关键词：汉语 网络流行语 翻译 文化因素
As the development of technology information, Internet becomes an important part of the people’s life and work. The easy online communication promotes the net catchwords to enter the people’s daily life. That dramatically enriches the Chinese vocabulary. Besides, the Chinese net catchwords provide new practical area for translation research. Culture factors also play important roles in its translation.
This thesis firstly introduces the definition and features of the Chinese net catchwords, and then chooses typical Chinese net catchwords for classification and research. The translation principles are explored and the culture factors’ influences are also be summarized.
The thesis includes four parts. The first part is the introduction. The second part introduces the definition, classification and linguistic features of the net catchwords. The third part analyses the strategies applied to Chinese Net Catchwords Translation
and culture factors influence on it. The fourth part is the conclusion of this study.
Key words: Chinese, net catchwords, translation, culture factors
With the rapid development of the economy and global society, technology information pushes the updated changes nearly in every aspect of life. As a result, Internet is becoming a common tool in daily life. Due to the convenient, fast, informative features of information development, Internet gradually become the necessities of people’s lives. Logging on line becomes part of the daily work, especially the young. The Internet connects people together for freely chatting and convenient contacts. People used to surfer in the forum and chat room with the net friends around the world. As the Internet developing, Chinese net catchwords gradually become an essential part of our everyday words. The distinctive network language is gradually formed and it is also more featured than traditional language. The appearance of popular net catchwords greatly enriched the original Chinese lexicon. These emerging net catchwords also provides new practice fields for the translation researchers.
Chinese net catchwords can be regarded as an influential word group in that it is an important part of the Chinese network language. Since Chinese net is always influenced by the times and quickly reacts to the features of the times, the appearance of Chinese net catchwords often relates with the social significant events. As a result, Chinese network catchwords translation is already beyond the linguistic level. Its translation is also the admission for the emergence of new Chinese net catchwords. The Chinese net catchwords carry with the features of the times and with distinctive Chinese culture.
In light of the importance of the Chinese network catchwords translation, more attention from the international and domestic scholars are attracted for applying researches on them. Li Qi makes a general introduction on the translation of net catchwords, classifying the corresponding translation strategies for doing better translation.① Wang Xiaohan studies the word formation and translation skills of Chinese and English cyber-neologoism in her thesis. She makes a good exploration in the area of neologoism and summarizes some translation skills for the further translation practice.②
However, many translators and researchers still stay in the stage of commenting their translation achievements and emphasize on the studies of the translation techniques when they practice the actual Chinese net catchwords’ translation. Usually, in their studies, such as the above theses, some translation strategies such as literal translation, free translation and creative translation are classified, summarized and applied. But most of the times, it is still insufficient to explain the influential factors toward the net catchwords’ translation. In this thesis, the author reviews large number of previous studies and finds out that culture factors are important factors for affecting the translation quality. As a result, culture factors will be researched in this study for their dramatically impacts on Chinese net catchwords translation.
Many researchers have made contribution to the culture roles in the studies of Chinese net catchwords’ translation. Zou Yanping researches network catchwords from the perspective of cross-culture. She states that the cultural differences prevail over cultural similarities. As a result, the translation strategies mainly depend on domestication and supplemented by foreignization.③ Yang Li studies how the culture factors affect the Chinese network buzzwords, providing important researching materials for exploring the importance of culture factors.④
Based on the previous studies, this thesis does not only focus on the translation strategies. It will also emphasize the importance of the culture factors, and then develop the dynamic and creative language of network catchwords. Preferential translation strategies will also be summarized for polishing better translation of the network catchwords. With the appearance of high-quality Chinese net catchwords, the Chinese network culture will also be accepted and praised by the worldwide communication.
II. General Introduction to Net Catchwords
As a new word category, Chinese net catchwords attract more attention from scholars. It is defined according to its language characteristics. Besides, it also has distinctive language features of being used by the young people and has culture factors. Generally, the definition of net catchwords will be provided for understanding the words firstly. And then the classification and linguistic features of the net catchwords enable more understanding on this kind of words and laid a solid foundation for the translation analysis in the next chapter.
2.1 Definition of Net Catchwords
With the development of online communication, the Chinese net catchwords have been formed and they help the foreigners to learn about updated Chinese culture. Since Chinese net catchwords is an important consistence of network culture, it has attracted many scholars’ attention for a long time.
