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Translation strategies in trinh cong sons songs from vietnamese into english

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY
-----oOo------

M.A THESIS
TRANSLATION STRATEGIES
IN TRINH CONG SON’S SONGS
FROM VIETNAMESE INTO ENGLISH
(CHIẾN LƯỢC DỊCH THUẬT CÁC NHẠC PHẨM
TRỊNH CÔNG SƠN TỪ TIẾNG VIỆT SANG TIẾNG ANH)
HO THI BICH DAO

Field: English Linguistics
Code: 8.22.02.01

Hanoi, 2019


MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY
-----oOo------


M.A THESIS
TRANSLATION STRATEGIES
IN TRINH CONG SON’S SONGS
FROM VIETNAMESE INTO ENGLISH
(CHIẾN LƯỢC DỊCH THUẬT CÁC NHẠC PHẨM
TRỊNH CÔNG SƠN TỪ TIẾNG VIỆT SANG TIẾNG ANH)
HO THI BICH DAO

Field: English Linguistics
Code: 8.22.02.01
Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Dang Suu

Hanoi, 2019


Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English

CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY
I, the undersigned, hereby certify my authority of the study project report
entitled TRANSLATION STRATEGIES IN TRINH CONG SON’S SONGS
FROM VIETNAMESE INTO ENGLISH submitted in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of Master in English Language. Except for the indicated
reference, no other person’s work has been used without due acknowledgement in
the text of the thesis.
Hanoi, 2019

Ho Thi Bich Dao

Approved by
SUPERVISOR

(Signature and full name)
Date: ……………………

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Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This thesis would not have been possible without the assistance of many
people. First and foremost, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation and
thanks to my thesis supervisor Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Dang Suu. This thesis could
have probably not completed without his patient, enthusiastic and instructive
supervision and encouragement, whose constructive ideas and feedback have been
invaluable during the process of revision.
I also would like to show my profound gratitude to all of the lecturers in the
Faculty of Graduate Studies Department of Hanoi Open University for tirelessly
devoting time and efforts to enrich, broaden and deepen my knowledge in the two years.
I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation and thanks to my Master,
Bikkhuni Thich Nu Hue Thu, and Sr. Teresa Mai Thi Thu Trang who accompanied
and shared the joy of life with me during my time of live and study since I have
become a nun. I look up to her as a model of self-confidence and motivation for
study.
Of course, nobody has been more important to me in the pursuit of this
project than the members of my pagoda and my family. I would like to thank all my
Brothers and Sisters for their prayers and support. To my parents and siblings, I am
so thankful for their love and encouragement which are always with me in whatever
I pursue.
Finally, I cannot fully express my gratitude to allthe people whose direct and
indirect support assisted me to accomplish my thesis in time.

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Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English

ABSTRACT
The thesis is designed to investigate into the translation strategies in Trinh
Cong Son’s songs from Vietnamese into English. The fourteen songs studied are:
Origin unknown (Biết đâu nguồn cội), Dusty sand (Cát bụi), Life has called you
many times (Đời gọi em biết bao lần), You’ve come a long time (Em đến từ nghìn
xưa), Something like despair (Gần như niềm tuyệt vọng), Sad Sunday Eve (Lời
buồn Thánh), The quiet world of mine (Lặng lẽ nơi này), My own lonely world
(Một cõi đi về), Hear all sounds around (Nghe tiếng muôn trùng), Like a flying
heron (Như cánh vạc bay), A little rose, a little love (Quỳnh hương), In too large life
(Tuổi đời mênh mông), The other eye (Con mắt còn lại), I paid my debt (Xin trả nợ
người). These songs are used because they contain many human philosophies. We
find in these song a key to open the door of the soul, to be loved and given love.
This paper is conducted through the documentary analysis and descriptive
method. The writer uses mainly on descriptive method to describe the translation
strategies in Trinh Cong Son’s songs. Besides, some methods are used as the
combination of qualitative and quantitative methods which contributes to this study.
The results show that the semantic features of lexicon and the syntactic features of
phrases and sentences in Trinh Cong son’s songs when being translated from
Vietnamese into English. The research also puts forward some suggesting English
translational versions to set the implications after studying those songs. The study
hopefully provides insights into the practice of translating Vietnamese songs into
English, especially the strategies in handling the intricacies of semantic and
syntactic features of great works such as those written by Trinh Cong Son.

