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On the Translation Techniques of English Attributive Clause


ISSN 1009-5039

Overseas English 海外英语 Overseas English 海 外 英 语

zwwh@overseaen.com 2010 年 7 月 http://www.overseaen.com Tel:+86-551-5690811 5690812

On the Transl

ation Techniques of English Attributive Clause
蔡瑞芳
(广东白云学院,广东 广州 510450 )

Abstract: Translation is the use of one language to another language; this is expressed by the contents of the re-express. For the English – Chinese translation, the attributive clause translation is the most important. However, the English attributive clause is divided into restrictive and non-restrictive attributive clauses. In the translation process, it should be based on its structure and meaning. To take appropriate translation, get rid of restrictions on sentence structure so that the translation is equal to the original as much as possible. In this paper, the translation skills and samples have been used to further express the attributive clause to the readers. Key words: English; attributive clause; translation skills
中图分类号:H315 文献标识码:A 文章编号:1009-5039(2010)07-0150-03

The attributive clause is frequently used in English, and it not only modifies the nouns, but also conveys the reason, transition and result in a sentence. Therefore, we should make the proper choices in the process of translation. Firstly, put the attributive clause before the antecedent if possible in its sentence position. If not, just put it at the back or make it a single sentence. Secondly, express the deep meanings (e.g. time, result etc.) clearly. Because the Chinese attributive structure that has to be followed by the “的 ” and key words, making it not like the English one which can be put freely and with attributes and adverbials etc., it is so limited that the attributive clause is of great difficulty on the English – Chinese translation, when translating the attributive clauses, especially the complicated ones, the simplest way is to release the whole sentence from the grammatical structure. We should figure out more and better expressions of Chinese in order to be faithful to the meaning and writing styles of the original texts, making the translation more accurate and flexible. Do not translate it into equal Chinese structure, but instead put it into single Chinese units. In other words, just separate the attributive clause from the original texts, making it express what it means alone. In English, the attributive clause, long or short in length, easy or difficult in structure, is a common grammar tool. It can have the meanings of reason, result, concession, purpose, condition and so on. During translating, do not use the same methods. Please refer to the several followings:

Phrases. If the structure and the meaning of an attributive clause appear simple and short, translate it into With “ 的 ” Attributive Phrases and put it before the antecedent, by which can make the translation much proper and nicer. The attributive clause is so close to the key word that it will have a totally different meaning of the sentence if translated separately. During English – Chinese translation, avoid using the other methods if With “的” Attributive Phrases is suitable. With “的 ” Attributive Phrases is also suitable for some non-restrictive attributive clauses, which are short and simple in structure, or just close to the antecedents in relationship, or just loose in structure after using Separation Method, but it's not so common with the restrictive ones. e.g. (1)Every mascot that has symbolized the Olympics is linked to the city and the country hosting the Games. (每个象征奥林匹
克运动会的吉祥物都和奥运会举办城市和国家有联系。 )

(2)The river, which forms the eastern boundary of our farm, has always played an important part in our lives. (作为我们农场
东边界限的这条河流, 对于我们的生活始 终 都 起 着 重 要 的 作 用。 )

2 Merging the Main Clause with the Attributive Clause
Besides, some restrictive attributive clauses are very close to the main clauses, and they both aim to stress the key points of the whole sentence. Relatively, the main clause only works in structure; however, it doesn't have an outstanding meaning. After Merging the Main Clause with the Attributive Clause, we are able to convert the sentence into a single one. The non -restrictive attributive clause is to extra -illustrate the antecedent of the sentence, but not to embellish and limit it. And even, it can be left out. In this situation, we need to trans-

1 With “的” Attributive Phrases
In some short attributive clauses, the relationship between the attributive clause and the antecedent has something to do with the comprehension of the original sentence meaning. According to the Chinese attributive structure, this kind of attributive clauses is better to be translated into With “的 ” Attributive

收稿日期:2010-04-04 修回日期:2010-05-06 作者简介:蔡瑞芳(1963- ),女,硕士,毕业于广州外国语学院,现广东白云学院应用外语系教师,主要研究方向为功能语言学和语篇 翻译。

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2010 年 7 月 late the attributive clause into a single sentence, making it and the main clause a compound sentence.e.g. (1)I don't know any parent who would choose the word fun to describe raising children. (在 我 认 识 的 为 人 父 母 中 , 没 有 谁
认为抚养小孩好玩。 )

Overseas English 海外英语

structure so that the other structures in the sentence are translated as well. 3.1 Parallel Translation in Order The Parallel Translation in Order Method is to translate the English attributive clause into the second clause of the compound clause (which means to put it behind the main clause). And the order of the translation is the same as the original sentence. (1)In most governmental agencies, the devolution of decision-making rights to the department head has been effective, which means that the company is given the autonomy to decide on the staffing within the company and also to utilize the available funds under certain guidelines. (大多数政府机关已有效地
将权力下放给企业,也就是说,企业有了确定 本 企 业 人 员 编 制 和按原则使用现有经费的自主权。 )

