Abstract: Chinese parody, as a traditional figure of speech, has captured more and more attention from scholars. The researches conducted up to date are inadequate in theorizing and exploring its translation. This paper, based on the comparative data analysis of Chinese parody translation examples in different types of texts, attempts to probe into the means about how to achieve the closest function equivalence in rendering Chinese parody under the guidance of Sociosemiotic Approach. It is found that the nature of Chinese parody translation is to achieve the closest natural equivalence or similarity in expressive function, informative function, vocative function and aesthetic function in its equivalents in English. And it is suggested that borrowing, imitating, paraphrasing and adapting are effective strategies in translating Chinese parody.
Key words: Chines parody; Sociosemiotic Approach; meaning; function; equivalence
Parody, as a traditional figure of speech, has captured more and more attention from scholars. Studies on parody in the West are mainly conducted from a literary or aesthetic perspective or a non- linguistic perspective. Comparatively, in China, researches mostly approach parody from rhetorical, psychological, cognitive and pragmatic perspectives, which are mainly about the definition, classification, functions, comparative study between parody and other rhetorical devices, and features of parody used in different styles. Nowadays, there are many dead translations or random translations for Chinese parody due to lack of effective theoretical guidance. Sociosemiotic Approach is perceived to be the most holistic perspective by most translation theorists or scholars as a fundamental discipline in encoding and decoding signs, and using it as a vehicle to study translation is not only ideal but practical, because it s relatively all- inclusive in scope(Nida, 1982). Since Chinese parody translation has not been systematically touched upon by scholars with this approach, it is of both theoretical and practical significance to conduct a tentative study about it from this perspective. This paper attempts to probe into the nature of Chinese parody translation from this perspective in order to End out some effective translation strategies, hoping that the findings may be of some help to the improvement of Chinese parody translation.
As this paper is discussing Chinese parody translation under the guidance of Sociosemiotic Approach, it is necessary to give a brief review on this theory before its specific application to the translation of Chinese parody can be touched upon.
Sociosemiotic Approach, based on social linguistics and semiotics, is also called as sociosemiotic-oriented translation principle. It holds that everything in the world can be regarded as a sign. A sign not only includes the combination of signified and signifier, but also covers the user s interpretation in a specific context. Just as Hatim & Mason holds that “there is no inherent association between an object and its interpretant: The link only occurs when it is so intended in some context (Hatim & Mason, 2001: 109). The three constituent elements, namely, the referent, the sign vehicle and the interpretant, form a triangular relationship, and each is in the causal relation with the other. These three elements constitute the semantic triangle just as the following chart shows:
Charles Morris regards a sign as a tripartite entity, consisting of sign vehicle, referent of the sign and interpretant. He has divided semiotics into three branches: semantics, pragmatics and syntactics. Semantics touches upon the relation between the sign vehicle and its referent. Pragmatics touches on the relation between the sign and interpretant. Syntactics refers to the relation between the sign and other signs. Accordingly, linguistic signs contain three kinds of meanings: l)designative meaning, which indicates the relation between the verbal sign and the thing it designates; 2) linguistic meaning, which shows the relation between signs; 3) pragmatic meaning, which reflects the relation between the verbal sign and its interpretant (Li Ming, 1997: 6).Moms’ trichotomy enables the translator to understand not only the literal meaning between the sign and what it designates, but also any possible meanings between the sign and its users, such as associative meaning, affective meaning and social meaning. It indicates that, when dealing with interlingual translation, translators need to convey the meaning of source text as closely as possible to that of target text by taking into account both the linguistic and cultural and contextual as well as social factors.
Chen Hongwei puts forward a far-reaching translation criterion from the sociosemiotic perspective, i. e. correspondence in meaning and similarity in function. This criterion deals with two basic factors, meaning and function. “Correspondence in meaning is correspondence in referential meaning, linguistic meaning and pragmatic meaning; “Similarity in function is similarity in the functions advocated by Peter Newmark, that is, the informative function, expressive function, vocative function, aesthetic function, phatic function, and metalingual function. (Chen Hongwei, 1998: 64-66)
All in all, in the sociosemiotic modal, translation is approached as a cross-cultural, cross-social, and cross-linguistic communicative activity. In this light, the process of translation is perceived as one of establishing functional equivalence between the source text and target text, in order for the latter to be as faithful as possible to the former in both meaning and function.