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Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
Adj

Adjective

AP Adjective phrase
Adv Adverb
Adv.P Adverb phrase
Conj Conjunction
Link Linking
N
Noun
NP
Pro

Noun phrase
Pronoun

Prep Preposition
Prep.P Prepositional phrase
QW Question word
SL
Source language
ST
Source text
TL
TT

Target language
Target text

V
VP

Verb
Verb phrase

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Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English

LIST OF TABLES AND CHARTS
Table 2.1: Baker’s taxonomy of non-equivalence at word level (1992) ..................20
Table 2.2. Strategies of non-equivalence at word level ...........................................21
Table 2.3. Problems and strategies of non-equivalence above word level ..............24
Table 4.1: The density and percentage of translation equivalence strategies in
English and Vietnamese based on Trinh Cong Son’s collection of songs ................48
Chart 4.1: The percentage of Translation Equivalence strategies in English and
Vietnamese based on Trinh Cong Son’s collection of songs ....................................49

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Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English

TABLE OF CONTENTS
CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY......................................................................1
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ......................................................................................2
LIST OF TABLES AND CHARTS .........................................................................5
TABLE OF CONTENTS ..........................................................................................6
Chapter 1:INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................8
1.1. Rationale of the study...........................................................................................8
1.2. Aims and objectives of the study .........................................................................9
1.2.1. Aims of the study.........................................................................................9
1.2.2. Objectives of the study ................................................................................9
1.3. Research questions .............................................................................................10
1.4. Methods of the study ..........................................................................................10
1.5. Scope of the study ..............................................................................................10
1.6. Sifnificance of the study.....................................................................................10
1.7. Structure of the study .........................................................................................11
Chapter 2: LITERATURE REVIEW ...................................................................12
2.1. Previous studies ..................................................................................................12
2.2. Theoretical background ......................................................................................14
2.2.1. Translation theory ....................................................................................14
2.2.1.1. Translation definition.........................................................................14
2.2.1.2. Translation procedures ......................................................................14
2.2.2. Overview on Equivalence .........................................................................17
2.2.2.1. The concept of Equivalence ...............................................................17
2.2.2.2. Types of equivalence ..........................................................................18
2.2.2.3. Equivalence and non-equivalence at word level ...............................19
2.2.2.4. Equivalence and non-equivalence above word level .........................24
2.3. Summary ............................................................................................................25
Chapter 3: METHODOLOGY ..............................................................................26
3.1. Research approach .............................................................................................26
3.2. Methods of the study ..........................................................................................26
3.4. Research procedures...........................................................................................27
3.5. Summary ............................................................................................................27
Chapter 4: FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION ........................................................29

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Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English

4.1. The strategies in translation of Trinh Cong Son’s songs from Vietnamese into
English. ......................................................................................................................29
4.1.1. Translation by using omission ..................................................................29
4.1.1.1. Full omission ......................................................................................30
4.1.1.2. Partial omission .................................................................................34
4.1.2. Translation by using a more neutral/less expressive word ......................37
4.1.3. Translation by using a more general word ..............................................40
4.1.4. Translation by using expansion ................................................................43
4.1.5. Translation by using co-hyponym ............................................................44
4.1.6. Translation by paraphrase using unrelated word ....................................46
4.1.7. Translation by using metonymy ................................................................47
4.2. Frequency of Translation Equivalence strategies in English and Vietnamese
based on Trinh Cong Son’s collection of songs ........................................................47
4.3. Summary ............................................................................................................49
Chapter 5: CONCLUSIONS ..................................................................................52
5.1. Concluding remarks ...........................................................................................52
5.2. Limitation of the research ..................................................................................53
5.3. Suggestions for further study .............................................................................53
REFERENCES ........................................................................................................54
APPENDIX A: List of Songs Cited with Dates They Were Composed .................58
APPENDIX B: Words and music by Trịnh Công Sơn Translated by Ton That Lan
and Nguyen Quang Thanh ........................................................................................59

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Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English

