Luận văn Tương đương trong cách dịch các từ có yếu tổ văn hóa trong cuốn sách “wandering through vietnamese culture” của Hữu Ngọc



1. Rationale 1

2. Scope of the study 1

3. Aims of the study 2

4. Methodology 2

5. Design of the study 3

Chapter 1: Theoretical background 4

1.1. Translation theory 4

1.1.1. Definition of translation 4

1.1.2. Translation equivalence 4 The nature of equivalence in translation 5 Types of equivalence in translation 5

1.1.3. Common problems of non-equivalence 7

1.2. Notion of culture in translation 9

1.3. Cultural categories 10

1.4. Translation methods 11

1.5. Conclusion 13

Chapter 2: Vietnamese cultural words and their equivalences 14

2.1. The most common types of cultural words 14

2.2. The most common types of equivalence 14

2.2.1. Nil equivalence: 16

2.2.2 Other types of equivalence 25 One-to-part-of one equivalence 25 One-to-one equivalence 31





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seen that the above approaches are not very much different from what Venuti (1995:20) named “source language oriented and target language-oriented” translation approach, which may share some similarities with Newmark’s ( 1988: 145) methods of translation as follows: SL emphasis TL emphasis Word – for - word translation Adaptation Literal translation Free translation Faithful translation Idiomatic translation Semantic translation Communicative translation Word-for-word translation This method focuses on SL word order in which words are translated by most common meaning and out of context. Therefore, the results of this method are that the translation is read like original text. Literal translation The SL text, concretely its grammatical constructions are converted to their nearest equivalents. In this method, words are translated single and out of text. Faithful translation Where the translator reproduces precise contextual meaning. Here, cultural words are not translated. Semantic translation More account is taken on aesthetic value of the SL text and some small concessions are made to the readers. As a result, the translation is more flexible and less dogmatic than the application of other methods in the group Communicative translation This method attempts to produce on its readers an effect as close as possible to that obtained on the readers of the original. However, according to Peter Newmark (1988), there are only two methods of translation that are appropriate to any texts. They are as follows. 1) Communicative translation In this method, translators try to produce the same effect on the TL readers as the original does on the SL readers 2) Semantic translation Translators attempt to reproduce the exact contextual meaning of the author with the constraints of the TL grammatical structures. Adaptation This is the ‘freest’ form of translation. It is used mainly for plays (comedies) and poetry; the themes, characters, plots are usually preserved, the SL culture converted to the TL culture and the text rewritten. The deplorable practice of having a play or poem literally translated and then rewritten by an established dramatist or poet has produced many poor adaptations have ‘rescued’ period plays. Free translation Free translation reproduces the matter without the manner, or the content without the form of the original. Usually it is a paraphrase much longer than the original, a so-called ‘intralingual translation’, often prolix and pretentious, and not translation at all. Idiomatic translation Idiomatic translation reproduces the ‘message’ of the original but tends to distort nuances of meaning by preferring colloquialisms and idioms where these do not exist in the original. (Authorities as diverse as Seleskovitch and Stuart Gilbert tend to this form of likely, ‘natural’ translation.) 1.5. Conclusion This part of study has just examined general translation theories. It also takes a close look on the significance of culture and the translation of cultural words. Furthermore, a variety of different approaches have been examined in an attempt to shed light on Huu Ngoc translation of cultural words in the next chapter. Chapter 2: Vietnamese cultural words and their equivalences 2.1. The most common types of cultural words In his classification of culture words, Newmark (1998) concluded five major categories of culture words including ecology, material culture (artifacts), social culture – work and leisure, organisations, customs, ideas and gestures and habits. In Huu Ngoc’s book, the frequency of material culture, and to be more specific, food is the highest as compared to other types. The ratio among them can be illustrated in the chart as follows: Culture-related words Quantity Rate (%) Food and drinks 135 45.9% Others 160 54.1% 2.2. The most common types of equivalence As mentioned above, there are many approaches to the classification of equivalence in translation. This thesis adopts Munday (2001)’s perspective of quantitative equivalence which is consisted of one-to-one equivalence, many- to- one equivalence, one-to-part-of-one equivalence and nil equivalence. We can hardly find the case of one-to- many