Volume 65, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0521-9744
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9668
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Research on Goldblatt’s translation of has attracted more attention in recent years after its author Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize for this work. This translation study has addressed the imagery and symbolism in this classic Chinese work, an area that has yet to be investigated with the use of empirical data. The study employed the corpus-based approach, and analysed the translation of images and symbols based on a parallel translation corpus of Chapters 1 and 2 found in the text of . Most important images and symbols are represented by 30 distinct nouns in the novel as successfully translated into English as a result of the translator’s adoption of a literal translation strategy. A more focused examination of a translation of the most prominent key word, sorghum, finds that the translator has faithfully adopted the imagery and symbolism techniques in the source text whenever conveying the images and symbols of sorghum across cultures. Based on the findings, this study argues that images and symbols in the source text may present themselves in the translation of novels if translators adopt a source-oriented translation strategy. Our analyses of the translation of figures of speech, namely similes, personifications and repetitions further highlight the importance of taking concert and literal translation strategies into the realm of literary translation.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Agustia, Tri Sutrisna
    2012 “Three Approaches of Word Meaning of the Figurative Languages Translation”. AL-Ta Lim19 (3): 237–244. 10.15548/jt.v19i3.58
    https://doi.org/10.15548/jt.v19i3.58 [Google Scholar]
  2. Arcos-Garcia, Francisco
    1996 “On Translating Figurative Language from English into Spanish: A Perceptual Problem”; Babel42 (3): 158–165. 10.1075/babel.42.3.04arc
    https://doi.org/10.1075/babel.42.3.04arc [Google Scholar]
  3. Baker, Mona
    1995 “Corpora in Translation Studies: An Overview and Some Suggestions for Future Research”. Target7 (2): 223–243. 10.1075/target.7.2.03bak
    https://doi.org/10.1075/target.7.2.03bak [Google Scholar]
  4. Biber, Douglas; Susan Conrad; and Randi Reppen
    1998Corpus Linguistics: Investigating Language Structure and Use. Cambridge: CUP. 10.1017/CBO9780511804489
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511804489 [Google Scholar]
  5. Boase-Beier, Jean
    2004 “Knowing and Not Knowing: Style, Intention and the Translation of a Holocaust Poem”. Language and Literature13 (1): 25–35. 10.1177/0963947004039485
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0963947004039485 [Google Scholar]
  6. Brown, Stephen J. M.
    1966The World of Imagery; Metaphor and Kindred Imagery. New York: Russell & Russell.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Cheng, Mei; and Bingbing Li
    1997 “Cultural Transplantation and Transformation: Metaphor Translation of a Dream of Red Mansions”. Perspectives: Studies in Translatology5 (2): 227–235. 10.1080/0907676X.1997.9961312
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0907676X.1997.9961312 [Google Scholar]
  8. Cuddon, John Anthony
    1979Symbol and Symbolism. Vol.74. London: André Deutsch.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. De Sutter, Gert; Patrick Goethals; Torsten Leuschner; and Sonia Vandepitte
    2012 “Towards Methodologically More Rigorous Corpus-Based Translation Studies”. Across Languages and Cultures13 (2): 137–143. 10.1556/Acr.13.2012.2.1
    https://doi.org/10.1556/Acr.13.2012.2.1 [Google Scholar]
  10. El Sadda, Hoda
    1992 “Figurative Discourse in Medieval Arabic Criticism: Introduction and Translation”. Journal of Comparative Poetics: 95–109.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Eynon, Terri
    2001 “Metaphor: The Impossible Translation?” British Journal of Psychotherapy17 (3): 353–364. 10.1111/j.1752‑0118.2001.tb00596.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1752-0118.2001.tb00596.x [Google Scholar]
  12. Ge, Liangyan
    2002 “The Mythic Stone in Honglou Meng and an Intertext of Ming-Qing Fiction Criticism”. The Journal of Asian Studies61 (01): 57–82. 10.2307/2700189
    https://doi.org/10.2307/2700189 [Google Scholar]
  13. Gerry, Chris
    2009 “Figurative Resonances between the Translation Work and Short Story Writing of Florbela Espanca”. Revista de LetrasII (8): 271–293.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Ghanooni, Ali Reza
    2014 “A Cross-Cultural Study of Metaphoric Imagery in Shakespeare’s Macbeth”. Translation and Interpreting Studies9 (2): 239–256. 10.1075/tis.9.2.05gha
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tis.9.2.05gha [Google Scholar]
  15. Gibbs, Raymond W.; and Jennifer E. O’Brien
    1990 “Idioms and Mental Imagery: The Metaphorical Motivation for Idiomatic Meaning”. Cognition36 (1): 35–68. 10.1016/0010‑0277(90)90053‑M
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0010-0277(90)90053-M [Google Scholar]
  16. Hermans, Theo
    2014 “Images of Translation”. InThe Manipulation of Literature (Routledge Revivals): Studies in Literary Translation, ed. byTheo Hermans, 103–135. London and Sydney: Croom Helm. 10.4324/9781315759029‑7
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315759029-7 [Google Scholar]
  17. Honeck, Richard P.
    1980Cognition and Figurative Language. Mahwah (NJ): Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Hori, Masahiro
    2004Investigating Dickens’ Style: A Collocational Analysis. Houndmills Basingstok: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/9780230000766
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230000766 [Google Scholar]
  19. Huang, Libo
    2015Style in Translation: A Corpus-Based Perspective. Berlin: Springer. 10.1007/978‑3‑662‑45566‑1_2
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-45566-1_2 [Google Scholar]
  20. Huang, Xin
    2014 “Reading an Incomplete Nobel: Goldblatt’s Translation of Mo Yan’s Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out”. The AALITRA Review9: 42–52.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Janssens, Maddy; José Lambert; and Chris Steyaert
    2004 “Developing Language Strategies for International Companies: The Contribution of Translation Studies”. Journal of World Business39 (4): 414–430. 10.1016/j.jwb.2004.08.006
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jwb.2004.08.006 [Google Scholar]
  22. Jung, Carl G.; and Marie-Luise von Franz
    1964Man and His Symbols. New York: J. G. Ferguson Publishing.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Jurczak, Paul M.