Chapter 1
INTRODUCTION
1.1. Rationale of the study
Trịnh Công Sơn (1939 - 2001) was a song writer, musician, poet and painter.
He wrote over 600 songs. He often wrote about the ephemeral nature of life, as in
the classic "Cát bụi" ["Sand and Dust"]. The singer most associated with him is
Khánh Ly, whose husky, mournful voice helped to popularize his music. They often
performed together on South Vietnamese university campuses.
Trinh Cong Son’s songs are so strange, which were written by intellectual
language. In another way, they are ‘weaved’ by the most beautiful words in the
treasure of Vietnamese language. It takes years to understand some words or
sentences in Trinh Cong Son’ songs, but not all of us can catch Son’s ideas, and
some seem to be so different. Son himself created his own unique school of music
which is not only very sublime but also very sweet with simple melodies. Son’s
songs will be immortal in people’s hearts not only in Vietnam but also in many
countries like: France, Japan and America, etc. People love to sing his songs. Many
of those songs have been translated into many languages, most of them are in
English, French and Japanese with different versions.
As a Buddhist nun and a fan of Trinh Cong Son’s music, I find it very
interesting to study the English translations of Son’s songs which are various with
more than 70 English translated works by many people. Up to now, just a few
researches on the lyrics of the English translational versions have been found. For
examples: Một Cõi Đi Về (My own lonely world), Cát bụi (Dusty sand / Sand and
Dust) ...
It is clear that translating Trinh Cong Son's songs seems not an easy task
since his music does not belong to any school of music and his new approach to
lyrics is also different. He employed the same techniques used by many modern
poets; e.g., purposeful incoherence, unusual grammar, fresh diction, images,
metaphors, startling word locations, and rhyme. Those make his music sound new
and hard for us to catch his ideas, but it still very sweet and easy to touch the hearts
of millions of people. Hence, there must be loss and gain in meaning in the English
translations, which need investigating thoroughly.
However, researches on translation equivalence of English versus
Vietnamese versions of Trinh have not been carried out. Therefore, it is necessary to

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Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English

do a research on this matter to have a total view about translating Trinh Cong Son’s
songs into English.
Practically, clarifying the translation equivalence helps us have a clear view
about Son’s songs and their English-translated versions and find out another better
way to translate Trinh Cong Son’s songs with full ideas of writer obtained.
As a student of English, the writer finds a great interest in translation
strategies as well as its application to linguistics, the mind, and teaching and
learning language. Besides, as a music fan of Trinh Cong Son, his music is a great
source of inspiration to the writer find it necessary to take a closer look on the
English translations of Trinh Cong Son's songs. With above-mentioned reasons, the
writer decided to carry out a research project entitled “TRANSLATION
STRATEGIES IN TRINH CONG SON’S SONGS FROM VIETNAMESE INTO
ENGLISH”.
1.2. Aims and objectives of the study
1.2.1. Aims of the study
Firstly, the study aims at stressing the significance of equivalence in
translation process, as well as, raising reader’s awareness on the matter of nonequivalence. The author will start with a brief literature review on previous
researches and studies about this topic as a good way to provide readers background
knowledge, ideas and approaches made by famous world scholars.
Secondly, based on the semantic features of lexicon and syntactic features of
phrases and sentences between English and Vietnamese, this research will take
Trinh Cong Son’s English translated versions versus their originals in Vietnamese
to investigate the translation strategies when those songs are translated from
Vietnamese into English.
1.2.2. Objectives of the study
Interestingly, the study will not only analyze linguistic but also consider
cultural perspective as important factors causing non-equivalence in translation. It is
easy to see cultural gap has always been a barrier among languages. It is also
desirable that the paper will give the reader a comprehensive view on the
phenomenon, which, later, can be served as reference for students who want to get
basic understanding or to develop their own study on the same problem. To achieve
this aim, the study will have the following specific objectives:

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Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English

- To identify the strategies in translation of Trịnh Công Sơn’s songs from
Vietnamese into English.
- To find out the frequency of translation equivalence strategies in English
and Vietnamese based on Trinh Cong Son’s songs and their English – translated
versions.
1.3. Research questions
This study will seek the answers to the following questions:
1. What are the strategies in translation of Trịnh Công Sơn’s songs from
Vietnamese into English?
2. How is the frequency of translation equivalence strategies in English and
Vietnamese based on Trinh Cong Son’s songs?
1.4. Methods of the study
The main methods of the research are the descriptive, contrastive,
quanlitative and qualitative in combination with the data collection and data
analysis techniques.
Then, it’s very important to identify and analyze possible linguistic and nonlinguistic factors that influence consciously and unconsciously in choosing each
strategy for translating Trinh Cong Son’s songs...
1.5. Scope of the study
The study was compared in one-way direction from Vietnamese into English
based on the 14 songs. This study deals with investigating the procedures used in
translating the semantic features of lexicon and the syntactic features of phrases and
sentences in Trinh Cong Son’s songs taken from Trịnh Công Sơn – The collection
of everlasting songs. Music press 1997. (Trịnh Công Sơn – Tuyển tập những bài ca
không năm tháng. Nxb Âm Nhạc 1997) and website http://www.tcs-home.org/songsen/songs.
1.6. Sifnificance of the study
Theorectical, the study deals with translation strategies in Trinh Cong Son's
songs from Vietnamese into English. As stated in the rationale of the study, studies
on the syntactic and semantic features of English compared to the Vietnamese
version of Trinh have not been performed. Therefore, we need to study this issue to
get an overview of the translation of Trinh Cong Son's songs into English.
Practically, the study expected to be used as a good reference for learning
and researching language. The result of the study through analysis and comparison

