As a representative work of Henry David Thoreau, the work is a record of Thoreau’s living alone at Walden, depicting his two years life there. And the work is a reflection upon simple life in natural surroundings. The work contains too many factors in it. Such as personal declaration of independence, social experiment and voyage of spiritual discovery. To some extent, it is a manual for self-reliance. In addition, there have already been many Chinese versions of this great work. Here the author chooses two representative versions of Walden. One is translated by Xu Chi, the other is by Li Jihong. From the perspective of social and cultural background, this paper makes a comparative study of the two versions in order to find out the different influences on translation.
This paper is divided into five chapters. Chapter One briefly introduces the original work of Walden, its status in foreign literature and the translators of the two Chinese versions. Chapter Two introduces the research methods of traditional translation: literary and artistic aesthetic methods and linguistic methods, and a turning point theory in the history of translation: cultural turn. Chapter Three mainly analyzes the two translators' versions from four aspects. Chapter Four expounds the times of the two translators, their social and cultural background, and points out how their cultural identity influences their translations. Chapter Five concludes a conclusion. The author points out that the translator’s social and cultural background plays an important role in the process of translation.
Key Words: translation approaches; cultural turn; Walden; translator's social and cultural background
1 Introduction 1
2 Literature Review 3
2.1 The literary approach 3
2.2 The linguistic approach 4
2.3 Cultural turn in translation studies 4
2.3.1 Language, culture and translation 5
2.3.2 The booming of cultural studies in translation 6
3 A Comparative Study of the Two Versions of Walden 7
3.1 The usage of nouns 7
3.2 The usage of adjectives 8
3.3 The usage of verbs 9
3.4 The usage of expressive meaning 9
4 Cause of Different Features in the Two Versions 11
4.1 Different historical backgrounds 11
4.2 Different life experiences 12
5 Conclusion 14
The Influence of the Translator's Social and Cultural Background on Literary Translation
Based on the Research of Two Chinese Versions of Walden
Since the second half of the 18th century, a large number of foreign literary works have been introduced into China. At that time, a large number of outstanding translators emerged. As is known to all, in the long history of translation studies, translators have experienced a process from being overshadowed by authors and original works, but much importance should be attached to the translators so that to encourage them to play their part in translation.
However, literary translation is a re-creation of literature and art, which has become a highly research field in today's society. As the first reader of literary translation and the reproducer of literary creation, the translator plays an important role in the process of literary translation, and his complex role in literary translation also deserves further analysis and discussion. In fact, the translation process is a choice and decision-making process. A translator can not get rid of a certain cultural background, social culture in which he also created a deep impact on the translator's brain. Therefore, the understanding of the socio-cultural factors that influence the translator's choice in the translation process is of great significance in revealing the laws of the translation process. The essay is concentrates on the aspect from the viewpoint of cultural translation. In this thesis, the author is attempt to identify such factors. Making a convincing description of them, and finally illustrating the way these factors determine or limit the choices that the translator makes during their translation. In this thesis, the author chooses two Chinese versions of Walden to analyze the influenced made by the social and cultural background.
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