Discussion
Indeterminacy, multivalence and disjointed translation

Jiang Xiaohua

Abstract

One of the most prominent linguistic features of classical Chinese poetry is syntactic indeterminacy, which brings about multivalence, i.e. multiplicity of connotation, and poses a great problem as well as daunting challenge to Chinese-English translators, for English is basically a language with syntactic determinacy. This paper examines two aspects of indeterminacy involved in classical Chinese poetry, arguing that ‘disjointed translation’ is probably the most inspiring way to cope with Chinese syntactic indeterminacy.

Keywords
Table of contents

We may begin our discussion of indeterminacy by referring to a question, or rather, a puzzle put forward by the famous modern Chinese poet Wen Yiduo (闻一多), also as a translator and translation commentator, while commenting on Shigeyoshi Obata’s (小烟熏良) English translation of Li Bai’s (李白) lines:

Full-text access is restricted to subscribers. Log in to obtain additional credentials. For subscription information see Subscription & Price. Direct PDF access to this article can be purchased through our e-platform.

References

Cluysenaar, Anne
1976Introduction to literary stylistics. London: Batsford.Google Scholar
Coffman, S. K
1951Imagism. New York: Grove Press.Google Scholar
De Beaugrande, Robert
1978Factors in a theory of poetic translating. Amsterdam: Van Gorcum.Google Scholar
Empson, William
1930Seven types of ambiguity. London: Chatto and Windus.Google Scholar
[ p. 345 ]
Friedrich, Paul
1986The language parallax: Linguistic relativism and poetic indeterminacy. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
Gentzler, Edwin
1993Contemporary translation theories. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Gutt, Ernst August
1991Translation and relevance. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
Jenyns, Soame
1940Selections from the three hundred poems of the Tang Dynasty. London: John Murray.Google Scholar
Kenner, Hugh
1971The Pound Era. Berkeley: University of California Press. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Miner, Earl
1985The Japanese tradition in English and American Literature. New York: Hill and Wang.Google Scholar
Nida, Eugene
1993Language, culture, and translating. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press.Google Scholar
Nida, Eugene and de Waard, Jan
1986From one language to another: Functional equivalence in Bible translating. Nelson: Nashville.Google Scholar
Perrine, Lawrence
1963Sound and sense. London: Longman.Google Scholar
Pratt, William
1963The Imagist poem. New York: Hill and Wang.Google Scholar
Seung, Thomas Kaehao
1982Semiotics and thematics in hermeneutics. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
Steiner, George
1975After babel. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Xu, Yuanzhong
1992On Chinese verse in English rhyme. Beijing: Peking University Press.Google Scholar
丁往道
1989《英诗入门:佳作百篇赏析》。 上海: 上海译文出版社。Google Scholar
Ding, Wangdao
1989100 Best English Poems. Shanghai: Shanghai Translation Press.Google Scholar
古苍梧
1987 诗人卞之琳谈诗与翻译。收录于《中国编译》编辑部(编)1987, 《诗词翻译的艺术》 (第97至101页)。 北京: 中国对外翻译出版公司。Google Scholar
Gu, Cangwu
1987 “Bian Zhilin on Poetry and Translation”. Editorial Department of Chinese Translators Journal (ed.). The Art of Poetry Translation. Beijing: China Translation and Publishing Corporation.Google Scholar
胡 壮麟
1994《语篇的衔接与连贯》. 上海: 上海教育出版社.Google Scholar
Hu, Zhuanglin
1994Cohesion and coherence in Text. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press.Google Scholar
翁显良
1981以不切为切。《外国语》 1981年第5期。Google Scholar
Weng, Xianliang
1981 “Fuzziness for Accuracy”. Journal of Foreign Languages 5.Google Scholar
袁 行霈
1987《中国诗歌艺术研究》北京: 北京大学出版社Google Scholar
Yuan, Xingpei
1987An Approach to The Art of Traditional Chinese Poetry. Beijing: Peking University Press.Google Scholar
陈振 濂
1989《空间诗学》上海: 三联书店Google Scholar
Chen, Zhenlian
1989Spatial poetics. Shanghai: Sanlian Shudian Press.Google Scholar
闻一多
1926英译李太白诗。 收录于《中国编译》编辑部(编)1987, 《诗词翻译的艺术》北京: 中国对外翻译出版公司Google Scholar
Wen, Yidou
1926 “An Approach to English Translations of Li Bai’s Poems”. Editorial Department of Chinese Translators Journal (ed.). 1987. The Art of Poetry Translation. Beijing: China Translation and Publishing Corporation.Google Scholar
赵 毅衡
1990《文学符号学》北京: 中国文联出版公司Google Scholar
Zhao, Yiheng
1990Literary Semiotics. Beijing: China Wenlian Publishing Corporation.Google Scholar
[ p. 346 ]