PhD Graduates

Tao LI (李涛)

Investigating Evaluation in Chinese-English Translation of Political Discourse:
A Corpus-based Discourse Analysis Approach

Drawing on a corpus-based discourse analysis approach and a combined framework of Appraisal System and Ideological Square, this study investigates the translation patterns of the appraisal resources and the variations of stance towards China and other countries, found in the Chinese-English translation of political discourse. Research findings have been generated from the comparisons and the statistical analyses with different parameters between China and other countries at both lexico-grammatical and discourse semantic levels. This thesis proves to be theoretically valuable to the Corpus-based Translation Studies and Discourse Analysis. A revised model of Ideological Square this thesis proposes on the basis of the empirical data of the English translation of Chinese political discourse makes noteworthy theoretical contributions in that it not only offers a more feasible and flexible framework for Translation Studies, but also moves forward one more step to promote the academic status of Translation Studies as a theory-exporting discipline rather than a discipline that always borrows theoretical models from other academic areas. This study is also of practical significance because it reveals the factors that influence the Chinese-English translation of political discourse, which sheds new lights on the publicity of China and its policies worldwide.


 Huidan Liu (刘慧丹)

Representation and Reconstruction of Affect Meaning in Chinese Translations of Shakespeare’s Plays A Corpus-based Study

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) created a large body of plays presenting various themes, including the world-known Four Great Comedies and Four Great Tragedies. In these plays, Shakespeare paid much attention to affect, one of the core issues in drama creation, and successfully demonstrated the affections of different characters and affective conflicts between different characters, aiming to highlight the affective keys and themes of different plays. Given the rich lexical realizations of the affect meaning in Shakespeare’s plays, the present study attempted to explore the Chinese translation of affect meaning expressed in Shakespeare’s plays, covering 8 comedies and 7 tragedies, with particular focus on representation and reconstruction of affect meaning in two Chinese versions, Liang Shiqiu’s translation and Zhu Shenghao’s translation (abbreviated as Liang’s translations and Zhu’s translations respectively).

Given that the APPRAISAL system developed by Martin & White (2005) et al within Systemic Functional Linguistics puts special emphasis on and has made systematic analyses of affect, the present study reasonably adopted as the analytic framework the APPRAISAL system, specifically applying the definition and classification of affect within APPRAISAL. Based on APPRAISAL model, this research attempted to systematically examine the translation of affect meaning, centering on how and to what extents Liang Shiqiu and Zhu Shenghao respectively represented and reconstructed the affect meaning in Shakespeare’s plays.

First of all, this research explored representation of affect meaning. The comparisons suggest that in the two Chinese translations the tendency towards representation is significantly more prominent than the tendency towards reconstruction. Regardless of this similarity, the two translations are strikingly different in adoption of specific ways to represent affect meaning.

Secondly, the study focused on the reconstruction of affect meaning. Compared with representation tendency, conspicuous tendency towards reconstruction has been revealed by neither translation. However, these two Chinese versions still display some noteworthy similarities and disparities in reconstruction.

In addition, the present research also examined the changes to graduation when a given affect meaning is represented or reconstructed by Liang Shiqiu and Zhu Shenghao. The findings show that in either case, representation or reconstruction, the two translators appeared to prefer scaling up rather than scaling down the affect meaning by use of some Chinese modifiers in the target text when it is compared with that of the source text.


 Xin Li(李鑫)

The Reconstruction of Modality in Chinese-English Government Press Conference Interpreting: a Corpus-based Study

Government Press Conferences (GPC) during the annual “Two Sessions” of National People’s Congress (NPC) and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) every year serve as an important window for the world to access first-hand information about the Chinese government’s policies and stances towards domestic and diplomatic issues. Modality as a semantic-grammatical category construes important interpersonal meanings such as the speaker’s attitude or stance in communication, so it is no surprise that modality markers are used frequently at the GPCs.

Drawing largely on the descriptive and comparative model for translation shifts from Toury (1995), the semantic system of modality from Halliday & Matthiessen (2014), and the integrated model of sociocultural context analysis from interpreting scholars (Diriker 2004, Alexieva 1997, and Pöchhacker 2009), this thesis attempts to conduct a corpus-based study  of modality shifts in Chinese-Englsih GPC interpreting.

Based on a corpus of 21 GPCs featuring the premiers or foreign ministers of China during the “Two Sessions” from 1989 to 2014, the study reveals the following patterns: 1) Modality shifts are outnumbered by zero-shifts, but the degree of modality shifts (around 40%) is still fairly high considering availability of equivalent Chinese/English modality markers.2) “De-obligation” is predominant in terms of shifts of modality type. 3) “Subjectivisation” and “weakening” shifts (mainly caused by the addition of English modality markers) are predominant in the overall reconstruction of modality. 4) The identity of ST speaker doesn’t affect the general degree or predominant types of modality shifts but does affect the degree of the “strengthening” shift.

The juxtaposition of the regular patterns of modality shifts and the meta-discourse and typological features of GPC interpreting reveals the close relationship between the interpreters’ choices concerning modality and the socio-cultural context of interpreting: the institutional norm of “fidelity first and acceptability second” for Chinese diplomatic interpreting extracted from the meta-discourse proves to have strong but not absolute governing power for GPC interpreters, and the actual interpreting choices in the reconstruction of modality are clearly motivated by the distinct typological features of GPC interpreting, which include its participants and their goals of communication, its temporal and spatial setting, topics, text type, working mode, and directionality.