According to Jin Hui, “catchphrases, just as its name suggests, are not only popular among individuals, but also popular among a number of people. Therefore, we should designate the range of the catchphrases if we want to do some research of catchphrases. Therefore, the author narrows the range of the catchphrase.” ⑤ The range of net catchwords has been narrowed as the application for network.
Until now, there is no universally accepted definition for Chinese Net catchwords. However, the researchers and scholars are doing the work of making a clear definition for net catchwords. Different definitions are provided in terms of different perspectives. According to Cambridge dictionary online, catchword is defined as “A word or phrase that is often repeated by, or becomes connected with a particular organization, especially a political group.”⑥ According to this definition, net catchwords refer to the used language of the particular group prone to online chatting, and meanwhile, the new words are emerging during the process of using online.
Generally, net catchwords are from daily language, but the changes also happen during the use of the particular online chatting group. More information is contained in net catchwords in that more meaning is carried by less Chinese characters.
2.2 The Classification of Chinese Net Catchwords
According to the function of the Chinese net catchwords, they can be roughly classified into two categories.
The first category of the net catchwords refers to those words which are used by netizens on everyday Internet contacting activities, such as the words of “rookie”, “crush”, “excellent”, “bamboo”, ”stuff”, and so on. The characteristics of these words are concise, lively, homophonic, and undoubtfully these words are appeared along with the network.
The second category of Net Catchwords mainly comes from the people’s normal and daily life, such as the activities of social events, social phenomena, hot issues, TV shows or TV series or media, the popular trends, etc. The kind of words are usually based on a certain social background and reflect the social culture. In recent years, the most touted Chinese words are “新常态”, “高大上”, “断崖式”, “不差钱”, “创新”, “雷人”, etc. This kind of social popular words are characterized by a strong timeliness, with strong cultural and linguistic features, which reflects the Chinese contemporary era style. The netizens would also like to apply these heated words to the daily online living. In reverse, these words reflect the mentality status of young netizens.
For both these two types of net catchwords, the study will select typical net catchwords to research and focus on researching the culture they carried by and their translation strategies.
2.3 The Linguistic Features of Chinese Net Catchwords
Chinese net catchword is not simple lexical phenomenon, it contains new vocabulary with linguistic features. As a language used by a particular group, Chinese net catchwords have their own characteristics. They always carry humor and attract more attention. With the new words’ birth, creativity are given to these words for creating new words. Sometimes the sentences and words’ order is not as so orderly as the formal written Chinese. The following parts will discuss these features of the net catchwords with examples.
Chinese net catchword is a dynamic language variant with unlimited creativity. The new words’ appearance brings strong shock to modern Chinese language. To some extent, Chinese net catchwords are even called as the great revolution. Compared with the traditional Chinese written language, the network language breaks out the old conventions. The netizens apply their maximum imagination to create new net catchwords.
Usually, Chinese net catchwords are derived from modern Chinese phonetics and vocabulary system. Some words are changed by the usual saying. For example, the expression “将网络进行到底”, “将优雅进行到底”, “将泡吧进行到底” are imitated from the expression “将爱情进行到底”, which originally comes from the well-known soap opera and film and gradually becomes popular in daily and on the internet. Besides, the words “雷人”, “恐龙” are also the creative words for containing new meanings. “雷人” appears in these years as an new created word, which describes the degree of frighten and refers to something which highly scares someone. “恐龙” originally refers to the dinosaurs. However, the netizens create a new irony meaning for it, which refers to “the ugly girls or women who scare the others”.
Creativity makes the Chinese net catchwords having vitality. More vocabulary will add to the Chinese language corpus with this creativity.
Chinese net catchwords are also humorous for delivering the information in the different forms. Besides, the the newly-emerged things are entirely expressed by the means of word-formation according to one’s inclinations with full emotions.
