On Localization in Zhang Ruogu’s Tess of the d’Uberville
It is my first try on this blog. What I want to share with all the dear friends is something related to one of my favorite novels, Tess of the d'Ubervilles. It is a famous work of Thomas Hardy, which describes the tragic life of a pure girl, Tess.
Hardy's writing often illustrates the "ache of modernism", and this theme is notable in Tess, which, as one critic noted, portrays "the energy of traditional ways and the strength of the forces that are destroying them". Tess of the d’Urbervilles presents complex pictures of both the importance of social class in nineteenth-century England and the difficulty of defining class in any simple way. With this social background, the language Hardy adopted in the novel deserves our carefull study. Set in rural England, Hardy unfolded a picture of that period by the difference in the language of people from the social classes, such as the dialects of farmers and noble speech of Clares. Language which is innovatively used has the power to recognize mental activities and demonstrate the motif.
Yet, though being a treature in literature, it would be a headache for translators who want their readers to savor the essence of the work thoroughly. Here I highly appreciate Zhang Ruogu' (张若谷) version, which conveys the theme and style of the original by adopting localizationdomestication approach. According to Wikipedia, language localization is the process of translating a product into different languages or adapting a language for a specific country or region. Localization addresses both aspects simultaneously and offers a number of benefits:
- It ensures that the needs of readers with linguistic and cultural differences are met;
- It avoids potential misunderstanding.
- All in all, it is a key element in successful cross-cultural communication.
Zhang boldly translated the dialects in the source text into Chinese dialects. And where there is some elegant languages, there appears elegant translation. His version, in my mind, is a good example of localization or domestication.
Some examples quoted from Zhang's Tess of the u'Dubervilles to illustrate my point are as follows.
原文:On this board,thirsty strangers deposited their cups as they stood in the road and drank,and threw the dregs on the dusty ground to the pattern of Polynesia,and wished they could have a restful seat inside.(Thomas Hardy:Tess of the d’Urbervilles)
原文:No greater misfortune can befall a country than to be governed by an old tyrant.
原文:Hearing Debs was an experience.
赏析:如果说上一译句让我们看见了一个学识渊博的老学究在摇头晃脑地评说历史的话,读了这一句译文,我们看到的是另一种场面:一个求知若渴、激情满怀的青年学子在听了一场演讲后,眉飞色舞地对没有去听演讲的同伴大谈特谈演讲人演讲艺术之高超。译者使用了口语体“可真带劲”来译"was an experience",准确、生动。
原文:Charity begins at home,they say.(Thomas Hardy:Tess of the d’Urbervilles)
原文:"So much for honesty towards’ee!"(Thomas Hardy:Tess of the d’Urbervilles)
原文:Either a flat ’yes’ or a flat ’no’--Go back where you came from.(Isaac Bashevis Singer:Gimpel the Fool)
原文:Its waters,in creeping down these miles of meadow-land,frequently divided,serpentining in purposeless curves,looping themselves around little islands that had no name,returning,and reembodying themselves as a board main stream further on.(Thomas Hardy:Tess of the d’Urbervilles)
To sum up, only with a deep understanding of both two languages' culture and custom can we produce the wonderful work. Localization is a method which can guide us to find a way out, for it promotes the communication between people throughout the world.
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