Mutual Translation of English & Chinese Euphemisms from the Cultural Perspective

Abstract: Euphemism is a common language phenomenon. In daily life, people often use more tactful and gentle words to replace the tabooed, harsh, private or vulgar things. It is an effective and refined way of expression. It is also a common method of communication used for transmitting ideas and exchanging feelings. Meanwhile, euphemism is a cultural phenomenon, whose production and application has close connections with social culture. With the rapid development of cross-cultural communication, euphemism is more and more widely used in interpersonal communication. Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of Euphemism and its translation is becoming increasingly important. By carrying researches on euphemism and its translation from cultural perspectives, we can break the limitations of carrying research only from the linguistic point of view, thus broadening the horizon of research and exploring effective methods for the translation of euphemisms. By doing so, cross-cultural communication can be better promoted to run smoothly.By carrying research on euphemism translation from a new perspective, this study aims at finding effective methods for the translation of euphemisms so as to boost the quality of translation. Starting from the perspective of cultural studies, this paper made a comparison between English and Chinese euphemisms from the cultural aspects and had the following findings: some English and Chinese euphemisms have the same psychological basis, fields of applications and ways of expressions; but another group of euphemisms differ in terms of religious beliefs, the process of formation, political environment, emotion and value orientations. Based on the cultural similarities and differences of English and Chinese euphemism, this paper put forward the standards and principles for the mutual translation of English and Chinese euphemisms, namely, trying to keep the euphemistic feature, trying to achieving equivalence and fully transferring cultural connotation. Through a large number of examples, this paper explored and summarized the four effective translation strategies for euphemism, that is, literal translation, free translation, footnotes and transplanting. It was pointed out that in some cases, these translation strategies can be used cooperatively. For instance, when there is rich cultural information in the source euphemism, to reach equivalence and well transfer the cultural information of the source language, the translation strategy of literal translation plus footnotes can be employed. The study has positive guidance for the smooth movement of cross-cultural communication.Based on the literature review of euphemism and its translation studies both at home and abroad, this study found out that in the mutual translation of English and Chinese euphemisms, because of people‚Äôs lack of knowledge and not attaching due importance to cultural factors, many problems have occurred, such as the use of non-euphemisms and even taboo words to translate euphemism; the original rhetoric color getting lost thus making the translate version dull, and having difficulties in finding the right equivalent for the source euphemism. To solve these problems, this paper adopted descriptive translation method and carried out a systematic analysis on the definition, characteristics, classification and function of euphemism. Then, this paper made a comparative analysis on English and Chinese euphemisms from cultural perspectives and found out the similarities and differences between the two euphemisms, which provided the basis for the mutual translation of English and Chinese euphemisms. Finally, this paper put forward some translation principles and standards for euphemism. Through ample exemplifications, four effective translation strategies on euphemism were reached. This study shows that: Carrying euphemism translation from a cultural perspective, effective translation methods can be obtained, which can greatly improve the quality of euphemism translation…
Key words: Euphemism translation; comparison; cultural perspective

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