A Typological Approach to Translation of English and Chinese Motion Events

Yu Deng, Huifang Chen


English and Chinese are satellite-framed languages in which Manner is usually incorporated with Motion in the verb and Path is denoted by the satellite. Based on Talmy’s theory of motion event and typology, the research probes into translation of English and Chinese motion events and finds that: (1) Translation of motion events in English and Chinese is a re-lexicalization process; (2) For translation of Path, English-Chinese translators can usually convert Path verbs in English into Path satellites in Chinese and vice versa for Chinese-English translation. Translation of continuous and complex Path is a lexical conversion between pattern [Motion] + [Path1+ Path2…Pathn] in English and pattern [Motion1 + Path1] + [Motion2 + Path2] +… [Motionn + Pathn] in Chinese; (3) For translation of Manner, Chinese-English translation tends to replace the structure of [Chinese adverbial + Motion verb] with the corresponding Manner-conflating verb in English, while English-Chinese translation has to add adverbial to the Chinese verb or use general Chinese Manner verbs to encode the specific Manner verbs in English; (4) Different narrative styles and conceptualization of time and space in both languages should be taken into consideration in translation of English and Chinese motion events.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/elt.v5n8p70

English Language Teaching       ISSN 1916-4742 (Print)   ISSN  1916-4750 (Online)

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