equivalence. Therefore, this kind of equivalence is not taken into consideration. The writer of the thesis has listed almost all the cultural words occurred in his book and put them into the order of the most common types of equivalence to the least common one. The data can be easily find in the table below: Type of equivalence Quantity Rate (%) Examples Nil 194 66 Nước vối: “voi tea” One-to-part-of-one 39 13 Cá kho: fish cooked with sauce One-to-one 43 14.6 Miếng trầu: a betel chew Many-to-one 19 6.4 Đền, miếu, phủ: temple Total 295 2.2.1. Nil equivalence: Looking into the translation of “Wandering through Vietnamese culture”, one can easily see on the chart above that nil-equivalence makes up the largest part, consisting 66%. Clearly, This is not a surprise to any translator who have ever stepped into the translation land of culture related words. There are some explanations for this biggest share. The possible explanation is the availability. Normally, with exactly the same meaning, no one can say for sure that two cultures could choose to express it the same way. For example, , Vietnamese people would prefer using the buffalo in many idioms “Ngưu tầm ngưu, mã tầm mã” but the English would like to use “bird” as in “Birds of the same feather flocks together”. One other example may be “hiền như củ khoai”, “hiền như bụt” or “hiền như cục đất” for Vietnamese people but their English counter part would like to say “as mild as a lamb” (hiền như một chú cừu non). That is the case when two cultures express the same meaning. As a consequence, one can easily guess what the situation will be like when there are abundant of things in Source Language (SL) culture but there is no such things Target Language (TL) culture. The first problem occurs when the Vietnamese word may express a concept which is totally unknown in the target language culture. To be more exact, those words often link to food and many kinds of tropical herbs and plants. For instances: Tía tô Hoa đơn Cải cúc Hẹ Hoa thị Mùi hoặc Ngổ Húng Hoa mộc Lá khúc Ngổ Hoa thiên lý Diếp cá Lá chanh Hoa ngâu Gạo tẻ, gạo nếp The explanation to this situation may be the climate differences. Vietnamese climate is hot and humid which is home to many tropical kinds of plants while the English climate is cold and dry, which may be suitable to totally different kinds of plants. Therefore, it can be easily understood while there are a lot of tropical plant culture-related words in his book which may not be known to English readers. This may also be the reason for the second group of non-equivalence which is dishes. Different kinds of vegetables / herbs may lead to different ways of cooking, which leads to the existence of exotic Vietnamese dishes to Englishman. For examples: Xôi gấc Thịt kho tàu Cua đồng nấu thiên lý Xôi vò Gà tần thuốc bắc Miến lươn Xôi đỗ Chả lươn Giả cày Living on land, Vietnamese (and Chinese) peasants also have their own festivals, customs or ceremonies relating to land, rice or grains, trees with special attention paid to the weather, especially rain. For instances: Lễ cầu đảo (cầu mưa) Lập Xuân Tết Đoan Ngọ (diệt sâu bọ) Tết Hàn Thực Cốc Vũ Dựng cây nêu ngày tết Tết Trung Thu Tết Ông Công Ông Táo Đi hái lộc Additionally, the traditional games and entertainments of the Vietnamese are also various: Trồng Nụ, Trồng Hoa Ô ăn quan Đánh thẻ Múa khèn Múa sư tử Múa chiêng Those mentioned categories are like only the tip of the Vietnamese culture iceberg which can be roughly listed as illustrations for the diversity of the source language culture. Clearly, this poses a huge challenge to the translator and the writer. So that will happen if the translator has to face with the translation of culture-related concepts? Looking into the translation of those nil-equivalents words, one can clearly see that the first common translation tool that is fully made use of is borrowings. First of all, looking at the group of typically tropical plants and vegetables, Huu Ngoc uses the third language, that is, Latin as a medium for translation. He tends to use the scientific terms of the plants to translate the Vietnamese words. For instances: Cây sấu : dracontomelum duppereanum Pierre Gạo tẻ : Oryza sativa Lin var dura Gạo nếp : Oryzasativa Lin glutinosa Hoa sói : Eugenia Hoa ngâu : Algaria Hoa đơn, hoa mộc : Apotasis Hoa thiên lý : pergularia odoratissimasm However, it can hardly be denied that Latin-original words can make the text difficult to understand because not all common English readers can know all the Latin words or have an available dictionary of plants and vegetables to check all the words up when necessary. One more thing is that a common reader may find it uninteresting to read a culture books with full of Latin original words. Huu Ngoc seems to understand this fact when he accompanying each Latin word with the specific description or use of each type. For instance: Cà cuống: lethocerus indicus belostomalidae, an insect the size of cicada which gives an aromatic meat and essence Back translation: Cà cuống: lethocerus indicus belostomalidae, một loài côn trùng cỡ như con ve, thịt và tinh dầu làm gia