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Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English

between two languages may be of great benefits for translaters and learners English,
as well as helpful in using the language effectively in life. We hope this study will
provide insights into the practice of translating Vietnamese songs into English,
especially the strategies in translation equivalence of great works such as those
written by Trinh Cong Son. In addition, the study’s findings hope to make
contributions to raising the importance of studying the cross-culture for English
majors in Vietnam.
1.7. Structure of the study
To gain the above goals, the study is devided into five chapters as follows:
- Chapter 1, INTRODUCTION, deals with the rationale to choose the thesis,
the aims, the objectives, the research questions, the methods, the scope and the
significance of the thesis. Structure of the study is also given out.
- Chapter 2, LITERATURE REVIEW and background knowledge, summaries the
results of the previous studies related to the research in Vietnam and overseas,
presents theoretical background of the study in order to build the theoretical
framework of the study.
- Chapter 3, METHODOLOGY, points out the research orientations,
describes the methods and materials used in doing the research including data
collection and analyzing techniques.
- Chapter 4, FINDINGS AND DISCUSSIONS, this chapter presents Trinh
Cong Son’s collection of songs and their English - translated version. Since then,
the study points out the translation equivalence in English and Vietnamese based on
Trinh Cong Son’s collection of songs and gives the strategies to deal with non equivalents in translation of Trinh Cong Son’s songs.
- Chapter 5, CONCLUSION, summarizes what have been done in the
research with some comments on the limitations of this study and make suggestions
for future studies.
References come at the end of the study.

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Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English

Chapter 2
LITERATURE REVIEW
This chapter is an overview of translation, translation strategies, equivalence,
types of equivalence in order to formulate theoretical background and theoretical
framework of the study. At first, it is an overview of previous study related to the
problems of the study.
2.1. Previous studies
Usually a study is based on the other study, which can be used for a
measuring rod in the next study. Studies about equivalence in translation had been
done by English Department students. Kustanti (2006) did a study that is entitled
Equivalence at Word Level in the J.K Rowling’s Novel Entitled “Harry Potter and
the Chamber of Secrets”. The purpose of this study is to analyze what strategies are
used by a professional translator in creating grammatical equivalence and to classify
the sentences in the novel into their strategies. The suggestion which is presented by
Kustanti (2006) is that the translator not only have to find the acceptable word and
sentences but also find the equivalence word or sentences which convey the same
message as that is intended by the author by understanding various problems in
translation in each level, so that she can choose the nearest equivalence word and
sentence in target language.
All of the studies are about the equivalence in translation and the strategies:
Kustanti did a study about equivalence at word and above word level, Nugroho did
a study about translation strategies, Hidayati’s study is about the textual equivalence
in translation, and Karimi’s study is about equivalents in translation involves
decoding the SL text and an attempt to find an appropriate equivalent.
Besides, there have been many works and research papers on Trinh Cong
Son. A number of articles mainly refer to Trinh Cong Son, his life and his family;
Some of the other articles are Trinh Cong Son's lyrics research works in the
direction of literature, linguistics and music. There are articles that are general
comments and others are very in-depth studies. No matter what aspect Trinh Cong
Son discusses, what aspects at what time, most of his articles express the attitude of
praise and admiration for the talent and personality of this musician. For example,
Trinh Cung, Nguyen Quoc Thai with his book Trinh Cong Son - Life, music,
poetry, painting & reflection (2001), Buu Y and Trinh Cong Son - a genius
musician (2003), Nguyen Dac Xuan with Trinh Cong Son - There was a time like

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Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English

