many researchers concentrate exclusively on the politics or politicization of translation (Romagnuolo, 2009) rather than on the translation of political texts; this inevitably leads scholarship on metaphor translation away from its language essence. The study of metaphor translation in political discourse is mainly concerned with its transfer methods and translatability (Schäffner, 2003). Discussions of translatability centre on several key approaches towards researching metaphor translation. “Equivalence” is the crux of metaphor translation between two languages because of the linguistic and cultural differences. However, this study intends to argue that metaphor translation may be a bridge to better communication rather than an obstacle when effective transfer methods are adopted by translators. But effective translation strategies must be adopted with a comprehensive understanding of the functions and features of metaphor translation in political discourse. Although some scholars have classified the main functions of metaphors, they have not been specifically studied in a large corpus. This study, therefore, uses a corpus-based approach, combined with the theoretical framework of Critical Metaphor Analysis (CMA) and Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to investigate the translation of metaphors in political discourse between Chinese and English. Through analysing the corpus of metaphor translation in political discourse between two languages for the last decade, the study will explore the features and functions of metaphor translation in political discourse. In addition to the corpusbased approach, the study will use questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to explore the reception of metaphor by readers and the influence of translators on metaphor translation. This research provides a methodological and theoretical debate on metaphor translation in political public speeches between English and Chinese, and aims to facilitate dialogue between China and the West.