vị (my translation-Bach Anh Hong (BAH)) Quả thị: The fruit of the cây thị is found in countries with warm climates and grows fleshy, light yellow, aromatic fruits the size of oranges. Its scientific name is diospyros decandra lour and it belongs to the ebancea family, whose generic name in Vietnmamese is hồng (khaki). (p288) Back translation: Quả thị: Quả của cây thị, thường có ở các nước có khí hậu ấm áp, thịt mọng, màu vàng nhạt, là loại quả tỏa mùi hương có cỡ bằng quả cam. Tên khoa học là diospyros decandra lour, thuộc họ ebancea có tên Việt Nam thường gọi là hồng. After translating the word with the Latin-original equivalence, together with some description, the Vietnamese word is then used as a common English word. That is, the author of the book has loaned the original words as the equivalence like in: Ornamental flowers are orchids, camellias, chrysanthemums, sói, mộc, dahlia, peony…(p 291) Many Vietnamese words have been rendered in the translation effectively. In those cases, there is no other language that has such words to be used as the third medium: Nước vối : “voi tea” Chuối tiêu : bananas of the kind called “tieu” Múa khèn : khen dance Múa Hát : Hat dance Lúa chiêm : rice of the Chăm The second effective tool is communicative methods or to be more specifically, the free translation or paraphrasing. However, not all the words are paraphrased in the same way. With dish-related group, each word is translated by the description of how the dish is cooked: Source Language Target Language Back Translation Bánh cuốn steamed rice roll Cuốn gạo hấp Nem chua minced and fermented pork Thịt lợn xay rồi để lên men Giò boiled pork paste Thịt lợn xay luộc Chả sautéed pork paste Thịt lợn xay rán But the biggest group is translated by the detailed description of how the food is cooked plus its ingredients: Source Language Target Language Back Translation Bún chả grilled pork eaten with vermicelli Thịt lợn nướng ăn kèm bún Phở sốt vang rice noodles severed with beef stewed and flavored with wine Phở ăn với thịt bò hầm rượu vang Lươn om củ chuối eel cooked over a slow fire with pieces of banana rhizome Lươn nấu trên lửa nhỏ với những miếng củ chuối. In many other cases, the purpose of the things is used for paraphrasing: Source Language Target Language Back Translation Thuốc lào home – grown tobacco for the water bubble pipe Thuốc lá nhà tự trồng dùng cho ống điếu nước Giấy bản absorbent paper to write ideograms on with a brush pen Giấy thấm mực dùng để viết chữ tượng hình bằng chổi lông Giấy lệnh paper for the royal ordinances Giấy dùng để viết các lệnh của nhà vua With the culture word relating to festivals, customs or ceremony, the author describe in detail how the process is preceded as the translation: Hái lộc: people pick a twig from a tree growing on the pagoda’s grounds which they believe will bring them prosperity Back translation: Hái lộc: mọi người bẻ một nhánh từ cây trồng trong sân chùa với niền tin rằng nhánh cây sẽ đem lại sự thịnh vượng cho họ Đoan Ngọ: an occasion to “kill insects” on a person’s system by eating and drinking, right at the drawn, anything which is better or sour : glutinous rice alcohol, green fruits (peach, plum, mango, star fruit…) and other foods like the watermelons, coconut milks … Back translation: Đoan Ngọ: một dịp để “diệt côn trùng” trong cơ thể người bằng cách ăn và uống, ngay vào lúc sáng sớm, bất cứ thứ gì ngon hoặc chua: rượu nếp, hoa quả còn xanh (đào, mận, xòai, khế…) và các thức khác như dưa hấu, nước dừa… The shape and appearance of things also proves its use when being rendered in translation: Source Language Target Language Back Translation Nhà sàn house on stilts Nhà trên các trụ Bánh dẻo moon shaped cake Bánh giống hình mặt trăng Bánh chưng square cake Bánh vuông Literal translation is ultilized in many cases to deal with the culture-words that are totally dissimilar to the target language readers. Some illustrations are: Source Language Target Language Back Translation Hoa đá literally, rock flower = coral Nghĩa đen, hoa đá = san hô Hoa tai literally, flower of the ear = pendant Nghĩa đen, hoa của tai = khuyên tai Mặt hoa literally, blossoming face – lovely face of a woman Nghĩa đen, mặt như hoa nở- khuôn mặt đáng yêu của phụ nữ Số đào hoa literally, born under the star of a peach flower = to be chased after by women Nghĩa đen, được sinh ra dưới ngôi sao hoa đào = thường bị những người phụ nữ đẹp theo đuổi The final way of paraphrasing that Huu Ngoc used is to explain in detail the difficult to understand part of the word to the commonly understandable ones. For instances, “lúa chiêm” and “lúa mùa” or “ông đầu rau” are often heard but many Vietnamese youngsters do not understand exactly the meaning of the words. When reading the translations, the Vietnamese young readers could understand the words more, and hopefully they can do the same to English readers. Followings are some common cases: Source Language Target Language Back Translation Lúa chiêm Summer rice Lúa mùa hè Lúa mùa Autum rice Lúa mùa thu Ông đầu rau The gentlemen bearing pots Ông đội nồi In general, Huu Ngoc has successfully cracked the