During the process of word-formation, vivid images are embodied by the Chinese net catchwords in the form of humor. The words such as “啃老族”, “大虾” , “呕像”, etc., carry creative and humorous meanings. “啃老族” describes a phenomenon of nowadays China: some young people give up the opportunity of employment for avoiding the obstacles and hard experience. They stay at home voluntarily and spend their parents’ money even though they should make their own life. In this situation, their housing, clothing and other living expenses even their wives and children’s living are all depend on their parents. What’s more, they also spend more money in buying the things for enjoying comfortable life, ingnoring their parents’ heavy burden. The word-formation of “啃老族” is liking a man is biting the old members in his family. This word is vividly drawing a picture of biting the parents’ fortune. “大虾” originally refers to one kind of famous sea food. However, when it is used for online chatting, it lost all the original meaning and becomes a synonym of “大侠”. “大虾” refers to the particular kind of “大侠” who is another typical example is the term “大虾”, which is good at operating the computer, and is proud for his outstanding skills in software and deeply engaged in playing computer. “大虾” also carries the color of humor. The word “呕像” has same pronunciation as “偶像”, and it is also borrowed from it. However, the difference is that “偶像”, which refers to one’s dreaming example in life or work , is a commerndatory term. However, “呕像” is a derogratory term refers to the person causing you vomiting. That implies that it means the person you really hate. The just one character “呕”, which means the action of vomiting, fully expresses the emotion of hating, and depicts a vivid picture for the a person is vomiting when he meets someone.
Simplicity is another linguistic feature of Chinese network language. Since the high speeding of information transmission online, the network language must be informative enough in order to carrying more message. As a result, the netizens usually choose to apply the concise words and sentences to express their meanings as long as the listeners can understand. In this case, abbreviation is the most welcomed network language during the communication in the virtual network world. They can help to spread more information with least characters.
The abbreviation of net catchwords can be divided into three kinds.
First, the abbreviation of Chinese pinyin: BS(鄙视), PMP (拍马屁), SK(烧烤), etc.
Second, the abbreviation of English words: BTW (by the way, 顺便问一下), BRB (be right back, 马上回来), IMO(in my opinion, 照我的意见), Thx (Thanks, 谢谢);
Third, the combination of English letters, Chinese pinyin and number: u2 (you too, 你也是), me2 (me too, 我也是), B4 (before, 以前), S2Y (same to you, 和你一样).
These abbreviation make the words simple to express and help quickly provide information.
Besides, the choosing of sentences patterns also reflect the simplicity of online chatting sentences. In order to improve the speed of the communication and get quick reaction from the other side, netizens seldom choose long and complex sentences. On the contrary, they prefer to short ones. However, the simplicity happens among the communicators with the similar cultural and knowledge background, or it will be very difficult to achieve mutual understanding. Therefore, the simple net catchwords help to exert the simplest form to transfer the richest emotion and connotation between the netizens.
2.3.4 Change of Words or Word Order
When the net catchwords are applied to online chatting, the net language becomes freely expression language and make changes on words order. The net catchwords disregard traditional Chinese grammar and writes the wrong or strange words for lively communication and attract more attention from the other side.
The change of words consist of special words or sentences expression. The letter E in “E 言难尽”, “E 乱情迷” and “E 如既往” refers to the Chinese characters of “一” . In these words, “一” is instead by “E” because the latter is one of the symbols of Internet. Besides, “木有” equals to “没有”, “果酱” stands for “过奖”, “母鸡” means “不知”, “表” refers to “不要”. However, these large quantity of mixed language and symbols will undoubtedly affect the young netizens and the young generation’s correct language habit. It will also affect the accuracy of Chinese.
In online chatting, the word order is also changed and that also been regarded as the fashion. Some netizens are very fond of using the sentence patterns such as “走起”, “走你”, “走先”, “这个说”, “好滴说”, etc. These sentences order violate the standard mandarin sentence order and displays the characteristics of causal combination and collocation of network language at the level of lexical construction.
Even though the change of words or word order to some extent bring now patterns for expressing Chinese, it also disturbs the standard of Chinese. The wrong sentence patterns should not be used in actual formal written language.
III. Strategies and Culture Factors in Chinese Net Catchwords Translation
Effective translation strategies will help doing accurate Chinese net catchwords translation. The strategies of literal translation, free translation, blending, etc., will be applied to net language translation. Beside, culture factors play great role in its translation process in that culture understanding will make the translation more accurate and acceptable.
3.1 Strategies in Chinese Net Catchwords Translation
Many translation strategies of literature translation methods can be applied to Chinese net catchwords translation, such as literal translation method and free translation method. However, due to the characteristics of Chinese net catchwords, the new translation methods, such as blending, etc., should also be tried for getting better and more accurate translation.
3.3.1 Literal Translation
Literal translation is a type of translation in which great attention is paid to producing the form of the source language translation. Literal translation usually requires the translation must be faithful to the source language in meaning expression as well as the sentence pattern. The exact contextual meaning and pragmatic effect of the original are fully embodied in the translation.
