Gains and Losses in the Translation of Fuzzy Language: A Case Study of The Da Vinci Code and Its Chinese Translations

Date: 25/09/2008

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Location: Centre for Translation, DLB 701, David C. Lam Building, Shaw Campus, Hong Kong Baptist University, Renfrew Road, Kowloon Tong

Speaker: Ms Shao Lu

Translation Seminar Series


Precision in language is relative and conditional, while fuzziness an absolute and universal predicate. Based on this understanding, the seminar talk will focus on how the notion of ‘fuzziness’ functions in translation and translation research. It contends that on both the operational level of translation practice and the abstract level of translation theory, there is this feature of ‘fuzziness’: On the one hand, the translator is faced with fuzzy language in the translation process; and on the other, there is the problem of a theoretical fuzziness when the translator tries to decide or discuss what approaches to take in solving the problems of fuzzy utterances and texts.
The research project uses the American bestseller The Da Vinci Code and its two Chinese translations for a case study. Analyses of the data from the chosen novel show that (1) there are three kinds of fuzziness: extratextual (or background) fuzziness, textual (or internal) fuzziness and mixed fuzziness; and (2) when these features of fuzziness are realised in language form three dimensions of fuzziness may be distinguished, fuzziness on the temporal and spatial dimension of language, fuzziness on the dimension of culture and fuzziness on the dimension of rhetorical features – each dimension is then further divided into two aspects: one involving the denotative and connotative meanings of the language used while the other its pragmatic significance.

About the Speaker:

Shao Lu obtained her B.A. and Master’s degrees from the Sichuan International Studies University, and her doctoral degree from Hong Kong Baptist University. She is specialised in Translation Studies.
Shao Lu is the author of more than 30 papers on a wide range of topics in language and translation studies. Her major publications include “Towards a fuzzy logic-based approach to translation” (2008), “Information entropy and the measurement of fuzzy language in literary translation” (2008), “The gains and losses of fuzzy language in inter-cultural communication” (2007), “The cognitive dimensions of fuzzy language and translation” (2007) and “Translation studies: Towards a constructivist methodology” (2007). Of these, 2 papers are carried in Arts and Humanities Citation Index listed journals, 10 in Chinese Social Sciences Citation Index listed journals and 11 in other core Foreign Language and Translation Studies journals in China. She has also published translations in newspapers and journals in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Her translation of Greg Bear’s Darwin’s Radio (pp.190-249) was published by the Sichuan Science and Technology Press in Chengdu.
Shao Lu has been winner of various important prizes including: First Prize of the Contemporary Education Forum sponsored by the People’s Daily Publishing House (2003), Third Prize of the First SISU “Language-Bridge Cup” E-C Translation Competition Award for Excellence in Translating (2004), SISU Scientific and Academic Creativity Award (2005) and Research Postgranduate Student Incentive Award of the Arts Faculty, HKBU (won twice: 2007; 2008). Her research interests are in literary translation, fuzzy language in literature and translation, and translation theory.

Gains and Losses in the Translation of Fuzzy Language: A Case Study of The Da Vinci Code and Its Chinese Translations
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