City University of Hong Kong Dep
Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics
Research Degree Forum
What is Left Unsaid and Untranslated? --translational treatment of implicitness in political/diplomatic discourse with “bu zheteng” as a case example
Mr. ZHANG Junfeng
PhD candidate, Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics, City University of Hong Kong
Date: 9 Dec 2009, Wednesday
Time: 4:30 - 5:30pm
Venue: B7603 (7/F, Blue Zone), Academic Building, CityU
This case study examines “(bu) zheteng” with reference to its different English versions and various discussions about its translation. As a colloquial Chinese phrase used by President Hu Jintao in his speech commemorating the 30th anniversary of China’s reform and open-up policy, it has posed an impasse for the interpreter at a subsequent press conference. The case will be examined in the light of Grammatical Metaphor, a linguistic phenomenon Halliday has theorized in his Systemic Functional Linguistics for resolving the tension between the semantic and lexicogrammatical planes in discourse. After comparing the English versions and possible interpretations of “(bu) zheteng”, the study argues that Grammatical Metaphor plays a dominant role in creating implicitness in political discourse, and that zero translation as a translation strategy in rendering highly sensitive texts can thus be seen as motivated by an intention to retain the semantic implicitness in discourse.
Mr. ZHANG Junfeng is a PhD candidate in the Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics. He is currently working on a pragmatics-informed translational study of implicitness in political and diplomatic discourse.
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