that (in 2003), Hoàng Phủ Ngọc Tường with Trịnh Công Sơn and the lya by the
Little Prince (2005), Bùi Vĩnh Phúc and Trinh Cong Son - Language and art
obsessions (2008).
There are also dissertations on the study of Trinh's music, notably including
the research works of foreign students such as the master thesis of author Yoshii
Michiko in 1991 with the topic of Trinh Cong Son's antiwar songs (at the University
of Paris).
Especially, after his death, the number of articles increased greatly, most of
which were content praising the talents of Trinh Cong Son, for example, in the
Journal of Asian Studies Vol. 66, No.3 (August) 2007, John C. Schafer wrote “The
Trinh Cong Son Phenomenon”. This article attemps to explain the extraordinary
popularity of Vietnamese composer and singer Trinh Cong Son. Although he
attracted attention with love songs composed in the late 1950s, it was his antiwar
songs, particularly those collected in Songs of Golden Skin (1966), that created the
“Trinh Cong Son phenomenon”.
Ms. Ho Thi Kieu Oanh studied about Trinh Cong Son’s love song “Like a
fliing heron”. This article investigates the integrated rhetorical device used in the
Trinh’s love song: “Like a Flying Heron” - one of the well-known love songs
composed by the musician Trinh Cong Son. She hopes the article could help
Vietnamese natives and foreigners have a profound insight into the use and the
affective effect of this rhetorical device in Vietnamese love songs.
Being interested in the concept of “Relationship” in Trinh Cong Son’s songs,
Phan Thị Phương identified the phenomena of loss and gain in meaning in the
English translational versions of cognitive metaphors expressing the concept of
“Relationship” in Trinh Cong Son’s songs, and gave some significant implications
in English language teaching, translation and music fans.
Although each of the above researches did not avoid shortcomings, it opened
the dissertation to study the strategy of translating Trinh Cong Son's songs from
Vietnamese into English. This is a valuable resource, very helpful for learning,
learning, drawing experience from the theoretical basis, the source of materials to
apply linguistic theory to the case study of Trinh Cong Son lyrics. ... In addition, the
knowledge and relevant comments of those who have studied the lyrics, about the
life of Trinh Cong Son are also an important and useful basis for the thesis to
implement this topic.

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Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English

The books above are the background that the theory part of the study will be
carried out.
2.2. Theoretical background
In this section the issues relating to translation theory such as the definition
of translation, translation method, translation equivalence and relevant theory
including:
2.2.1. Translation theory
2.2.1.1. Translation definition
There are many definitions of translation. The simplest way is the transfer of
text from the language A into language B. Translation was mainly discussed in
terms of the conflict between free and literal translation, and the contradiction
between its inherent impossibility and its absolute necessity. In addition, translation
is a term covers on three distinguishable meanings. That is “translating”, the process
(to translate), the activity rather than the tangible object. “A translation” is the
product of the process of translating (e.g. the translated text), and the “translation”,
the abstract concept which encompasses both the process of translating and the
product of that process. Furthermore, translation is also a communication bridge of
two languages. As a means of communication, translation is used for multilingual
notices, which have at least appeared increasingly conspicuously in public places;
for instructions issued by exporting companies; for tourist publicity, where it is too
often produced from the native into the “foreign” language by natives as a matter of
national pride; for official documents, such as treaties and contracts; for reports,
papers, articles, correspondence, textbook to convey information, advice and
recommendations for every branch of knowledge. As a technique for learning
foreign languages, translation is a two-edged instrument: it has the special purpose
for demonstrating the learner’s knowledge of the foreign language, either as a form
of control or to exercise his intelligence in order to develop his competence. The
next section will discuss these.
2.2.1.2. Translation procedures
The translating procedures, as depicted by Nida and Taber (1969/1982) are
as follows:
a. Technical procedures:


Analysis of the source and target languages;

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Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English


A thorough study of the source language text before making attempts
translate it;


Making judgments of the semantic and syntactic approximations.

b. Organizational procedures:
Constant reevaluation of the attempt made; contrasting it with the existing
available translations of the same text done by other translators, and checking the
text's communicative effectiveness by asking the target language readers to evaluate
its accuracy and effectiveness and studying their reactions.
Krings (1986) defines translation strategy as "translator's potentially
conscious plans for solving concrete translation problems in the framework of a
concrete translation task," and Seguinot (1989) believes that there are at least three
global strategies employed by the translators: (i) translating without interruption for
as long as possible; (ii) correcting surface errors immediately; (iii) leaving the
monitoring for qualitative or stylistic errors in the text to the revision stage.
Another popular translation scholar whose work on translation practice is
widely adopted is Mona Baker (1992), pointed out 8 strategies for dealing with nonequivalence at word level.
Translation by a more general word (superordinate): this is one of the
commonest strategies for dealing with many types of non-equivalence, particularly
in the area of propositional meaning. It works equally well in most, if not all,
languages, since the hierarchical structure of semantic fields is not languagespecific.
Translation by a more neutral/less expressive word: this is also one of the
commonest ways to set the equivalence between two or more languages by using a
word or phrase to get the general meaning.
Translation by cultural substitution: This strategy involves replacing a
culture-specific item or expression with a target-language item which does not have
the same propositional meaning but is likely to have a similar impact on the target
reader.
Translation by using a loan word or loan word plus explanation: this
strategy is particularly common in dealing with culture-specific items, modern
concepts, and buzz words. Following the loan word with an explanation is very
useful when the word in questions repeated several times in the text. Once

