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以后地位: 快活牛牛终究版技能 > 外语论文 > 外语翻译论文 > 文章 以后地位: 外语翻译论文 > 文章

植物词在汉英文明中的喻义及其翻译

时间:2020-02-22    点击: 次    来源:搜集转载    作者:佚名kmteckels.com - 小 + 大年夜

[abstract] as we know, animals are good friends of human beings. in the long progress of human society, animals contribute much to man’s living. therefore, animal words come to human language and play a very important role in human communication. language is a cultural carrier. there are a lot of animal words in both english and chinese but the two countries have great differences in cultural backgrounds and thinking modes. these differences between the two cultures lead to different figurative meanings of animal words. this essay will try to compare the figurative meanings of animal words both in english and chinese from the following aspects: same animal association vehicles with the similar and different figurative meanings, the different animal association vehicles with the similar figurative meanings and the semantic gaps. with comparison, we can clearly see that these figurative meanings of animal words greatly influence the intercultural communication. as an important means of cross-cultural communication, translation is also closely connected with culture. for the purpose of our effective communication, we should use different kinds of methods to do the equivalent translation between the two languages and build a bridge for the linguistic cultural exchange.
[key words] animal words; figurative meaning; association vehicle; english and chinese cultures; intercultural communication; translation


【摘 要】尽人皆知,植物是人类的同伙。wwW.relunwen.com在人类社会漫长的生长过程当中,植物为人类的生计供给物质基本。而说话作为文明的载体,记录着人类社会文明生长的过程;人类的说话中必定存在着大年夜量的反应植物称号的词汇。但由于汉英两个平易近族各自的社会文明背景和思想方法不合,在植物词的喻义的表示上也不尽雷同。本文拟从英汉两种文明中植物词的联想喻体与喻义之间的对应关系着手,重要表示为:同一联想喻体,喻义却有同有异;不合联想喻体,喻义却雷同和一方语义空白等来停止比较分析,从中得知汉英两个平易近族在以植物为比方的应用上存在着差别,而这类差别给跨文明交际带来妨碍。是以在跨文明交际中,我们必须精确懂得这些植物联想喻体所负载的文明信息,采取不合的办法停止英汉两种说话的等值翻译,以便增添交际妨碍,为两种说话文明的交换搭建一座沟通的桥梁。
【关键词】植物词;喻义;联想喻体;汉英文明;跨文明交际;翻译


1. introduction
1.1 close relationship between animals and human beings
human beings and animals are both the products of natural evolution, and factually man had evolved from animals. but since human beings created language, there have existed some great differences between man and animals. language, the result of human labor and social activities, is human specific, which is the major factor that distinguishes human beings from animals. in the long progress of human society, animals, which provide food and labor force for human, have been closely bound up with human existence and development. their furs were also good dress materials for ancient human to keep out wind and cold. in a certain stage of primitive society, man once considered animals as gods to worship. so far animals are still close friends of human beings. now that animals play an important role in human lives, the animal words in human languages will bear the deep socio-cultural imprints in the course of being used long by the human beings.
1.2 influence of animal words in both chinese and english culture
   language is the carrier and container of cultural information. human beings have been interacting with the world and accumulated their experience and knowledge about the world, which are represented in language. as a result, we can find in language all human knowledge and experience which are interpreted as cultural information. [1] so in human language there exist a plenty of animal words that are often used as kinds of association vehicles. human beings often associate their feelings and emotions with various animals according to animals’ features such as their appearances, habits and characteristics so that the names or images of animals possess specific cultural connotations.
   culture is the soil of language. sir edward tylor, a british anthropologist, was one of those who first defined culture,in primitive culture (1871). his definition was that “culture is complex whole, which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, customs and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.” tylor’s definition has continually been the basis of most anthropological conception of culture. [2] culture is also a historical phenomenon. each generation inherits the culture established by its forefathers and makes its own contributions to the development of culture; so different nations have different cultures. universality between chinese and english cultures and similarity in the thinking modes make people associate the same animal words with the same or similar figurative meanings. but differences between these two cultures always lead to different association, i.e. chinese and english people have different figurative meanings to same animal words or use different animal association vehicles to express same or similar figurative meanings.
   english and chinese are rich in animal words as association vehicles, so in this paper the author mainly compares figurative meanings of animal words in english and chinese culture and indicates translation techniques.
