A rhetorical approach to translation
The Chinese “Report on the Work of the Government” as a case study
Over the past three decades, the Chinese government has repeatedly called for the effective transmission of its policies to the West through translation. Yet the effectiveness of translation and its evaluation has remained a ticklish issue, particularly for texts with a political agenda. Fidelity to literal denotative meaning at the grain of words and phrases is generally insufficient for the translation of such texts. Texts in these sensitive domains of the Chinese context call for exacting fidelity in tone, register, genre, stance, connotation, and, overall, rhetoric. The Chinese government, wishing to avoid misinterpretation, is concerned with sharing their policies with foreigners as closely as possible to the way the many authors of these policies understood them from the inside. In this paper, we think of a “rhetoric” of translation holistically as capturing the “inside contours” of words and phrases as understood by a native speaker. For this purpose, we present a rhetorical approach to translation that can help explain the translation standards of Chinese government documents marked for wide-scale distribution abroad. The approach and method can be applicable in the assessment of other translations when rhetoric or the overall effect is the major concern.
Keywords: corpus-based, rhetorical, approach, translation, assessment
This article is currently available as a sample article.
Published online: 04 December 2017
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