(2)The target is wrong, for in attacking the tests, critics divert attention from the fault that lies with ill-informed or incompetent users. (将标准化测试作为抨击的目标是错误的,因为在
抨击这类目标时, 批判者没有考虑到其弊 病 是 来 自 人 们 对 测 试不甚了解或使用不当。 )

The direct result of the parataxis of Chinese sentences is that there are many bi -constituent sentences in Chinese, which usually looks like “有 …… 人 做 …… 事 ”. This kind of Chinese structure corresponds to “there be + antecedent + the attributive clause ” in English. As a matter of fact, the process of translating the English structure into the above one is just the same process of integrating the antecedent with the attributive clause.e.g. (1)There was another woman, who seemed to have correct answers, and that was Leanne Jessica Tsui. (另 外 一 个 人 似 乎 胸
有成竹,那就是莉安·杰西卡·徐。 )

(2)The Greeks assumed that the structure of language had some connection with the process of thought, which took root in Europe long before people realized how diverse languages could be. (希 腊 人 认 为 语 言 结 构 与 思 维 过 程 有 着 某 种 关 系 ,这 种 观
点在人们认识到语言的千差万别之前就在欧洲扎了根。 )

(2)There are lots of restrictions that would make many jobs unsuitable for home business ventures around this industrial area.
(在这个工业园,有许多限制使得很多工作不适合家庭企业。 )

3.2 Parallel Translation Inverse The Parallel Translation Inverse Method is to translate the English attributive clause into the clause that is put before the main clause, whose order of the translation is in inverse of the original sentence.e.g. (1)The man had suddenly awakened to the fact that there were beauty and significance in these trifles, (flowers) which they had so long trodden carelessly beneath their feet. (这 些 花 以 前
一直被这些人漫不经心地踩在脚下, 现在 他 们 突 然 意 识 到 这 些小玩意儿的美丽和意义了。 )

3 Parallel Method
In grammatical structure, though there are numbers of embellished English attributive clauses, they have obvious transition and comparison meanings logically. So Parallel Method is completely perfect for these kind of attributive clauses, and it's nicer to add “ 而 ” in the Chinese translation. But if the English attributive clause is long and complicated it does not correspond to the Chinese expressions if still translated into Chinese attributive; Or just the main clause and the subordinate clause is so close to each other in the attributive clause, which is an attributive clause in structure but the compound sentence in meaning that it does not precisely limit or embellish the antecedent. Therefore, Parallel Method does better no matter it is a restrictive or a non-restrictive attributive clause. In other words, the main clause and the subordinate clause are translated separately, and put the attributive clause behind the antecedent to be the appositive or the compound parts to follow the Chinese grammatical rules. In addition, when translating this kind of attributive clause, a normal principle goes: repeat the antecedent in Chinese in the second clause if kept; if not, the antecedent should be left out in both clauses in order to make it clearer and plainer to the readers. Parallel Translation in Order Method is also used in translating the English attributive clause. Leave out the main clause, or make the main clause reduced to a subject phrase, or even place the object as a subject, object, or the adverbial of the attributive clause, which aims to turn the attributive clause into a sentence or structure that has the description function, in order to activate the other complex structures of the original attributive clause. However, Parallel Translation Inverse Method is also adopted sometimes. It can be first translated from the middle or the very back of the attributive clause, conjunctions, adverbs, or even the notional words added if necessary, through which we can translate the attributive clause into an equally free expressing
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(2)The acid test is expected to come this week or early next month when a bill goes before the U.S. Congress for approval of the sale of U.S. $ 60 million worth of spare parts to Russia. (出售
价值六千万美元零件给俄罗斯的法案将在 今 周 或 下 个 月 初 提 交美国国会批准,届时严峻的考验就要到来了。 )

4 Adverbial Method
The examples above show us the different translation methods according to the relationship between the attributive clause and the main clause, the antecedent and the clause. In the process of learning the attributive clause, we know that another feature of the attributive clause is that the attributive clause does not always act as the noun modifier. Sometimes, the attributive clause logically has the adverbial relationship with the main clause, such as reason, purpose, result, condition, concession, and time and so on. The attributive clause, playing the role of adverbial in the whole sentence, should be translated into the corresponding side -principal meaning of Chinese complex sentences after considering the logical relationship of the original texts. When translating the attributive clause into Chinese, we should not just pay attention to the attributive clause and the antecedent embellished in the clause, but to have to judge the logic relationship of the original text between the lines, with the words “由于”、“结果”、“尽管”、“不论”、“当”added in the translation. 4.1 Reason
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Overseas English 海外英语

2010 年 7 月 modify the predicate of the main clause. This kind of attributive clause can be translated into the condition adverbial clause, making the translation more coherent and smoother, adding the conjunctions of “如 果 ”、“只 要 ” to present excellent translations. e.g. (1)Men became desperate for work, any work, which will help them to keep alive their families. (人 们 极 迫 切 地 要 求 工
作,不管什么工作,只要能维持一家人的生活就行。 )