This translation method is usually used to translate those Chinese words which has the same referential meaning in English. Applying this method, the referential meaning can be immediately get by English reader, and the original features and language style can be kept. This will make the English readers easily accept the alien culture. “团购” refers to a group of people buy something together, which is a emerging purchase mode rely on Internet. The consumers buy the goods together and when the purchase number large enough, the price of the goods will be discounted for preferential price. According to Wang Weidong, “团购” could be translated as “group purchasing”, “group buying”, or “groupon”. “团购” firstly rises in the foreign countries and the website Groupon is one of the most famous one for leading this culture. So when “团购” welcomes in China, the direct word “groupon” could be borrowed for literal translation. The translation can be easily understood by the foreigners and reach to the similar psychological reaction as the Chinese.⑦
“秒杀” is originally an Internet game term. Later, this word is used by the Internet seller for advertising the preferential goods and to attract more customers with discount and promotion. This kind of goods are usually sold instantly as long as its promotion, the selling process may only be several seconds. In the foreign countries, the similar purchase method also exist which is called “instant purchasing”, which could be found in the foreign website. It is excellent to adopt literal translation to delivery information and get quick reaction from the foreign customers.
As the price of apartment rises, “胶囊公寓” and “蜗居” become the heated words on the Internet. “胶囊公寓” refers to the apartment which is very small and looks like a capsule. The translation of “capsule apartment” keeps the form of the original and fully expresses the connotation of “胶囊公寓”. For the word of “蜗居”, if it is translated as “snail dwelling” or “snail house”, it is hare to understand its description directly. If we study the western culture, it will be found that the very small apartment is called “pigeonhole” in Chinese, which complies with the association of “蜗居”.
However, not all the Chinese contents can be applied to literal translation. The conflict between literal translation and free translation is exist when translation. When the literal translation could not produce excellent translation, other translation methods should also be added for achieving accurate translation.
3.3.2 Free Translation
Free translation is a translation method, which is a relatively method to literal translation, aims to translating the content of the original instead of restricting toe the form of the original source language. Free translation is not the process of reproducing the original language, but to make some changes to ensure to express the original meaning better.
Many net catchwords are created by the rhetoric or revising the old words based on certain cultural background. They are vivid, full of characteristics, and with rich associative meanings. Therefore, the literal meaning of these words could not enable correct understanding on the deep cultural significance. In this case, the translators usually choose to abandon the Chinese literal meaning and the external image, but focuses on conveying their deeper internal meaning, with the purpose of enabling the English readers to understand the Chinese cultural connotations and achieving the aim of the readers correctly understand and appreciate translation in the same degree and similarity of the readers to the original Chinese language. Due to the huge cultural differences between Chinese and English, a lot of Chinese net catchwords need to adopt free translation strategy.
“裸婚” is one popular marriage status in China. It refers to the young generation, who are forced by the life pressure, choose to get marriage only holding a marriage certificate, without buying house and car, without holding a marriage ceremony. It is a simple marriage. “裸婚” comes from a popular Chinese soap opera. If “裸婚” is directly translated as “naked marriage” with the strategy of literal translation, it is hard to understand unless contemplating the deep association meaning. In this case, the free translation of “simplistic marriage” or “bare-handed marriage” will be much more easier to grasp the meanings.
As more and more young people choose to live in the big cities, another word “房奴” causes our attention. It refers to the people who buy an apartment of house with loan and need to pay the mortgage loan every month with great financial pressure. They may have the feeling of being the slaves of money and bank. When “房奴” is translated into English, the direct translation of “house slave” could not deliver all the information hidden in this word. “Mortgage slave” will be a better translation for “房奴”.
In these years, “高富帅” is another popular word describes the tall, handsome and wealthy men. This kind of man are welcomed by the female. If “高富帅” is directly translated as “tall, rich and handsome man” is to plain to be attractive and lack of taste. The word “prince charming” in the western culture owns the same meaning as “高富帅”, which could be accepted quickly and then describes the image of this kind of outstanding man.
Besides, some other free translation are also informative than literal translation. “剩女” is translated into “3S lady” or “left on the shelf”. The “3S” stands “Single”, “Seventies”, and “Stuck”. “雷人” is translated into “shocking somebody” or “frighten someone”. “打酱油” refers to “none of my business” or “see the fun”.
