On the Performability of Drama Translation: A Case Study of Zhu Shenghao’s and Liang Shiqiu’s Versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

  •  Danrui Li    


Drama translation, as a part of visual art, is more than just textual translation; it is a component of dramatic performance portrayed in the form of verbal action. Lines in drama translation are thus dialogues that render the drama performance rather than descriptive languages that provide information. Translators must use a variety of translation strategies to achieve performability in drama translation. Following Levý’s (2011) translation theory, the paper conducts a contrastive analysis of Zhu Shenghao’s and Liang Shiqiu’s Chinese versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream from the aspects of the acquisition of speakability and intelligibility, restoration of semantic contexts, reflection of verbal action, and achievement of characterisation, exploring how the performability is satisfied in drama translation, and summarising strategies for fulfilling performability in drama translation. It is discovered that Zhu Shenghao (Zhu) insisted on his principles for drama translation, placed emphasis on performability in his translation, and used the following strategies to achieve performability in his translation: using colloquial style language, adjusting the order of sentence segments, reconstructing the syntax, uncovering the indeterminacy for different contexts, using modal particles, using dialects of the target language, and revealing characters’ intentions. However, in order to achieve speakability and intelligibility, Zhu abandoned the stichomythia rhyme, failing to present the verbal action. On the other hand, Liang preserved the stichomythia rhyme, reflecting the verbal action. Furthermore, Zhu replaced the personal pronoun in the original text with notional terms, resulting in the loss of semantic contexts, whereas Liang Shiqiu (Liang) preserved the personal pronoun, restoring the semantic contexts.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4768
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-4776
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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