2. animal words as association vehicles
   it is well known that there are many figurative expressions in english and chinese, especially animal metaphors. however, because of different histories, social backgrounds and cultures, the connotations of animal words are different. if chinese people and english people want to use the figurative way to express the same tenor, they would use the same or different association vehicles, so the corresponding relationships between association vehicles and figurative meanings are also different.
2.1 same animal association vehicles and similar figurative meanings
   as all human beings live in the similar environment, the chinese people and english people nearly have the same knowledge of animals. therefore, they have the same or similar figurative meanings to animal words. for example, english people would say, “he is a fox.” similarly, chinese people can understand the meaning of the sentence “he is a fox.” in chinese “他是一只狐狸。” this example shows that in english “fox” can be used to describe somebody who is cunning and dishonest. this example indicates that different languages and cultures endow “fox’’ the same figurative meanings.
   the following animal words have the similar figurative meanings both in english and chinese. “sheep(羊) or lamb(羔羊)” can be considered as a kind of animal with a sweet and tame temper. as a result, the “sheep(羊) or lamb(羔羊)” is used to show the character with a sweet and tame temper both in english and chinese, for example: “as lovely as a little sheep (像小羊羔一样心爱)”.
   wolf(狼) is a kind of greedy, savage and cruel beast, so in chinese there exist such expressions: “恶毒心肠”, “豺狼当道”, “凶神恶煞”, “狼吞虎咽”, “狼狈为奸”, “野心勃勃”. similarly, the greedy, sinister, dishonest character of wolf also displays vividly and incisively in western culture, e.g.: “a wolf in a sheep’s clothing or a wolf in lamb’s skin (披着羊皮的狼)”; “wake a sleeping wolf (自找费事)”; “hold a wolf by the ears (进退维谷,跋前疐后)”;“keep the wolf from the door (委曲度日)”. [3]
   in addition, when “wolf” is used to refer to a person, it means “a man who charms women so as to use them for his own pleasure’’. therefore, in english there is an idiom “a wolf whistle(挑逗口哨)”. in chinese, there is also such an expression “色狼”.
   “ass(驴)” in english and chinese has the same connotation and figurative meaning “foolish, stupid”. in chinese the expression “笨驴” is used to indicate a fool or an idiot. in english, most of the set phrases, idioms and proverbs including the word “ass’’ all imply the meaning of “foolish”, e.g. “ass in grain (实足的大年夜傻瓜)”; “an ass in a lion’s skin (from aesop’s fables, 假装聪慧人的傻瓜)”; “all asses wag their ears (谚语:驴子摇耳朵,傻瓜装聪慧)”; “asses’ bridge (笨人惆怅的桥)”; “act the ass (做懵懂事)”; “make an ass of oneself (做蠢事)”; “sell you ass (白话:不要如许天真烂漫)”. [4]
the word “dove” in chinese and english shares the same meaning, and symbolizes for peace. we regard the dove as “peace dove”. in some grand celebrations, we often see the scene of taking the doves away, standing for cherished desire for peace world of all of us. [5]
the following are some other familiar examples: as free as a bird (像鸟儿一样自在); as ugly as a toad (像癞蛤蟆一样丑); as busy as a bee (像蜜蜂一样劳碌); as slow as a nail (像蜗牛一样慢).
this kind of terms with same or similar figurative meanings show that in different cultures there does exist something in common, which reflects the commonness of different national cultures.
2.2 same animal association vehicles and different figurative meanings
different living conditions have caused varied states of mind and ways of thinking, so chinese and english people have different ideas and attitudes to some animals such as dragon, dogs, etc. and their figurative meanings in both languages and cultures differ greatly.
2.2.1 some animal words with commendatory figurative meaning in chinese, but with derogatory figurative meaning in english
we must be very familiar with the word “dragon (龙)”, which is completely opposite in chinese and english. “dragon (龙)”is not a real animal but an imaginary one. in china, dragon is the symbol of the chinese nation, especially in the ancient time, people worshiped dragon to beg for rain. and the chinese feudal emperors were often referred to as sons of dragons (龙子), wearing clothes with designs of dragons (龙袍). and also the chinese all call themselves descendents of the dragon(龙的传人)and are very proud of being the descendents of the dragon. however, in western people’s minds, the dragon is some evil monster with a large tail with wings and claws, breathing out fire and smoke. it symbolizes evil.
