The Wind in the Willows from the Perspective of Functional Equivalence Theory
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Analysis on Four Chinese Versions of The Wind in the Willows from the Perspective of Functional Equivalence Theory

Abstract

This thesis has discussed the translation of four Chinese versions of The Wind in the Willows, one of the classic children’s literatures, from the perspective of Functional Equivalence, in order to explore key points of foreign children’s literature translation from English to Chinese.

Different from traditional translation theories, which focus on translators’ understanding of the original author’s idea, Nida’s Functional Equivalence Theory has proposed another way of criticizing translation, that an ideal translation shall be “equivalent” to the original text, being a natural expression in the target language and closest in meaning as the source as well, rather than have simple correspondence in their forms. In other words, the reaction from target readers is supposed to have the same effect as from the original readers. Children’s literature is a genre of literature that owns characteristics to be easier understood by children than other kinds of literature which requires the work to be understandable and vivid from contents to the form, judging from the reading ability of target children group at certain age. The Wind in the Willows is originally published in 1908, having a high reputation in children’s literature which is fond of by children, even adults worldwide.

The author of the thesis has made a comparative analysis, employing Functional Equivalence Theory as the theoretical foundation, among four Chinese versions and the original text of The Wind in the Willows. The main conclusions are as follows: First, for the classics of children’s literature which has appealed numerous readers both children and adults, the translation shall be neutral, except adaption versions for certain age group. It is not easy to get rid of the gap between children and adults; Second, the unbalance of functional equivalence usually is caused by over imagination or too strict to the original text without exploring the true meaning of the phrases; Third, Translators of children’s literature shall comprehend enough cultural background of what concerns in the source text in order to achieve the maximal functional equivalence.

Key Words:The Wind in the Willows, Functional Equivalence, children’s literature translation

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