Translation Errors in the English Version of Tourism Publications jimay
Although many tourism publications have English translations interspersed between passages of Chinese, the quality of these translated texts is not so satisfying. Some postgraduates are often engaged in translating Chinese into English; therefore, as an English teacher, the author thinks it is necessary to discuss the errors in these translation works so as to develop good English taste among students. As for the errors in translation, there are linguistic errors and pragmatic errors. Linguistic errors, violating the language rule of English, cover such errors as spelling mistakes, subject-verb disagreements and so on. Linguistic errors are usually caused by the translator’s linguistic incompetence. In addition, each text is not purely a linguistic phenomenon, but “must be seen in terms of communication function, as a unit embedded in a given situation, and as part of a broader socio-cultural background” (Hornby, 2001,69). Since translation is regarded as an activity of intercultural communication, if the translator ignores the shift of the social and cultural situations, the transfer of pragmatic rules from his native language to the target language will lead to various pragmatic failures or errors during the inter-cultural communication. Therefore, pragmatic transfer is the main cause of pragmatic failures or errors, which can be classified into two categories: pragmalinguistic failure and sociopragmatic failure. Different from linguistic errors, the pragmatic failure or error conforms to the language rule and can be detected only in the context. In translation, pragmatic failures or errors are usually attributed to the ignorance of the translator toward the intentions of the source text sender and expectations and conventions of the target readers. Translation errors occur when a particular expression becomes inadequate with regard to the communicative function it is supposed to achieve. As to the English version of tourism publications, the translation errors can be classified into three categories: linguistic translation errors, pragmatic translation errors and cultural translation errors. 1. Linguistic Errors
A glance at the English versions of these beautifully printed tourism publications will surely make you shocked by the numerous linguistic errors in them. Here the linguistic errors refer to no more than the lexical and grammatical errors, including misspelled words, inappropriate punctuation marks, misused words, and ill-constructed sentences as well, which are easy to be spotted. Lexical errors cover spelling mistakes, inappropriate punctuation marks, misused words and words collocations. Lexical errors are due to translator’s carelessness and ignorance; therefore they can be reduced without any difficulties. Grammatical errors cover the ill-structured sentences and all the other syntax structures that fail to function properly, such as subject-verb agreement errors, noun morphology errors, and verb-morphology errors etc. An ungrammatical sentence will cost readers more time to identify than a lexical error. At the same time, grammar mistakes always result in the unreadability of the text. Unfortunately, grammatical errors can be frequently seen in the English version of tourism publications, as displayed in the following short paragraph: Example 1
Forest resources is rich there with 120-odd plants, 600-odd herbs, hence a natural botanical gardens. Spread over hills everywhere, ever-green; In early spring is yellow; In may like snow is white; In late autumn is red; Like graceful maiden in summer is five-leaved chaste tree; In winter is red fruits. It is shocking that the short paragraph suffers so many mistakes that it completely lost readability. The first sentence violates the subject-verb agreement rule with the plural subject “resources” and the singular verb “is”. In addition, in common...
References: Baker, Mona. 1998. Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. London: Routledge.
Bassnet, Susan. 1988. Translation Studies. London: Routledge.
Nord, Christiane. 1991. Text Analysis in Translation. Amsterdam-Atlanta: Rodopi.
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