Font Size: a A A

Theories Of Meaning And Their Implications For Translation:From The Perspective Of Anglo-American Philosophy Of Language

Posted on:2017-07-29Degree:DoctorType:Dissertation
Country:ChinaCandidate:X Q YangFull Text:PDF
GTID:1365330488982727Subject:English Language and Literature
Abstract/Summary:PDF Full Text Request
In the seminal paper "The Name and Nature of Translation Studies",also accepted as the founding statement for the field,Holmes outlined two major objectives for this newly-established discipline:(1)to describe the phenomena of translating and translation(s)as they manifest themselves in the world of our experience,and(2)to establish general principles by means of which these phenomena can be explained and predicted.This dissertation intends to use the theories of meaning as the general principles to make a re-interpretation of such questions concerning translatability,equivalence,translation strategies/methods,the standard/nature of translation and the understanding of the original texts.To make a re-interpretation on the way we understand translation theories is also the aim of this dissertation.Philosophy is "the science of science",and the new perspectives it brings us will nourish the "science" of translation.To choose "The Theories of Meaning and Their Implications for Translation:Perspectives of Anglo-American Philosophy of Language" as the topic of my dissertation is an attempt to make an interdisciplinary research.This dissertation attempts to explore the theories of meaning and their implications for translation by means of description,classification,comparison and reasoning.And it is divided into three parts:Introduction,Body and Conclusion.In the introduction,we have introduced the reasons for choosing the topic,the value of such a choice,the current research status,the research methods and the framework of the dissertation.The main body of the dissertation consists of five chapters,in which we have discussed eleven philosophers' views on meaning and their implications for translation.In Chapter 1 "Language,theories of meaning and translation studies",a brief introduction is first given to the philosophy of language,which includes "the linguistic turn" in western philosophy,its scope and characteristics.It then moves on to the main concern of this dissertation——the Anglo-American philosophy of language,and introduces the research trend and representative figures in this field,which functions as the foundation for the classification as well as setting a limit.Lastly,it explores the commonalities between translation studies and the Anglo-American theory of meaning within philosophy.Those commonalities make it possible for us to use the theories in philosophy to explore translation.Those commonalities also contribute to or even decide the classification of the theories of meaning concerning this dissertation.In Chapter 2 "The referential theory of meaning and translation",we explore the theories of meaning put forward by Frege,Quine and Putnam as well as their implications for translation.Frege holds that a sign can be further divided into "sense" and "nominatum" and the sense of a sign decides its nominatum.The sense has two seemingly contradictory features:objectivity and subjectivity.The objective side of the sense makes it possible for us to share the knowledge,while the subjective side of the sense is caused by the image associated with a sign-even with same person the same sense is not always accompanied by the same image.Therefore,the difference between signs may concern three aspects:image;image but not nominatum;nominatum.Based on the above analysis,we draw the following conclusions:1.If the translation does not deviate from the nominatum,it can be accepted as the equivalent translation;2.The objectivity of the sense is the basis of translatability;3.The "indeterminacy" of the images associated with a sign as well as the similarities between the images of different people make it possible as well as impossible for us to translate a poem,and to"copy" the images of the original is an effective way of translating poems.Quine is a meaning skeptic.He thinks that meaning is "indeterminate" because it is associated with the world of experience.Therefore,any ontological commitment is not absolute.The "meaning" exists as a whole,and the unit of understanding "meaning" is the whole system of science.Quine's skepticism about sense not only breaks the myth of there being only one correct translation corresponding to one particular text,but also reminds us that it is the collective body of translation theories that face the court of experience——there is no definite criterion in terms of evaluating a particular theory.Putnam challenges the two traditionally unchallenged assumptions:the knowing of the meaning is just a matter of being in a certain psychological state;the meaning(intension)determines its extension.His hypothesis of the universality of the division of linguistic labor can be used to prove the science of co-translation;and his emphasis on the deciding influence of the environment on the "meaning"makes it clear that not only the original meaning but also the original context should be "transplanted"into the target language.In Chapter 3 " The ideational theory of meaning and translation",we explore the theories of meaning put forward by Grice,Searle and Davidson as well as their implications for translation.Grice distinguishes two types of meaning:the natural meaning and the unnatural meaning.Based on unnatural meaning,he puts forward his theory of Conversational Implicature,in which contains the famous Cooperative Principle.The existence of unnatural meaning "prompts" us to "search" and"catch" the Speaker's Meaning,because it is the "stimulus" of the literary effect.In order to convey the Speaker's Meaning and make the reader get the same artistic experience as the original reader,we should choose the literal translation or the literal translation with notes.Also,the Cooperative Principle can be used as a mode in evaluating the quality of a translated text.Searle