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Cultural Differences between Chinese and English Idioms & the principles for the Translation of English Idioms By Group 3. Definition. English or Chinese large quantities of idioms features: conciseness and vividness. the cultural element in idioms a difficulty in translation.
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Cultural Differences between Chinese and English Idioms&the principles for the Translation of English IdiomsBy Group 3
English or Chinese large quantities of idioms features: conciseness and vividness
the cultural element in idioms a difficulty in translation
Idioms maintain close ties with people's life and the culture where they are created and used.
As China has a long history of agriculture, a large number of idioms related to agriculture have been in use.
Living on an island, the English are keen on sailing and traveling, the English language abounds in idioms connected with navigation.
B. Differences of customs are multi-sided, of which the most typical one is the attitude towards such animals as the dog, the cat, etc.
Take the dog for example. In China, the dog is of a humble status. Most of the Chinese idioms concerning with dogs are used in a derogatory sense, usually describing wicked persons, though the numbers of pet dogs have increased.
C. Language expresses thoughts, which in turn reflect subjective imagination. Under the influence of distinct cultural customs, each person refers to the same concept in different ways, leading to varied imagination.
D.Religious beliefs produce an impact on people's life and mind, and on the English and Chinese languages as well.
E. There is no lack of idioms alluding to historical events. Such idioms are simply-structured but highly significant. And they cannot be just understood and translated from the literal meaning.
Most of English idioms of historical allusions come from the Bible and Greek and Roman mythologies.
The Principles The Principles for the Translation of English Idioms based on the criteria of faithfulness and smoothness and the characteristics of idioms. We may put forward four principles for the translation of English idioms.
E.g. “to rain cats and dogs” • “下猫下狗”, • This is extremely nonsense to the Chinese reader who can never imagine cats and dogs are falling down from the sky when it rains. Because of its semantic unity, the idiom should be understood as a whole and translated into“大雨倾盆”.
Quite Acceptable • E.g. “She is a fox.” “她是个狐狸”. • This translation undoubtedly transfers both the content and the form of the original.“Fox”or“狐狸”is a symbol of one who is cunning and greedy both in English and Chinese cultures. It can be asserted that this translation is a perfect translation.
nonsense to the Chinese reader, for the Chinese culture does not endow the cat with any associated meaning and the sign “cat” is simply an animal • However, “She is a cat.”“她是只猫”?
The Chinese version offered by a dictionary is often out of context. But when we translate an English idiom, we translate it in certain context as is stated by Peter Newmark (2001:73), “We do not translate isolated words, we translate words all more or less (and sometimes less rather than more, but never not at all) bound by their syntactic, collocational, situational, cultural and individual idiolectal contexts.”