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A Corpus-Based Study of Nominalization in Translations of Chinese Literary Prose

Three Versions of "Dream of the Red Chamber</I>


Yu Hou

This corpus-based study investigates the use of nominalization in English translations of Chinese literary prose through the analysis of three English versions of the Chinese novel Hong Lou Meng ( Dream of the Red Chamber).
Previous studies have explored the relevance of the cultural and linguistic positioning of different translators, but thus far no corpus-based study of nominalization has been undertaken in relation to translator style. This book uses quantitative and qualitative analyses of the nominalized transform of finite verbal forms in three Chinese-to-English translations to distinguish between translator styles, concluding that nominalization is a key identifier in translations.
This book provides a comprehensive picture of the use of nominalization in English translations of Chinese literary prose and, more generally, encourages further study into nominalization in translation.
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Chapter 1: Introduction




The present study sets out to make a corpus-based, linguistic, descriptive and explanatory investigation of nominalization in English translations of Chinese literary prose (mainly based on three complete English versions of the eighteenth-century Chinese 120-chapter novel Hong Lou Meng (红楼梦, literally translated as Red Chamber Dream) (to be abbreviated as HLM hereinafter). The study chooses to follow Lees (1963) in defining English nominalization as a nominalized transform of a finite verbal form and focus on three categories of the NOM as a representative of the process of nominalization (i.e. Gerundive NOM, Derived NOM, and Zero-derived NOM). This study regards nominalization as one of the manifestations of implicitation in translation.

1.1 Research rationale

Since the 1990s, translation scholars have embarked on using techniques and tools of corpus linguistics to investigate translation, thus gradually ushering translation studies into a corpus-based era. One of the most prominent contributions corpus-based translation studies has made so far is the research of what Vanderauwera (1985) initially identified as ‘translation universals’. Translation universals are linguistic ‘features which typically occur in translated text[s] rather than original utterances and which are not the result of interference from specific linguistic systems’ (Baker 1993: 243). As a potential candidate for the status of translation universal, explicitation is claimed as ‘one of the most thoroughly studied phenomena in translation studies’ (Perego ← 1 | 2 → 2003: 68; Gumul 2006: 171). It is defined as ‘a stylistic technique which consists of making explicit in...

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