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Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English

explained the loan word then can be used on its own; the reader can understand it
and it is not distracted by further lengthy explanation.
-

Translation by paraphrase using a related word: this strategy tends to be

used when the concept expressed by the source item is lexicalized in the target
language but in a different form, and when the frequency with which a certain form
is used in the source text is significantly higher than would be natural in the target
language.
Translation by paraphrase using unrelated word: if the concept expressed
by the source item is not lexicalized at all in the target language, the paraphrase
strategy can still be used in some contexts. Instead of a related word, the
paraphrased may be based on modifying the superordinate or simply on unpacking
the meaning of the source item, particularly if the item in question semantically
complex.
Translation by omission: this strategy may sound rather drastic, but in fact it
does no harm to omit translating a word or expression in some contexts. If the
meaning convey by a particular item or expression is not vital enough to the
development of the text to justify distracting the reader with lengthy explanations,
translators can and often do simply omit translating the word or expression in
question.
Translate by illustration: this is a useful option if the word which lacks an
equivalent in the target language refers to a physical entity which can be illustrated,
particularly if there are restrictions on space and if the text has to remain short,
concise, and to the point.
This summarizes what translation procedures are. The next part will deal
with the translation strategies.
2.2.1.3. Translation strategies
The terms “strategies” and “methods” have not been distinguished clearly
by any translation scholars. In this research, we stand on the point of view of John
Kearns (2009) in Routledge Encyclopedia or Translation studies, edited by Mona
Baker and Gabriela Saldanha. He stated that those two terms can be used
interchangeably to describe the ways of translating units smaller than text. From this
point onwards, in this study, we use the term “strategies”.
Newmark (1988) mentions the difference between translation methods and
translation procedures. He writes that, “While translation methods relate to whole

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Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English

text, translation procedures are used for sentences and the smaller units of
language.”. He refers to the following strategies of translation:
-

Word-for-word translation: in which the SL word order is preserved and the

words translated singly by their most common meanings, out of context.
Literal translation: in which the SL grammatical constructions are converted
to their nearest equivalents, but the lexical words are again translated singly, out of
context.
Faithful translation: it attempts to produce the precise contextual meaning
of the original within the constraints of the TL grammatical structures.
Semantic translation: which differs from “faithful translation” only in as far
as it must take more account of the aesthetic value of the SL text.
Adaptation: which is the freest form of translation, and is used mainly for
plays (comedies) and poetry; the themes, characters, plots are usually preserved, the
SL culture is converted to the TL culture and the text is rewritten.
Free translation: it produces the TL text without the style, form, or content
of the original.
Idiomatic translation: it reproduces the “message” of the original but tends
to distort nuances of meaning by preferring colloquialism and idioms where these
do not exist in the original.
Communicative translation: it attempts to render the exact contextual
meaning of the original in such a way that both content and language are readily
acceptable and comprehensible to the readership.
Based on procedures and methods above, the study considers it as conceptual
framework of the study when studying translation strategies in Trinh Cong Son's
songs from Vietnamese into English.
2.2.2. Overview on Equivalence
2.2.2.1. The concept of Equivalence
Both Vinay and Darbelnet as well as Jakobson conceive the translation task
as something which can always be carried out from one language to another,
regardless of the cultural or grammatical differences between ST and TT.
According to them, equivalence is therefore the ideal method when the translator
has to deal with proverbs, idioms, clichés, nominal or adjectival phrases and the
onomatopoeia of animal sounds.

17


Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English

Nida argued that there are two different types of equivalence, namely formal
equivalence - which in the second edition by Nida and Taber (1969/1982) is
referred to as formal correspondence - and dynamic equivalence. Formal
correspondence 'focuses attention on the message itself, in both form and content',
unlike dynamic equivalence which is based upon 'the principle of equivalent effect'.
In the second edition (1982) or their work, the two theorists provide a more detailed
explanation of each type of equivalence.
2.2.2.2. Types of equivalence
Translation has been studied by many scholars from different notions of
view. Some of translation scholars defined their theories a source-oriented theory,
others regarded the targetoriented theories. These theorists have studied equivalence
in relation to the translation process, using a variety of approaches, namely
quantitative and qualitative approach; however, all translation theories are related to
the notion of equivalence in one way or another. Not surprisingly, equivalence plays
a crucial role in translation which is the matter of establishing equivalence between
S.L and T.L.
2.2.2.2.1. Quantitative approach:
Kade (1968) and Hann (1992), regarding lexical equivalence, divided
equivalence into 4 categories. The first type is one - to - one equivalence, when a
single expression in the TL for a single SL expression is used. The second one is
one - to - many equivalence; when more than one TL expression for a single SL
expression is used. Thirdly, when a TL expression covers part of a concept
designated by a single SL expression, the phenomenon is called one - to - part - of one equivalence. Lastly, nil equivalence happens when there is no TL expression
for an SL expression.
2.2.2.2.2. Qualitative approach:
Many scholars dedicated themselves to study TE under qualitative
approach. Among thousands of paper works on this, some has become the
famous and reliable foundations for the latter studies. To date, there have been 3
subdivisions under qualitative approach including: functionbased, meaningbased and form-based approach. Eugene A. Nida, Koller and Baker are three
linguistic researchers are credited as the founders of these above approaches with
their major works of the time.