“monkey (猴子)” has different figurative meaning in chinese and english languages. in chinese, “monkey” is often likened to a smart and agile person, with commendatory sense. the chinese people often jokingly call clever and cute children “little monkey”. but, if you praise a western child “you are like a little monkey.”, he will be angry, thinking that you curse him. because in english, “little monkey,” means “a troublesome playful child”. and “monkey” is often likened to a person with a whole bag of tricks, e.g. “the man is as tricky as a monkey. (那人诡计多端,极其狡猾。)” therefore, in english, expressions with “monkey” have derogatory meanings, e.g. “monkey business (捣乱,哄人的勾当)”; “monkey around (闲荡,瞎弄)”; “monkey meat (美俚:劣等牛肉)”; “suck the monkey (英俚:酗酒)”. [6]
let’s take a look at the word “petrel (海燕)”. in english the petrel is considered as an omen of disaster. the longman dictionary of english-chinese offers us the explanations: “a stormy petrel is a person whose presence excites discontentment, quarrelling, etc. in a social group.” the reason for such a dislike is that they think petrel is the symbol for disaster. however, in china the word “petrel” is associated with braving hardship and adversity, advancing with perseverance and courage. the spirit is well reflected in the poem petrel written by gorky, a famous russian writer.
to english people, if a magpie (喜鹊) flies near a window, it is a symbol of bad luck. there are two explanations in the oxford advanced learner’s english-chinese dictionary: (a) person who collects or hoards things (爱收藏或储藏器械的人), (b) person who chatters a lot (爱饶舌的人). all these explanations are figurative with derogatory meanings. on the contrary, a magpie is a symbol of good luck in china. if a magpie sings in a tree near houses, people would think some happy things would happen. so chinese people often say, “magpie sings, happy thing comes.”
what’s about the animal word “fish”? “fish” and “鱼” has quite different cultural figurative meanings in english and chinese. in english “fish” has derogatory meaning that refers to bad things and persons, e.g.: “a poor fish (不幸虫)”; “a loose fish (生活放肆的女人)”; “fish in the air (水中捞月)”. in chinese the letter “鱼” and “余” are homophones. therefore, in the important festivals such as spring festival, chinese people would like to use “fish” as an indispensable dish to symbolize “abundance”. [7]
in china, “elephant (象)” is a mascot. many places in china are named for the letter “象” such as “象山” in zhejiang province, “象州”, “象鼻山” in guangxi province, “象河” in tibet, etc. “elephant” also symbolizes status. for example, in remote antiquity, the noble ladies wore clothes with designs of elephants (象服); the emperors rode on elephants. the “elephant” is doted by chinese people because of the buddhist legends. it is said that the buddhist patriarch was the reincarnation of white elephant. on the contrary, in english white elephant (白象) is likened to things that are useless and often expensive. the allusion is originated from a folk story that in siam (now thailand), the king would give a white elephant as a present to a subject that he did not like. the subject would have to spend all his money on looking after the rare animal. therefore, there exist such expressions in english, “elephantine (愚蠢)”, “elephant humor (蹩脚的滑稽)”, “elephant task (包袱的活儿)”.[8]
2.2.2 some animal words with commendatory figurative meaning in english, but with derogatory figurative meaning in chinese
let’s take our familiar animal word “dog” for example. the dog is very interesting and closely related with people. most of the “dog” expressions possess a commendatory sense or at least a neuter sense in english. it is all right to refer to certain people as “big dog (重要人物)”, “top dog (优胜者)”, “lucky dog (荣幸儿)”, etc. in english. “to help a lame dog over the stile” means “to help someone in difficulty”. “to let sleeping dogs lie” means “to make no trouble” or “not to disturb people”. “every dog has its day,” means “every person will some day succeed or become fortunate.” such usage does not contain derogatory meaning. but figures of speech like these are not proper in chinese as the word “狗” in most chinese phrases is associated with some derogatory meanings, as is reflected in sayings like “狗胆包天、垂死挣扎、狗头军师、狗腿子、狗血喷头、恶毒心肠、狗眼看人低、漏网之鱼、狗嘴吐不出象牙”, etc., even though most chinese now think the dog is man’s faithful friend. [9]