    1997 “The Language and Metaphor of Jean Piaget”. Educational Psychology Review9 (3): 311–318. 10.1023/A:1024795410368
    https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1024795410368 [Google Scholar]
  24. Lassen, Eva Maria
    1992 “Family as Metaphor: Family Images at the Time of the Old Testament and Early Judaism 1”. Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament6 (2): 247–262. 10.1080/09018329208584995
    https://doi.org/10.1080/09018329208584995 [Google Scholar]
  25. Laviosa, Sara
    2002Corpus-Based Translation Studies: Theory, Findings, Applications. Vol.17. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Lefevere, André
    1992Translation, Rewriting, and the Manipulation of Literary Fame. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Littlemore, Jeannette
    2001 “Metaphoric Competence: A Language Learning Strength of Students with a Holistic Cognitive Style?” Tesol Quarterly35 (3): 459–491. 10.2307/3588031
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3588031 [Google Scholar]
  28. Lotfipour-Saedi, Kazem
    1996 “Translation Principles vs. Translator Strategies”. Meta41 (3): 389–392. 10.7202/004015ar
    https://doi.org/10.7202/004015ar [Google Scholar]
  29. Newmark, Peter
    1988A Textbook of Translation. Englewood Cliffs (NJ): Prentice Hall.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Orbach, Michael
    2012 “Behind Nobel Prize Winner Mo Yan, a Jewish Translator”. Tablet Magazine. www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/books/118673/mo-yan-jewish-interpreter
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Parks, Tim
    2014Translating Style: A Literary Approach to Translation-A Translation Approach to Literature. London: Routledge. 10.4324/9781315759791
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315759791 [Google Scholar]
  32. Phillips, Barbara J.
    1997 “Thinking into It: Consumer Interpretation of Complex Advertising Images”. Journal of Advertising26 (2): 77–87. 10.1080/00913367.1997.10673524
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00913367.1997.10673524 [Google Scholar]
  33. Pryluck, Calvin
    1975 “The Film Metaphor: The Use of Language-Based Models in Film Study”. Literature/Film Quarterly3 (2): 117–123.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Riffaterre, Michael
    1985 “Transposing Suppositions: On the Semiotics of Literary Translation”. InTheories of Translation: An Anthology of Essays from Dryden to Derrida, ed. byRainer Schulte; and John Biguenet, 204–217. Chicago (IL): Chicago University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Saldanha, Gabriela
    2011 “Translator Style: Methodological Considerations”. The Translator17 (1): 25–50. 10.1080/13556509.2011.10799478
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13556509.2011.10799478 [Google Scholar]
  36. Sinclair, John McHardy
    2004How to Use Corpora in Language Teaching. Vol.12. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/scl.12
    https://doi.org/10.1075/scl.12 [Google Scholar]
  37. Starcke, Bettina
    2006 “The Phraseology of Jane Austen’s Persuasion: Phraseological Units as Carriers of Meaning’”. ICAME Journal30: 87–104.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Teilanyo, Diri I.
    2007 “Figurative Language in Translation: A Study of JP Clark’s The Ozidi Saga”. Meta52 (2): 309–326. 10.7202/016073ar
    https://doi.org/10.7202/016073ar [Google Scholar]
  39. Vergari, Romina
    2015 “Translation Techniques and Interpretative Phenomena in the Greek Version of the Hebrew Bible: A Study of the Figurative Use of the Noun צֵל ‘Shadow’”. Quaderni Di Linguistica E Studi Orientali1: 179–203.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Wikipedia
  41. Wong, Laurence
    2011 “Translating Shakespeare’s Imagery for the Chinese Audience: With Reference to Hamlet and Its Versions in Chinese and in European Languages”. Babel57 (2): 204–225. 10.1075/babel.57.2.05won
    https://doi.org/10.1075/babel.57.2.05won [Google Scholar]
  42. Yao, Xinyue
    2014 “Developments in the Use of the English Present Perfect: 1750-Present”. Journal of English Linguistics42 (4): 307–329. 10.1177/0075424214549560
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0075424214549560 [Google Scholar]
  43. Zhang, Baohong
    2013 “On Weng Xianliang’s Art of Translating Images in the English Versions of Ancient Chinese Poems”. Translation Quarterly68: 38–67.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Zhang, Mingquan; and Weiqiang Mao
    2009 “On Translating the Poetic Images from Chinese into English”. Asian Social Science5 (6): 40–43. 10.5539/ass.v5n6p40
    https://doi.org/10.5539/ass.v5n6p40 [Google Scholar]
  45. Zhao, Yi-nong
    2004 “Leaving Some Room for Readers’ Imagination – On Imagery Translation”. Language and Translation3: 43–47.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error