18


Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English

a. Function-based equivalence:
Eugene A. Nida (1964) argues that there are two different types of
equivalence, including formal equivalence- which, in the second edition, is referred
to as formal correspondence and 12 dynamic equivalence. Formal correspondence
focuses attention on both form and content (as in Bible, international diplomacy,
law and the like) unlike dynamic equivalence emphasizes the text readability.
b. Meaning-based equivalence:
As cited in Mehrach (1997) and Munday (2001), Koller distinguishes 5 types
of equivalence as follow: denotative equivalence; connotative equivalence, text
normative; pragmatic equivalence; formal equivalence.
c. Form-based equivalence:
Baker (1992) proposes 5 levels of equivalence: equivalence at word level,
equivalence above word level, grammatical equivalence, textual equivalence,
pragmatic equivalence.
This section summarizes types of equivalence. The next part will deal with
equivalence and non-equivalence at word level.
2.2.2.3. Equivalence and non-equivalence at word level
2.2.2.3.1. Equivalence at word level
In the process of translating certain text, translator will focus on decoding
linguistic element which conveys meaning. The smallest unit which possess
individual meaning is a word (Baker, 2011). Meaning is distinguished into four
including propositional meaning referring to a real or imaginary world, as
conceived by the speakers of the particular language to which theword or utterance
belongs. For example, Shirt means ‘a piece of clothing worn on the upper part of the
body’, expressive meaning relating to the speaker’s feelings or attitude rather than
to what words and utterances refer to.
2.2.2.3.2. Non-equivalence at word level
Among many approaches introduced above, Mona Baker was the most
outstanding theorist dramatically focusing on equivalence at word level since, as
being claimed by her, word is the basic unit to be considered in meaning of
translation text. Her analysis on word level is particularly clear, easy to
comprehend. As a brieft introduction, the following table will present common
problems of non-equivalence at word level as specified by Mona Baker.

19


Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English

Table 2.1: Baker’s taxonomy of non-equivalence at word level (1992)
Non - Equivalence at Word level
1

Culture - specific concepts

7

Differences

in

physical

or

interpersonal perspective
2

The source language concept is not 8
lexicalized in the target language

Differences
meaning

3

The

Differences in form

source

language

word

is 9

in

expressive

semantically complex
4

The source and target language make 10

Differences in frequency and

different distinctions in meaning

purpose of using specific forms

5

The target language
superordinate term

lacks

a 11

6

The target language lacks a specific
term (hyponym)

The use of loan words in the
source text

2.2.2.3.3. Problems of non-equivalence at word levels
The problem of non-equivalence has been drawing the attention of many
researchers. Jakobson claims that "there is ordinarily no full equivalence between
code units" (as cited in Munday, 2001). Jakobson also explains the differences
between structures, terminology, grammar and lexical forms of languages are the
main reasons of non-equivalence. In his theory, the general principle of crosslanguage difference and the concept ‘semantic field’ has been established.
Catford (1996) found that there are two factors which affected the
equivalence i.e. linguistic and cultural factors, leading to two kinds of equivalents
i.e. linguistic and cultural equivalents. This finding of Caford is very significant
because it consists of both important approaches toward equivalence, namely,
linguistic and cultural approaches.
Equivalent effect, as judged by Newmark, is “the desirable result, rather than
the aim of any translation”. Accordingly, the equivalent effect is a result which all
translators long to achieve. Further, Newmark (1988) argues that the text may reach
a 'broad equivalent effect' only if it is 'universal' that means cross culture share
common ideas.
2.2.2.3.4. The strategies of non-equivalence at word levels
For solving the problems existing, Baker (2011) proposes some
strategiesincluding translation by a more general word (superordinate), a more