however, in some cases the word “dog” may have derogatory sense in english, as is shown in the following examples: “yellow dog (低劣之人)”, “dirty dog (肮脏之人)”, “sly dog (阴险之人)”, “dead dog (无用的人)”, and some vulgar languages: “son of bitch (狗杂种)”, “you dog (狗器械)”, “that cur (小杂种狗)”, etc. [10]
“owl (猫头鹰)” is very popular with the western. the greeks use “owl” to stand for athens, which is famous for its many owls. and it’s said that athena, the woman patron saint was given an owls as her mark. it symbolizes wisdom, calmness, gravity and steadiness. in dispute among birds and beats, it is the owl that they go to for advice, and we can see such idiom “as wise as an owl”. if we use “owlish” to describe somebody, we want to say he is clever or serious, e.g. “patrick peered owlishly at us through his glasses. (帕特里克透过他的眼镜严肃而机灵地核阅着我们。) ” but in chinese, the figurative meaning of the word “owl” is quite different. “owl” is described as the devil, ill omen and evil. people are afraid of seeing an owl, especially seeing its entering the house, so there are proverbs which go like these: “夜猫子进宅,无事不来”; “夜猫子焕发翅,大年夜小有点事儿”. the mere sight of an owl or the sound of its hooting might cause people to draw back in fear. [11]
to chinese people and english people, “bear” has quite different figurative meanings. to chinese people “bear” means “cowardly and timid” or “stupid”, such as “笨熊”, “瞧那熊样”, etc. however, in english, people use “bear” to refer to those persons having special ability, for instance, “he is a bear at music. (他是音乐天赋。)”
another example is an insect---cricket (蟋蟀), which, however, means totally different to both the chinese and the english. in chinese culture, “cricket” refers to a small, brown, jumping insect which makes a shrill sound by rubbing its front wings together. it is often used to express “grief” and “desolation”, which is reflected in the following example “独申旦而不寐兮,哀蟋蟀之宵征” written by song yu in the book of 《九辩》. but in english, since shakespeare used “as merry as crickets” in henry iv, the english and american people have used “cricket” to symbolize joy all the time. for example, c.kingley once wrote in his two years ago that “i have not had all the luck i expected, but… am as merry as a cricket. (固然我没有取得想要的一切好运,但我却很高兴。)” [12]
2.3 different animal association vehicles and similar figurative meanings
different animal words have similar cultural connotations in english and chinese languages and people use different animal words to express similar meanings. even though the animal association vehicles are different, they have similar figurative meanings.
for instance, agriculture is the foundation of china’s economic development, so the cattle (牛) play a great role in chinese culture. there are so many expressions which use “cattle” as association vehicles, such as “结实如牛”, “牛气冲天”, “象老黄牛一样辛苦任务”, “过着牛马不如的生活”. however, in the middle ages, horse was not only the inseparable part of knights’ lives, but also the animal kept and used by the imperial families. so english people give horse many good figurative meanings such as “as strong as a horse”, “to work like a horse”, “get on one’s high horse”. similarly, great britain is an island country, so fishery is important. therefore, there exists such figurative expression “to drink like a fish (豪饮)”. [13]
in english, there are many figurative expressions using the word “horse” as association vehicles, e.g. “change horse (换马)” is likened to “change groups or leaders (换班子或引导人)”; “from the horse’s mouth (第一手的)”; “talk horse (吹法螺)”, etc.
to chinese people, “tiger” is referred to as the king of animals and stands for power, vigor and bravery. so there are many expressions with the letter “虎”: “豪杰虎胆”, “龙争虎斗”, “藏龙卧虎”, “如虎添翼”, “虎将”, etc. but in english “tiger” symbolizes cruelty. the western regards “lion” as the king of animals. webster’s third new international dictionary of the english language interprets “a person felt to be like a lion especially in courage, ferocity, dignity or dominance (一个象是狮子的人,特别指勇气、凶悍、威严或权势方面)”. we use “as bold as a lion” to describe a brave person. the lion enjoys high prestige. in addition, english people regard lion as the national emblem of great britain. “a literary lion” is referred to a famous person in the field of literature. [14]
“snake” and “中山狼” share the same figurative meaning in english and chinese, which are both likened to a person who returns hate for love. the only difference is that chinese language uses “中山狼” as association vehicle, but english language uses “snake” as association vehicle.
