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The Appreciation of Mr Wang Zuoliang's Translation of Studies

By luxury7 Dec 30, 2010 1241 Words
The appreciation of Mr Wang Zuoliang’s Chinese translation Of Studies Abstract
In Bacon’s Essays, undoubtedly, Of Studies is one of the most famous and influential one, and an imperishable work. Wang Zuoliang’s translation of it is extraordinarily classic. This paper aims at appreciating the Mr Wang’s Chinese translation, and analysing the style and rhetorical devices in both the original text and the tranlation.

Key words : Mr Wang Zuoliang Of Studies translation

1. Introduction
Francis Bacon,a lawyer, philosopher, statesman, and essayist, is a man of great judgment and remarkable eloquence, highly accomplished and versatile. His witty and pithy Essays are splendid examples of English prose. Of Studies is one of the essays, in which Bacon illustrates his point of view. He firmly believe that “Histories make men wise; poets witty; the mathematics subtile; natural philosophy deep; moral grave; logic and rhetoric able to contend. ” It is an powerful and formal essay, using lots of big words and parallel structures. Of Studies greatly influence the world as Bacon’s other Essays do. Mr Wang Zuoliang is an outstanding translator who has translated lots of excellent literary works. His version of the Chinese translation Of Studies is a perfect combination of content and form, which has successfully represented the original and obtained the same effect on the readership as the original text. So far, it is considered as the best translation Of Studies. His style of translation and thorough understanding of Of Studies should be studied. In the following passage, the style and rhetorical devices of Of Studies and Mr Wang’s translation will be analyzed.

2. Style
The style of Of Studies is not quite the same with the modern English writing style. Its language is like half colloqualism and half modernity to contemporary English readers. Mr Wang had a thorough understanding of the essay and its style, hence, he translated it into Chinese of half colloqualism and half modernity. Of Studies is concise, of philosophy and good wits, and full of maxim. However, an essay overflowed with maxim might lessen the impression on readers. The greatest characteristic of is that Mr Wang hides the sparkling points in the translation systematically, with a rhythmic characteristic slow and rapid. It’s like a combination of parallel prose and essay. Reading through Of Studies and , the language rhythm of both are similar and the maxims in Of Studies are translated into Chinese as well. For example: Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. Translation: 书有可浅尝者,有可吞食者,少数则须咀嚼消化。 Since Mr Wang is a master in both Chinse and English, the entire translation used adaptation instead of foreignization. He didn't stick to the original text rigidly, but translated in a more free and fluent way without losing the meaning and essence of Of Studies. To take the title for example, the word STUDY can be understood in different ways, such as investigation, knowledge, reading. Since the entire essay is related to reading, Mr Wang translated STUDY into 读书 in Chinese, which is quite appropriate. Moreover, reading , is like wandering in the ocean of Chinese for a Chinese, no sign of weirdness will be detected. Another example, “the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs, come best from those that are learned.” “come best from” will be easily translated into “最”. However, Mr Wang’s version is “然纵观统筹、全局策划,则舍好学深思者莫属。”, “come best from” translated into “舍……莫属”, which is really clever! Moreover, the diction in has been “weighed and considered”. For example: Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Translation: 读书足以怡情,足以傅彩,足以长才。 “怡情” (for delight), “傅彩”(for ornament), “长才”(for ability). And other dictions applied has been thought over such as “练达之士”(expert men) “好学深思者”(those that are learned), “条文”(rules), “学究故态”(humor of a scholar), “导章摘句”(find talk and discourse). Those Chinese words are not vocabularies that can be found in an English-Chinese dictionary, but vocabularies of a real traditional Chinese, which is typical. Nevertheless, Mr Wang wasn't indulged in using adaptation freely, no difficult words are chosen, which can be well understood.

3. Rhetorical devices
a. Parallelism
Parallelism is a commonly used rhetorical device, in which identical or equivalent syntactic constructions in corresponding clauses or phrases are used. From a rhetoric perspective, it can lift the diction level and express meanings in a quick, vivid and concise way. In Of Studies, to avoid repetion of the same sentence patterns, and balance the structure of the whole essay, parallelism and non-parallelism sentences are used alternatively. For example, “Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight, is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment and disposition of business.” Translation: “读书足以怡情,足以傅彩,足以长才。其怡情也,最见于独处幽居之时;其傅彩也,最见于高谈阔论之中;其长才也,最见于处世判事之际。” The example is the beginning of the essay, which catches reader’s attention amazingly. “读书足以怡情,足以傅彩,足以长才”. It is a short sentence with concise words; however, the meaning is not “concise”. It represents the essence of Of Studies, and goes right to the point. “for” translated into “足以” , form a parallel sentence. Mr Wang also verbifies three nouns-----“delight” ,“ornament” ,“ability”--------“怡情”,” 傅彩”,”长才”, which avoid simple repetition and monotony. The translation looks beautiful and sounds wonderful.

b. Omission and repetition
In Of Studies, the parallel structure is used, accompanied by omission which won’t cause misapprehension. In English writing, omission skill is favored by authors by omitting the verb in a sentence when similar sentence structure repetes. On the contrary, in Chinese writing, authors tend to use repetition in parallel structure to emphacize a certain meaning. For example: Histories make men wise; poets witty; the mathematics subtle; natural philosophy deep; moral grave; logic and rhetoric able to contend. Translation: 读史使人明智,读诗使人灵秀,数学使人周密,科学使人深刻,论理学使人庄重,逻辑修辞之学使人善辨:凡有所学,皆成性格。 In the original text, the verb “make” and the noun “man” are omitted after appearing in the first clause of the sentence, which makes the sentence succint. In the translation, “make man” “使人” is repeated in every clause of the sentence. Though Bacon and Mr Wang used different approaches to express the meaning, but the results are excellent. Both the original and the translated are brief and impressive.

c. Analogy
An analogy can be a spoken or textual comparison between two words (or sets of words) to highlight some form of semantic similarity between them. In Of Studies, analogies are used to strengthen philosophical arguments. For example: Some books also may be read by deputy and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books; else distilled books are, like common distilled waters, flashy things. Translation: 书亦可请人代读,取其所作摘要,但只限题材较次或价值不高者,否则书经提炼犹如水经蒸馏,淡而无味矣。 In order to enable readers better understand what “distilled books” is, Bacon make an analogy between “book” and “water”. The process of book distillation is just like water distillation which is more familiar to people. Mr Wang translated the analogy; moreover, to avoid repetition and misunderstanding, “distilled” is translated into “提炼” and “蒸馏”, which is more clear to readers.

4. Conclusion
Mr Wang’s translation Of Studies is undoubtedly brilliant, which can bears close inspection. Every sentence is appropriate, witty, and elegent, attributed to his master of languages, cultural accomplishment and the thorough understanding of Of Studies. He translated with different skills which is worthy of study.

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