Translation skill—Shift of perspective (II )

Second, it is sentence component shift.

Sentence component shift refers to one component for the English sentence shifts to the other component of the Chinese sentence. The shift of sentence component ranges from subject, predicate, object, attributive, adverbial to complement.

A. You can always tell the somebodies from the nobodies at a cocktail party. The
somebodies come late.在鸡尾酒会上人们常常可以看出大人物和无名小卒来。那些
迟到的就是大人物。(Here the subject shifts to predicative, and the predicate shift to subject)

B. Cheerful, efficient and warm-hearted, they will do everything to make your
journey smooth and comfortable.
他们乐观、能干、热情,总是想方设法使你一路上顺利舒适。 ( Here the adverbial shifts to the predicate )
C. Her presence of mind had not completely deserted her; but she could not have
trusted herself to speak.
她还没有完全失去镇静,一时却又找不出话可说。 ( Here the subject “ her presence of mind ” shifts to the object and the object “ her” shifts to the subject)

Third, expression mode shift.

The differential expressions between English and Chinese results from their distinctive emphasis points. To overcome all these differences and make the translated text be consistent with the customs of the local people, it is necessary for us to transfer this expression mode into the other one.

A. There are some measuring units in English, such as score, dozen, decade, quarter, just to name a few, which there is no respective expression in Chinese, so when translating these measuring units into Chinese, we have to shift them.
Eg: Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand,
signed the Emancipation Proclamation.100 年以前,一位伟大的美国人签署了解放
宣言,我们现在就站在他象征性的庇荫中。 ( Here we have to shift score into twenty years, since there is no respective expression of score in Chinese.)

B. As we know, English native speakers and Chinese always express things from different perspectives, that is these two language speakers always emphasis differently when describing the same thing, so when we are translating, we should pay attention to expression customs of the target language, and we need to make the translated text clear and nature to its readers.
Eg: She has been a widow only for six months.

How do we translate this sentence into Chinese? The source sentence describes the husband’s death from the angle the wife. If we translate it according to the expression of the source sentence, then the translated text would be “她只当了 6 个月的寡妇。”.

When we Chinese see this sentence, we obviously will feel uncomfortable, because it is not accordant to our expression customs. We may even confused that had the wife married another man after her husband just died for half a year. To avoid this confusion, we should shift the English expression mode into Chinese. The correct one is “ 她丈夫死了至今才不过半年。”

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