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Title: Translators' and target readers' reconstruction of regionalism in Taiwan's regional prose literature
Authors: Lo, Yun-Fang
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: The object of this research is to investigate the dynamic nature of identity construction of a regional place in English translations. The study focuses on the analysis of Wang Zhenhe’s works in translation. The Regional Prose Literature of Taiwan was developed when writers began to examine their identity and sense of belonging under Japanese colonization (1895-1945) and later the rule of the Nationalist government under Martial Law (1949-1987) by using narrative and descriptive prose as a vehicle for presenting the distinctiveness of the island. The dialects, the colonial language, local customs and scenes which regional writers created in their stories brought out what they saw as the uniqueness of Taiwan identity. However, Taiwan, like Hong Kong, has been categorized by many scholars as part of the Han-Chinese-influenced region, which shares the same cultural identity. Translating Taiwan, therefore, depends on how a translator understands and (re)constructs its cultural and political discourse in translation. This thesis uses a cognitive-pragmatic model (CPM) to describe how a translation of regional prose literature communicates to readers of the target culture. The CPM in translation studies looks at translation from the aspects of literary communication and the comprehension process. It enables the researcher (1) to study the textual signals of a place which readers used to construct the text of the source cultural world; (2) to examine how these signals were conveyed in the target text; (3) to study the likely effects on specific readers who have little or no knowledge of the source text culture. The major finding of this study is that communication through translated literature depends not only on the translator’s roles as a reader and a rewriter, but also on target readers’ processing effort and literary competence. Textual analysis shows that the translators’ decisions on conveying regional signals in translations often affect readers’ comprehension of the target text (TT). When the translation is too literal and the cultural signal is unfamiliar to the target readers, those who have little or no knowledge of Taiwan have more difficulties understanding the text. Reader response studies also show that the use of footnotes in the literary translation is not always unacceptable by the readers when specific regional elements are preserved in the TT. Target readers’ reception of cultural signals relies firstly on their existing knowledge and secondly on the information they receive from the translation. Effective communication therefore results from a translator’s assumption of target readers’ schemas and efforts in making the translation comprehensible and coherent, especially when there are regional elements in the translation.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Modern Languages

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