attributes"meaning" to intentionality.Restrained by the preintentional Background,each Intentional state can only be the one that it is.Therefore,the process of translation is also the process of tracing and transferring the author's intentionality.To respect the author's intentionality,we may choose to covey his intentionality by means of translating the mode of signification,or to to preserve the "spirit" of the original through rewriting.Davidson focuses on the objective side of the intentionality.In his understanding,"meaning" is always connected with the "truth" in the world of experience.He constructs his truth-condition theory on the basis of Tarski's Convention T.The same "truth" can be expressed by different languages,and sharing the common knowledge of "truth" makes it possible to communicate and translate.Also,the concept of truth conditions provides a more direct,more objective way of interpreting the "faithfulness" in translation.Guided by the Principle of Charity and Holism,the premise on which sharing the "truth" is based,we can truly practice the principle of"linguistic hospitality" advocated by Ricoeur.In Chapter 4 "The use theory of meaning and translation",we explore the theories of meaning put forward by Wittgenstein and Austin as well as their implications for translation.In Philosophical Investigations,Wittgenstein puts forward his concept of "language game".Language is like a game constrained by the rules,and language game is part of the activities of mankind or the complicated form of life,and is characterized by the "family resemblance".The meaning unfolds itself in the language game and the meaning is its use.Transplanting the practice of translation into the"framework" of language game,we should try to understand and interpret the original text in its own form of life,and use the equivalence in use as the standard for judging the equivalence in meaning.Also,the family resemblance acts as an interpretation for the relative not absolute equivalence in translation.Austin attributes meaning to speech acts.Any speech act includes one or more of the following acts:a locutionary act,an illocutionary act,a perlocutionary act.The illocutionary act constitutes the overlapping area of reference,sense,intentionality and "effect",and the meaning in different levels and the illocutionary force are closely interrelated.Inspired by Austin's speech act theory,we put forward two modes which can be used in translation practice.One is the mode of interpretation:"(speech act)means?(speech act)purpose",and the other is the mode of translation:"(speech act)purpose?(speech act)means".We also point out that,the equivalence in illocutionary force not only has the practical value in guiding our translation practice,but also "raises" the traditional views on equivalence to the level of speech act.The influence of this shift of viewpoint is evident and great.In Chapter 5 "The sign theory of meaning and translation",we explore the theories of meaning put forward by Pierce,Morris,Ogden and Richards as well as their implications for translation.According to Pierce,a sign is anything which on the one hand is so determined by an object and on the other hand so determines an idea in a person's mind,and this latter determination or the interpretant of a sign is thereby mediately determined by that object.Therefore,a sign has a triadic relation to its object and to its interpretant,and the exact meaning of a sign is so determined by this triadic relation.The interpretant is created during the process of signifying.Therefore,the meaning of a sign is always in a dynamic process of being created,and the unlimited semiosis will "immortally"live on and on.The preliminary task of the translator is to "locate" the actual object(meaning)that a linguistic sign stands for.The unlimited semiosis offers us an explanation for the relative equivalence.Morris posits that the meaning manifests itself in the unity of three types of relations:signs-signs relation,signs-objects relation and signs-interpreters relation.The three types of relations correspond to three types of meaning:linguistic meaning,referential meaning and pragmatic meaning.With the awareness of three types of meaning co-existing in linguistic signs,we will pay more attention to the transmission of the "three" meanings in the process of translation.Thus the truly equivalent translation consists in the equivalence in these three levels of meaning,i.e.syntactic equivalence,semantic equivalence and pragmatic equivalence.Ogden and Richards holds that only through the medium of "thought" can the relation between a sign and its referent be established.And when using signs,we should follow six Canons,by the aid of which the translator may understand and convey the meaning more accurately.The definitions of "meaning" they present especially those in Group C,lead us to believe that the equivalent translation is the equivalent transfer of the User's meaning and the Interpreter's meaning.And when viewing translation from the semantic triangle,we find that the equivalent translation is actually the equivalent transfer of two types of "signifier".Thus the equivalence in translation consists in the consistency in meaning between the original signifier and the translated signifier.In the process of this transfer,the translator can choose either the literal/free translation,or seek the best translation method between these two extremes.In the Conclusion,we make a summary of the implications for translation brought by the theories of meaning.In one word,the theories of meaning have deepened our understanding of translation.The constant themes in translation studies,such as translatability,equivalence,the standard/nature of translation,translation strategies/methods,have been interpreted from a new perspective;some translation theories have been understood in a new way.The significance of the dissertation is also described briefly in the Conclusion.
Keywords/Search Tags:Anglo-American philosophy of language, theories of meaning, translation studies
PDF Full Text Request
Related items