Wandering through vietnamese culture



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College of Foreign Languages (VHUN)

Postgraduate Studies


BẠCH ÁNH HỒNG

EQUIVALENCE IN THE TRANSLATION OF VIETNAMESE CULTURAL WORDS IN THE BOOK “WANDERING THROUGH VIETNAMESE CULTURE” BY HUU NGOC
(TƯƠNG ĐƯƠNG TRONG CÁCH DỊCH CÁC TỪ CÓ YẾU TỔ VĂN HÓA TRONG CUỐN SÁCH “WANDERING THROUGH VIETNAMESE CULTURE” CỦA HỮU NGỌC)

Field: English Linguistics

Code: 602215

Course: K13

M.A. Minor Thesis

Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Lê Hùng Tiến













Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Hung Tien










- Hanoi, July 2007 -



Abstract

This paper is a linguistic study on equivalences and the translation methods rendered to achieve the equivalent effects in a book written by the writer and translator, Huu Ngoc. More specifically, the chosen subject of investigation is the translation of Vietnamese cultural words in the book “Wandering through Vietnamese culture”. The reasons for this choice are both linguistic and practical.

Linguistically, the translation of culture-related words has never been seen as an easy task, especially between such two distant cultures as Vietnam and English. The challenges may originate from cultural differences, the cultural knowledge of the translator etc. However, the hardest problems may be attached to non- equivalence which consists of the concepts unknown to target language readers, the non-lexicalization of the concepts, the lack of super ordinates of hyponyms etc. The main contribution of this paper is to draw out the main ways of dealing with the hurdles by investigating how an experienced translator and a famous Vietnamese cultural expert overcome the difficulty in his book.

Practically, I hope that the lessons drawn from the study of his work could effectively assist me in my practical job at my university, where a Vietnamese Studies Department is to be opened with an aim to train new generation of youngsters who will narrow down the culture gaps between Vietnam and other countries.



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

On the completion of this thesis, I am indebted to many people.

First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere thanks to my supervisor, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Hung Tien for his valuable and prompt advice and helps, without which, this thesis could not come into being.

My thanks also go to all my lecturers and officers from Post Graduate Department, College of Foreign Languages, Vietnam National University, who have facilitated me with the best possible conditions during my whole course of studying.

Last but not least, let my gratitude go to my family and friends, whose encouragement and assistance are of extreme importance during the course of my writing this thesis.

Hanoi, July 2007

Bach Anh Hong

TABLE OF CONTENTS


TABLE OF CONTENTS 4

PART A: INTRODUCTION 5

1. Rationale 5

2. Scope of the study 5

3. Aims of the study 6

4. Methodology 6

5. Design of the study 7

Chapter 1: Theoretical background 8

1.1. Translation theory 8

1.1.1. Definition of translation 8

1.1.2. Translation equivalence 8

1.1.2.1. The nature of equivalence in translation 9

1.1.2.2. Types of equivalence in translation 9

1.1.3. Common problems of non-equivalence 11

1.2. Notion of culture in translation 13

1.3. Cultural categories 14

1.4. Translation methods 15

1.5. Conclusion 17

Chapter 2: Vietnamese cultural words and their equivalences 18

2.1. The most common types of cultural words 18

2.2. The most common types of equivalence 18

2.2.1. Nil equivalence: 20

2.2.2 Other types of equivalence 28

2.2.2.1 One-to-part-of one equivalence 28

2.2.2.3 One-to-one equivalence 34

PART C: CONCLUSION 36



REFERENCES 41


PART A: INTRODUCTION

1. Rationale


Translating from one language into another has never been an easy job even for the most experienced translators. Translation, involving the transposition of thoughts expressed in one language by one social group into the appropriate expression of another group, entails a process of cultural de-coding, re-coding and en-coding. However, the process of transmitting cultural elements is a complicated and vital task. Culture is a complex collection of experiences which condition daily life; it includes history, social structure, religion, traditional customs and everyday usage. This is difficult to comprehend completely. The more disparities that exist between any two languages, the greater the meaning loss in the translation is. As hard as it may seem, the translation of Vietnamese cultural words is now an inevitable part in our integrating life since we have become a member of WTO. Thang Long University is one of those where the Department of Vietnam Study is going to be opened with an aims of training Vietnamese students into those who can introduce Vietnamese culture to the world. This sooner or later will pose teachers of English at Thang Long University a problem of matching cultural equivalence between English and Vietnamese. However, not many empirical studies have been conducted so far on the issue of translation of Vietnamese cultural words into English. Those reasons may explain how this study came into being. The study investigates how a very famous and experienced translator, Huu Ngoc, dealt with all the Vietnamese cultural words his whole-hearted work “Wandering through Vietnamese culture”. It also raised the need for translators of Vietnamese-English texts, especially in treating cultural terms, to pay close attention to the linguistic and cultural elements of the source texts.
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