for generation the fable of “中山狼” has circulated among the people. the story is that: zhao jianzi shot at a wolf in the wood. the wolf escaped and asked master dongguo for help. mr. dongguo was softhearted and hid the wounded wolf in his bag to keep it from being caught by zhao jianzi. but the wolf wanted to eat him. so the figurative meaning “恩将仇报” of “中山狼” is created.

“snake” is referred to a person requiting kindness with enmity, which is originated from aesop’s fables, that is, a snake was frozen stiff at the verge of death. a pedestrian saw it and warmed it in his bosom. after a while, the snake came round and bit its benefactor to death. so it causes the figurative meaning. [15]
different animal association vehicles with similar figurative meanings can be also seen from such expressions: “as timid as a rabbit, chicken-hearted or pigeon-hearted (怯弱如鼠)”; “like a cat on hot bricks (热锅上的蚂蚁)”; “as stubborn as a mule (犟得像头牛)”; “wet as a drowned rat (落汤鸡)”; “goose flesh (鸡皮疙瘩)”; etc.
2.4 semantic gaps
specific cultures and regional discrepancies exert a strong influence on language. and animal words as association vehicles are the products under the specific cultural backgrounds. then these animal association vehicles have their respective cultural connotations which are known to different nations or which are completely strange to people.
2.4.1 the same animal words with rich figurative meanings in english, but with no figurative meanings in chinese
“ostrich (鸵鸟)” is a kind of large bird living in the area of african deserts, with a long neck and long legs and that cannot fly but can run very fast. in english and american cultures, “ostrich” has such figurative meanings, e.g. “stupid, evading and having a good appetite”. its figurative meaning would be well reflected in the following expressions: “ostrich belief (鸵鸟信念)” is referred to deceptive idea. “to bury one’s head ostrich-like in the sand” is likened to a person who prefers to ignore problems rather than try and deal with them. in addition, there exists such figurative expression “have the digestion of an ostrich (胃口好如鸵鸟)”. however, to most chinese people, an ostrich is only a kind of animal without any figurative meanings. the chinese are only familiar with “ostrich policy (鸵鸟政策)”borrowed from english. [16]
in western culture, what impresses people most may be goat, for “goat (山羊)” is generally thought to be related with evils and the devil. the legend has that the devil created the goat, which is described as the phantom of the devil and the goat typically stands for those who are fond of women and loose in morals. and what’s about the english idiom “separate the sheep from the goats”? the bible, matthew tells us that “sheep” refers to “people”. we can see the original passage from the bible, matthew (25:31-33): “when the son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand the goats at the left.” [17] and thus the english idiom can be translated into “分清大好人与坏人”. but to chinese people, the goat is only a common animal.
let us see more animal words only having figurative meanings in english: “nightingale (夜莺:告发者,坐探) ”,“albatross (信天翁:沉重的包袱,没法摆脱的懊末路妨碍)”, “cock (公鸡:头头)”, “beaver (河狸:担任任务的人)”, “cat (猫:心肠恶毒的女人,怯弱鬼)”, etc. [18]
2.4.2 the same animal words with rich figurative meanings in chinese, but with no figurative meanings in english
for chinese people, we must be very familiar with the word “crane (鹤)”, a symbol for longevity in chinese culture. therefore, some chinese parents like to name their children as “鹤年”, “鹤龄” with the hope that their children live a long life. the crane is often linked with the pine tree, which is a symbol for sturdiness and long life. the two often appear together with the meaning “松鹤延年”. in china, it is a good way for people to send gifts with such designs of crane and pine tree to the older generations, especially on their birthday celebrating occasions. but in english culture, the crane is only an ordinary animal with no figurative meanings.