When the clause is to express the reason of some action or state of the main clause, its meaning is just the same as the reason adverbial clause structured by "because", "as" etc., and it's to modify the predicate of the main clause. This kind of attributive clause can be translated into the reason adverbial clause, adding the conjunctions of “因 为 ”、“由 于 ” etc. in the translation.e.g. (1)We take it for granted that gases, the molecules of which are widely separated from one another, have greater compressibility than liquids. (我 们 理 所 当 然 地 认 为 :由 于 气 体 分 子 相 互
隔开很远,所以气体具有比液体更大的压缩性。 )

(2)How can anyone hope to be a qualified teacher, who doesn't know what the students are thinking and demanding? (一
个人如果不知道他的学生在想什么,需要什么 ,怎 么 能 指 望 自 己成为一个合格的教师呢? )

(2)We have installed a new system recently, which is under adjusting, making some mix -up and caused this delay in processing orders. (我 们 最 近 安 装 了 一 个 新 系 统 ,因 为 在 调 试 阶 段
中还有些混乱,所以导致在订单处理方面出现延误。 )

6 Result
When the clause is to express some result caused by some action or state in the main clause, it means just the same as the result adverbial clause organized by "so that", and it's to modify the predicate of the main clause. This kind of attributive clause can be translated into the result adverbial clause, making the translation more intelligible and coherent, with the some proper conjunctions added. e.g. (1)Station-type surge arresters utilize a new non-linear resistance material which provides improved operating characteristics and improved reliability. (电站型避雷器采用了一种新型的
非线性电阻材料,从而改善了运行特性,增强了运行可靠性。 )

4.2 Concession When the clause is to logically express some contradiction of some action of the main clause, which has no connection with the facts explained or the sudden changes of the tone in the main clause, its meaning is just the same as the concession adverbial clause begun with "though", "although" etc. This kind of attributive clause can be translated into the concession adverbial clause, with the conjunctions of “但 是 ”、“然 而 ”、“却 ”added in the translation. e.g. (1)They were a part of his pride and glory, his success, his triumphant life's work, which was fading into failure in his helpless hands. (他们属于他的骄傲和光荣,他的成功,他为之得意
的生活的杰作, 虽然如今正在他自己无能 为 力 的 手 中 化 为 失 败。 ) (2)The products of the French luxury group — Hermès, which

(2)Dennis has made great progress in his business study in Shawnigan Lake School in British Columbia and he finally was admitted by his dream college called Swiss Hotel Management School, which delighted all the families. (丹尼斯在英属哥伦比
亚区的桑列根湖学校里,在商务课程上取得了 很 大 的 进 步 ,而 且还被他自己梦寐以求的瑞士酒店管理学 院 录 取 了 , 这 使 我 们全家都感到很高兴。 )

are sold at a higher price, are of excellent quality and the superiority of the products will induce a larger order from the rich.
(法国奢侈品集团—爱马仕的产品虽然售价 较 高 ,但 是 质 量 上 乘、优质的产品将使富豪们毫不吝啬一分一毫。 )

4.3 Purpose When the clause is to express some purpose or motivation caused by some action in the main clause, its meaning is just the same as the purpose adverbial clause started with "so that", "in order that" etc, and it's to modify the predicate of the main clause. This kind of attributive clause can be translated into the purpose adverbial clause. e.g. (1)So many chances of getting to revolutionary China are pretty slim, although I have not given up my efforts to get a passport that will enable me to try countries of socialism. (虽 然
我 并 没 有 放 弃 努 力 来 争 取 一 张 护 照 去 访 问 社 会 主 义 国 家 ,但 是现在我到革命的中国来的希望却相当小了。 )

(2)Charlene and Gillian both wish to write an article, which will attract public attention to the air and water pollution in this city. (莎琳和吉莉安都想写一篇文章,用来引 起 公 众 对 这 座 城
市空气污染和水污染的关注。 )

Attributive expressions in English are complex and also different from Chinese, which often poses problems to our translation. Firstly, we have to analyze the sentence structure, and then make sure the grammar and the logical relationship among the attributive clause, the main clause and other clauses. We have to get rid of the limit of the original text and be flexible in sentence structure, which makes the translation faithful, smooth, coherent and intelligible and follow the Chinese norms. In translation, comprehension is no less important than the translation methods. All in all, no matter what methods we use in translation, we have to present the coherent and smooth translation on the basis of the original texts. Only by practicing translating more can make us be more sensible of the methods and improve the translation speed and efficiency. Wish the translation methods and techniques presented in this paper could be of great help to you all to learn.

References:
[1] Guo Wenhai.The Difference Between "Which" And "As" in the Attributive Clause[J]. 新疆昌吉师专学报 ,2001(9). [2] 陈常青 . 英语定语从句的汉译研究 [J]. 湘潭师范学院 学 报 : 社 会科学版 ,2009(5). [3] 陈久妹 . 非限制性定语从句翻译初探 [J]. 科技信息 ,2008(19). [4] 陈军宏 . 从认知角度诠释定语从句得汉译 [J]. 时 代 文 学 ,2008 (6).
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5 Condition
When the clause is to express some action or state caused under some condition in the main clause, it functions just the same as the condition adverbial clause written by "if", and it's to

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