A Study of the English Translations of “Shen Si” in Wen Xin Diao Long

Zhu Defen


This research aims at finding out how we can benefit from comparing Chinese and Western poetics when translating texts of traditional Chinese literary theories into English. We will try to find out, from the perspectives of comparative poetics, the difficulties and solutions in translating traditional Chinese literary theories into English. We will also see how comparative poetics would affect the translating strategies and the readers’ understanding of the translated texts. The paper starts with a comparison and analysis of the four English translations of the “Shen Si” (《神思》) chapter in WXDL. The comparisons and analyses expose problems in translating traditional Chinese literary theories into English, but it also gives us some insights. We find that some characteristics of the text, such as the critical terms, the figurative use of language, and the numerous quotes and illusions, impose lots of challenges to the translating. We also find that a comparative study of Chinese and Western poetics in many ways is helpful to the translation of the texts of traditional Chinese literary theories.


Traditional Chinese Literary Theory, Translation, Comparative Poetics, Western Poetics

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijclts.v.5n.2p.54


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