Volume 68, Issue 6
  • ISSN 0521-9744
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9668
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Speakability in drama involves the level of ease with which an individual can coordinate the pronunciation, singing, and emotion of a text. In translations of classical Chinese operas, reproducing the speakability of the original can determine the success of the stage performance of the opera. However, speakability in such translations has not been explored in the literature. Therefore, in this study, we investigated the similarity of the speakability in translations of 惊梦 from 牡丹亭 to that of the original Chinese through a corpus-driven investigation of versions of the opera annotated by Xu Yuanchong and translated by Xu Yuanchong and Xu Ming, Wang Rongpei, and Cyril Birch. We developed a prosodic phonological evaluation system in which duration and pitch were used to compare the source text and target texts by using InterPhonic 5.0 and Praat software. The results indicated that for duration when the context and characterization in the drama are considered, Wang’s translation did not adequately convey emotions. For pitch, the tone ranges of Xu and Xu’s translation fluctuated more drastically, which more effectively conveyed the emotional changes of the original text. Furthermore, the waviness of the pitches in Xu and Xu’s translation was similar to that of the original text. In this study, relative corpora were developed to determine the translated speakability of a Chinese classical opera. Our results may be valuable to translation studies and for the dissemination of traditional Chinese culture.


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