hard culture word nuts by paraphrasing together with borrowings both from scientific names and the source language culture words. However, in some minor cases the translated version is not the best one. This is, in part, caused by the inappropriate use of the word. In many cases, the source language word is lexicalized in the target language word but is not rendered in the translation. For instance “cà dái dê” was translated as “testicles of billy goats, thus named perhaps because of its colour and shape”. Reading the translation, no one can say for sure that the English readers could understand that it is the exact “eggplant” in their country. The same case may be true for “the drawing orange trees” (cây cam nhỏ). Obviously, had the “quat” transferred into “kumquat”, many target-language readers would not have spent time imagining what kind of trees the translation refers to. One more case that would need further discussion is “convolvulus” (336:2006) in “the convolvulus rau muống is well liked vegetable, especially in summer when the weather is hot and oppressive and people suffer from constant thirst”. If a reader understands both English and Vietnamese, he will understand “convolvulus” as “rau muống”. But if he does not understand Vietnamese and checks it up in the “Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary”, he would find the definition of the words as “a wild plant with triangular leaves and flowers that are shaped like trumpets. It climbs up walls and fences, etc, twists itself around other plants (336:2005)”. Our Vietnamese scholars translated the definition in“ Từ Điển Anh-Việt” (p347:1999) as “loại cây thân quấn, có hoa hình loa kèn; cây bìm bìm”. A Vietnamese would be fully aware of the kind of “bìm bìm” that often climbs up walls and fences, which is not eatable and their common “rau muống”. More suitably, the word should be translated as “morning-glory” which is more common to the target language reader. Additionally, “morning-glory” means “bìm bìm hoa tím” in Vietnamese which is exactly the other name of “rau muống”. Another thing in the translation of culture words is that the translations of the same words are not consistent from the beginning to the end of the book. For example: “This time the man’s family would be required to bring area nuts and betel leaves, tea, pork, glutinous rice and an equal number of glutinous rice cake (bánh dày) and square cake (bánh chưng) (404:2006). But in the “New-life” weeding (411:2006), one can read “For the engagement ceremony alone, the bride’s family would demand for each member of the clan and each friend a gift consisting of one “bánh chưng” (square cake) or “bánh dày” (round cake). The same case happens with nem (spring roll) and “… one roll of nem (pork pie)” (411:2006). One more illustration could be “rau muống”. In P.334, he translated: “Trời còn đây, đất còn đây, còn ao rau muống còn đầy chum tương” - “as long as heaven and earth remain I will have my pond of water cress and my jar of soya sauce”. However, in the next page 335, another very interesting text is dedicated to “convolvulus and aubergine” with the translation of: “Anh đi anh nhớ quê nhà Nhớ canh rau muống nhớ cà dầm tương” as: “Far from home I think of my native hamlet Of the bowl of boiled convolvulus Of the aubergine bathed in soya sauce” It is strongly doubtful that a foreigner could think “round cake” and “glutimous rice cake” refer to the same thing or one may say the same situation of nước mắm (fish sauce and fish brine); chả (kebab and grilled pork); phở tái (noodles servered with parboiled or scalded beef and noodles soup with half done beef). One more inappropriateness, to the best of my understanding, is the translation of norminal group. There are common words that have been frequently used and turned into proper nouns such as name be transferred but the nominal sense of the words is not. For instance, “Lễ xem mặt” is translated into “Looking at the face” as in: “The first would be an introduction ceremony called Lễ xem mặt (Looking at the face)” conducted after the match-maker has got the agreement of the fiancee’s family. The man’s family would make a visit, bringing gifts of tea and area nuts, and the two young people would be allowed to have a bring look at each other.” (p404) “Lễ đưa dâu” (Sending off for the Bride) would take place the following day, with the two family in a lavish meal” (P 405). “Lễ đưa dâu” is not fully translated as only the name is translated, not the way the ceremony is conducted. Treated as a noun, Vietnamese people would prefer to use “dự lễ đưa dâu” not “tôi đưa dâu”. The same would happen to “lễ xem mặt”. In conclusion, the first part of this chapter has found out that the most common types of equivalences the translation of the culture-related word is nil-equivalence. The major reason for this largest part is that the source language concept is unknown to the target language readers. Those non-equivalences are mainly attributed to the differences in plants, dishes, traditional customs or ceremony of festivals. The writer of the book has successfully made full use of free translation method in dealing with the non-equivalence. He also borrows word from a third language to translate the culture-related word, it is Latin. However, there still remains some minor inappropriateness such as the inconsistency in translating the same words, the misuse of some lexical items and the translation of nominal group. 