“龟(tortoise)” contains two figurative meanings in chinese. one is longevity because of its physical features. stone tortoises symbolic of venerable old ages can be seen in front of ancient halls, temples and palaces. the other is the symbol for the cuckold. to call a person a tortoise “王八” is highly insulting. however, to the english, the tortoise is just a slow-moving creature with no such figurative meanings. [19]
other animal words indicate that only chinese language has the figurative meanings. for example, “蚕(silkworm) :贡献精力”, “鹗(osprey) :有才能的人”, “鸿雁(chinese wild goose) :喻指信使”, “鸳鸯(mandarin duck) :夫妻”, “黄雀(sis kin) :失意君子”. [20]
3. influences of figurative meanings of animal words on intercultural communication
intercultural communication is concerned with communication among people from different cultural backgrounds. with the rapid development of science and technology, especially communications, the world is becoming smaller and smaller. and it is necessary to communicate with people from different cultural backgrounds. however, different cultures may favor different value systems and worldviews. moreover, the belief, customs and habits of the people from different countries may be different. therefore, intercultural communication provides guidance for those people engaged in intercultural communication.
in the human communication, a plenty of animal words are widely used to enrich the language and culture. the vivid images of animals enhance expressive ability of language by associating with their features showed from outside appearances or individual temperaments. as the above comparisons represent, animal words have many same or different figurative meanings. if we do not know the cultural information and only understand the information according to our national cultural backgrounds, we would cause the deviation from information transmission and misunderstanding in intercultural communication to lead to the failure of communication. once a foreigner said, “the jones family live like fighting cocks ever since he got that new well paid job at the ministry.” the structure is very simple but many people make a wrong understanding. the problem lies in the phrase “fighting cocks”. to chinese “fighting cocks (斗殴的公鸡)” is usually used to describe two people living an unpeaceful life.  in ancient china, the palaces or the folks liked gamecock to make a pleasure, which brought out the association. but in english, “live like fighting cocks” means “to enjoy the best possible food or life”. so the correct understanding of this sentence is that “自从琼斯在部里找到一个薪水丰富的新职位后,他家过得很舒畅。” [21] therefore, we should pay attention to the figurative meanings of animal words to make cross-cultural communication successful.
4. translation of animal metaphors
4.1 importance of translation
translation is a dialogic process. it is not only an inter-lingual activity but also a cross-cultural communication event. the purpose of translation is to transfer the source language into the target language to obtain the maximal equivalence. so translators play an important role in the process of translation. they should consider how to deal with the images of the words and how to express the figurative meanings correctly and properly. meantime, they should think over not only the language structures and national features in source language but also the cultural backgrounds and the expressions in target language.
animal words contain many cultural meanings. in the process of translating animal words, the big problem is how to get the same or nearly the same effect culturally in the target language as that of the source language.
4.2 methods of translation
4.2.1 keeping image of animal association vehicles
english culture and chinese culture have much in common, so the english and the chinese share the same or similar feelings or attitudes to some animal words. and they use the same animal images to express the similar figurative meanings. therefore, we can adopt literal translation to keep the original association vehicles. to a certain extent, this method helps to keep the source national sense and makes the target language readers to understand the source language culture. for example:
(1) 俗语说得好,叫做“杀鸡吓猴”,拿鸡子宰了,那猴儿天然害怕。(李宝嘉:《宦海现形记》)
the saying has it well, “kill the chicken in order to frighten the monkey”. if the chicken is killed the monkey is certainly scared. [22]
(2) 楚兵罢食尽,此天亡楚之时也,不如因其机而遂取之。今释弗击,此所谓养虎遗患也。(司马迁:《史记.项羽本纪》)
the troops of chu are short of food, which shows the gods want to wipe them out and take up the state. if we don’t launch an attack upon them and let them go, what we shall do is to nourish a tiger to be a source of the trouble in the future. [23]
(3) advice and correction roll off him like water off a duck’s back.
劝导对他仿佛水过鸭背似的不起感化。[24]
(4) you stupid ass! how could you do a thing like that?
你这头蠢驴!怎样会干出那种事儿来? [25]
let’s have a look at some other examples: dark horse (黑马), paper tiger (纸老虎), lamb duck (跛脚丫子), as pure as a swan (像天鹅一样圣洁), etc.
keeping image of association vehicles can make language vivid and vigorous and preserve the original style. adopting this method not only reproduces the source language meaning and charm but also benefits the cultural exchange between chinese and english.