20


Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English

neutral/less expressive word, cultural substitution, using a loan word or loan word
plus explanation, paraphrase using a related word, paraphrase using unrelated
words, omission, and illustration. The brief explanation is showed in the table
below:
Table 2.2. Strategies of non-equivalence at word level
No.
1

2

3

Strategy
Description
Translation - It uses superordinate word
by a more in case subordinate doesn’t
general word exist in TL.
- It’s the most common
strategy for dealing many
types of non - equivalence,
particularly in the area of
propositional meaning.
Translation If speaker’s feeling is
by more
difficult to expressed exactly.
neutral/ less
expressive
word

Translation
by cultural
substitution

- It replaces a culture specific item or
expression
with a TL item which does
not
have
the
same
propositional meaning but is
likely to have a similar
impact on the target reader.

21

Example
In
English:
makes
distinctions among mopeds,
scooters and motorcycles
depending on wheels and
engines.
- But In Vietnamese: we use
the general word “xe máy”
for all
E.g. The word “sexy” should
be transferred as “quyến rũ”
in Vietnamese since it is
more neutral and not likely
to convey a disapproving
meaning as “gợi tình”.
E.g. The sentence “Oversea
Vietnamese was delighted
with remarkable change in
the mother land”. Should be
translated: “Việt kiều vui
mừng trước sự thay đổi của
quê hương”. It is better than
“mẫu quốc”
E.g: In English “the baby
weights
six
pounds”,
translate into Vietnamese,
instead of “đứa bé nặng 6
cân Anh” we say “đứa bé
nặng 2,7kg”.
E.g. “Mother day” in


Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English

- Most Vietnamese translators
dislike this strategy and
prefer
direct
translation
claiming that is a way for the
original text.
4

5

6

Translation
by
loan word /
loan word
plus
explanation
Translation
by
paraphrase
using a
related word

It is particularly common in
dealing with culture - specific
items, modern concepts and
buzz words.

Translation
by

If the concept expressed by
the source item is not

It is used when the concept
expressed by the source item
is lexicalized in the target
language but in a different
form, and when the frequency
with which a certain form is
used in the source text is
significantly higher than
would be natural in the target
language

22

English is translated as
“ngày lễ Vu lan” in
Vietnamese. Because both
are a day to honor mother
and motherhood in both
countries.
E.g: “HIV and AIDS” are
two familiar concepts with
most people in the word.
Therefore, they often used as
in
the
SL
without
accompanying explanation.
- In English: “the integrated
resorts are fully opened,
gaming areas will take up
less than 3 percent of the
Gross Floor Area for Marina
Bay Sands.”
- In Vietnamese: “Các khu
nghỉ dưỡng kết hợp đa chức
năng mở cửa hoàn toàn, khu
vực sòng bài chỉ chiếm chưa
tới 3% tổng diện tích mặt
bằng của Marina Bay
Sands.” - As in dictionary,
“integrated” is an Adj
referring to the stated of
combining many different
parts are closely connected
and
work
successfully
together, but it is not
lexicalized
clearly
in
Vietnamese.
E.g. In English “Compulsory
school attendance was only


Translation Strategies In Trinh Cong Son’s Songs From Vietnamese Into English

lexicalized at all in the target through grade five.”
language, or it is sematically The word “attendance” in
complex
Vietnamese means “sự tham
dự” it seems to be not
appropriate here. Therefore
we translate into Vietnamese
“giáo dục bắt buộc chỉ hết
lớp năm”.
Translation
If the meaning conveyed by a E.g. SL “long hours and
by omission particular item or expression shared stress at work are
is not vital enough to the leading to office romance.”
development of the text to The word “romance” in
justify distracting the reader English can be translated as
with lengthy explanations, “tình / chuyện tình / chuyện
translators can and often do tình lãng mạn / mối tình lãng
simply omit translating the mạn” the shorter version,
word or expression in though can convey the
question.
implication which is enough
for the reader to understand.
Therefore we translate the
SL into Vietnamese as “thời
gian làm việc chung lâu và
sự chia sẻ khó khăn khi làm
việc là tác nhân cho tình
công sở”
Translation If the word which lacks
an E.g. In Vietnam, having toys
by
equivalent in the target named “tò he” which made
illustration language refers to a physical from colored rice dough. It
entity
which
can
be is made to depict different
illustrated, particularly if heroes and ordinary people
there are restrictions on space of daily life, symbolic
and if the text has to remain animal. It is difficult for a
short, concise and to the foreigner readers to visualize
point.
what exactly a “tò he” is
showing a photo of it.
Adapted from Baker (2011) with combination
paraphrase
using an
unrelated
word

7

8

23


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