2.2.2 Other types of equivalence In the second part of the chapter, the writer of this thesis would set the aim to look into less common types of equivalence found in the book. Those are: one-to-part-of-one and many-to-one equivalence. One-to-part-of one equivalence Stepping into the land of one to part of one equivalence, which happens when a English expression could only covers part of a concept designated by a single Vietnamese expression. Those are the cases of “Tam cuc” when translated as “card games” or “cá kho” as “fish cooked with sauce” or “rồng rắn lên mây” as “dragon snake game”. Source Language Target Language Back translation Tam cúc Card games Chơi bài Cá kho Fish cooked with sauce Cá nấu với nước mắm Rồng rắn lên mây Dragon snake game Trò chơi rồng rắn Clearly, the back translated version has partly helped us to see the cultural gaps between the SL and TL. Mentioning “card games”, westerners could refer immediately to bridge, poker and whist as in: “Bridge, pocker and whish are card-games” (Brit, tú lơ khơ và uýt là các trò chơi bài) (English- Vietnamese Dictionary, p228: 1999). The use of “card games” in: “A festival always includes worshipping rituals followed by a procession of palanquins and a wide variety of games and entertainments such as performances by the local folk music ban, water puppetry, card games, oriental chess in which the pieces are young men and women...”(P224) may misunderstand the western readers that Vietnamese peasants also play bridge, poker and whist in traditional Vietnamese festival. In my opinion, I would like to suggest that the word “tam cúc” or any other similarly traditional kind should be translated as “Vietnamese traditional card game” (chơi bài truyền thống của người Việt Nam). This could help make a clear distinction between the westerner’s card games and ours. Obviously, a source-language word “does not have to be morphologically complex to be semantically complex” (Bolinger and Sears, 1968). Sometimes, there is a target language word which has the same proportional meaning as the source language word but it may have a different expressive meaning. Take “rồng” in Vietnamese and “dragon” in English as examples. The Vietnamese dragon is created by different small parts of many different animals: “mình rắn, vẩy cá chép, mắt quỷ, sừng nai, tai thú, trán lạc đà, chân cá sấu, móng chim ưng” (Dương Kỳ Đức, 2001) (snake body, calf scale, devil eyes, deer stark, mammal ears, camel forehead, crocodile legs and hawk claws). Vietnamese people considered themselves children of Father Dragon and Mother Fairy. The appearance of the dragon is often accompanied with images of clouds which can bring about water - the most important factor for agriculture (nhất nước, nhì phân, tam cần, tứ giống – water is the most important factor, then comes fertilizer, industriousness and breeds). “Obviously, it is reasonable for people living in agriculture” (Dương Kỳ Đức, 2001). That may be the reason why they rank dragon the first place in many lists. Dragon is put a first place in list of four worshipped animals: “dragon, lion, tortoise, and phoenix”. Dragon symbolizes the king images in the eyes of common people. King’s throne is named dragon’s throne (long ngai); king’s palace is dragon’s place, likewise, king’s bed is known as dragon’s bed (long sàng). Dragon image is also associated with that of a noble, superior man which is in contrast with the common, inferior ones: “Trứng rồng lại nở ra rồng, liu điu lại nở ra dòng liu điu” (a dragon will be hatched from a dragon’s egg while a snake can only give birth to a snake-noble- men are of noble origin and superior to that of common one); “Rồng đến nhà tôm” (A dragon visits a shrimp’s house- a superior man visit an inferior one’s home). In a Vietnamese’s mind, dragon always has a positive image. It symbolizes the best things namely: power, nobility. On the contrary, the image of dragon appears in English proverbs and idioms is negative one. Vietnamese dragon itself is a flying image without any wings while its English one breathes out fire. In an Englishman’s mind, dragon is “a mythological monster, usually with wings and able to breath out fire” (Little Oxford Dictionary, 2000, p145). Another meaning of the words is “a fierce person” as in an example “we are really frightened of the math teacher, she was real dragon”. The idioms “to chase the dragon” means “to take a drugs”. However, Huu Ngoc, as a Vietnamese writer, rather prefer to use the image of dragon in the writing: He called Đồng Văn and Mèo Vạc “the head of the dragon”; Cà Mau “the tail of the Vietnamese dragon”; Thăng Long the “soaring dragon” and translated “rồng rắn lên mây” as “dragon snake game”. Taking what the common image o

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