For choosing free translation, it is necessary for the target language readers to expose themselves to foreign cultures, which will help their work of doing translation work. Besides, translation should perform the cultural exchange function, which is also the chief aim of it. Free translation will help ensure fidelity is achieved unless translation version convey is not same as the original patterns.
The blending translation strategy is to combine the two words’ prefixes or suffixes, to recreate the new words.
This translation method is suitable for the net catchwords. For example, the word “netizen”(网民) is the combination of the two words of “net” and “citizen”, refers to the person who can use Internet for searching information, writing E-mail, participating in online communities, entering the chat room to chat with others, etc. Another example is “microblog”(微博), which consists of “micro” and “blog”, which is a web space for communicating, expressing personal feelings, even advertising, publishing updated news, etc. “Antizen”(蚁族) is the combination of “ant” and “citizen” refers to the young generation born after year 1980, which are also called “80 group”. They are a large group with low income or could not find a satisfied job. That makes them have to live in the urban fringe. Ants symbolize frugality and prevision. When translating “蚁族” as “Antizen”, the necessary explanation should also be added for providing the cultural background to help the readers to understanding the meaning of frugality and prevision. Other net catchwords includes “vegeteal”, “twuilt”, etc. “vegeteal”(qq农场偷菜游戏) consists by “vegetable” and “steal”. “twuilt” (微博控) is combined by “twitter” and “guilt”.
3.2 Culture Factors in Chinese Net Catchwords Translation
Most of the net catchwords are relevant to the people’s daily life and work. They come from life, with the simplicity language, distinguished features, excellent rhetoric, etc. Therefore, when the translators are doing intercultural translation, especially to translate Chinese into English, what they face are not only the words and sentences, but the translation between Chinese culture and foreign culture. It is not an easy thing to introduce the Chinese culture to the foreign readers. The translators must cross the cultural barriers, to convey the cultural connotations of the net catchwords accurately to the target readers, and to get their acceptance, approval, or appreciation. That is the highest target of the translators.
Meanwhile, the translators needs to clearly realize that translation is the cross-cultural communication. There are significant differences between Chinese and English. The purpose of translation is to help the worldwide people learn about China and to promote the Chinese culture be accepted by the world and strengthen cultural exchanges with the foreign countries.Language is the carrier of culture, and culture is the soil of language. There are closely link between each other. Language is an important embodied form of culture. It records the history and culture development of human and reflects the results of social civilization. As a result, language can not exist without culture. It always grow up in a certain cultural context. Language is a carrier of culture, which also affects language. The essence of translation is to exchange culture in the process of two languages convert.
As a part of Chinese culture, Internet culture exists relying on the network. It includes living patterns of work, study, communication, leisure, entertainment, etc., and the values reflected by these activities, including the psychological status, ways of thinking, knowledge structure, morality, values, aesthetic taste, behavior, etc. The cultural factors in Chinese net catchwords play the decisive roles in choosing translation strategies. Chinese culture is very different to the foreign culture in terms of historical tradition, lifestyles, ways of thinking, religion, customs, etc. In cross-cultural communication, culture characterized by two language systems include completely overlapping, part overlapping, differences, similarities, culture blank, culture conflicts, etc. The Chinese culture and English culture mainly lie in the cultural differences rather than similarities. As a result, the translators should mainly consider cultural differences.
Chinese net catchwords is an important part of the Chinese network language, which reflects the Chinese network culture. Since the Chinese net catchwords often relate to the social significant events, as a result, they always carry the Chinese culture. When the translators do the translation, it is necessary to apply some translation strategies and to delivery not only the literal meaning of the net catchwords, but also the culture hidden in these words.
Combining with the translation of typical Chinese net catchwords, the strategies of literal translation, free translation and blending could be applied to this kinds of words’ translation according to the actual situation and the influential culture factors. After analysis, it is approved that culture plays a very important role in the process of translation accuracy and acceptance. In this case, the translation of Chinese net catchwords must consider the culture factors and ensure that the translation is fully understood bu the targer readers.
At present, many problems and shortcomings during the translation process of Chinese net catchwords require translators to overcome and solve. For the emerging net catchwords, their translation and accurate meaning and explaination can not be found in the translation dictionary. The translators should actually try to determine the meanings of these words from the background, context and the experience of themselves. That needs long time practice and improvement. Since more and more researchers and translators do their efforts to studies the subject of net catchwords, more Chinese net catchwords can be easily undestood by the foreigners for the excellent and accurate translation and cultural delivery.
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