4.2.2 changing image of animal association vehicles
english language and chinese language have some cultural discrepancies. if some original association vehicles are kept in the process of translation, the target language readers may not understand them. indeed, there are occasions where certain cultural aspects of original cannot be directly transferred into the target language culture. thus, in the process of intercultural communication, we may replace the original image with a different one that retains the meaning of the original message and well fits in with the target language. for example:
to chinese people, if someone talks too much and don’t want to stop, we will use “叽叽喳喳,像只麻雀” to describe him. in chinese culture, people always associate “sparrow” with someone talkative. this coincides with the associative meaning of “magpie” in the english culture (see section 2.2.1). therefore, the replacement of “sparrow” with “magpie” is quite necessary for the sake of english reader’s acceptability.
(5) 郭彩娣见徐义德装出一副笑面虎的神情,更加使她朝气。(周而复: 《上海的凌晨》)
it made kuo tsai-ti more furious than ever to see hsu yi-teh putting on this wolf-in-sheep’s clothing manner. [26]
(6) mr. smith may serve as a good secretary, for he is as close as an oyster.
掉密斯师长教员可以当个好秘书,由于他缄舌闭口。[27]
in addition, when using other association vehicles to replace the original association vehicles, we should pay attention to some traps. look at the example:
(7) lock the stable door after the horse is stolen/has bolted.
it is not proper to put it into “亡羊补牢”. this english proverb means “to take precaution too late to be effective”, which emphasizes “late”, equal to chinese expression “贼去关门” or “雨后送伞”. however, in chinese proverb it stresses “not too late” and its complete expression is “亡羊补牢,犹为未晚”, which is equal to another english proverb “it’ s never too late to mined[sic].” [28]
chinese and english people adopt different animal images to express the similar   figurative meanings, so this method of changing images is the best way and this conforms to the thinking modes and expressions of the source and target language readers.
4.2.3 discarding image of animal association vehicles
some animal words contain opposite figurative meanings with commendatory or derogatory sense and exist semantic gaps. if these culturally loaded association vehicles can be represented in the target language version, it would cause many misunderstandings and language barriers. so the best way is to discard the images of animal association vehicles. for example:
(8) 他被新来的经理炒鱿鱼了。
“炒鱿鱼” is a dialect in the area of guangdong province. it is equal to “fire sb.” or “get the back” in english language. if we try to retain the image “鱿鱼”, the english readers would be baffled. here we should choose to tell out the meaning of the sentence to make the translation clear. so the translated version is “he was fired by the newly-appointed manager.”
(9) don’t listen to her gossip; she is a cat.
别听她搬弄长短,她是个心肠恶毒的女人。
(10) the lions at her party included two famous authors and a musician.
她宴请的社会名流包含两名作家和一名音乐家。 [29]
when this method is used in translation, the target language readers have no difficulty in reading and they do not need to stop to guess the meaning of the figurative expressions as well.
along with the development and close contact with the foreign countries, the western have been learning the chinese culture all the time. so do the chinese people. when translating, we can use literal translation plus annotation in the beginning. after the target language readers have been very familiar with the expressions and known their meanings in the source language texts, we can omit the annotation. with the lapse of time, chinese and english language will be absorbed each other. this will benefit more to know the two countries’ cultures and customs, and the two countries can keep their own national flavors.
5. conclusion
human beings always have inseparable relations with animals. in the long period of time when man is in harmony with animals, he has come to realize that all animals, whether they are friends or enemies, contribute much to man’s living. therefore, animal words come into human communicating language. it can be said that human language reflects human ideas and acts; so animal words play a very important role in human linguistic communication.
different cultures of chinese and english nations entrust cultural connotations to the animal words, which cause discrepancies in the application of animal association vehicles. these discrepancies bring obstruction of intercultural communication. as an important means of cross-cultural communication, translation is also closely connected with culture. for the purpose of our effective communication, we should understand these culturally loaded animal words correctly and do the equivalent translation between english language and chinese language, and build a bridge for the linguistic cultural exchange.

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[28] 同[24]. p162
[29] 同[25]. p36

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