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Culture Variations Of Basic Color Terms In Translation

Vocabulary is the most active part of terms. It can directly reflect the ethnic developments. In a sense, vocabulary is the reflection of the culture, so is the color terms.

The understanding and emotions to color conditions of Chinese and English Folks are much alike, which underlines the opportunity in cross-cultural communication as well as translatability. Nevertheless the ways of pondering, beliefs, traditions and behaviors of different cultures not only produce failures and misunderstandings in cross-cultural communication but also create problems to translators who want to produce "ideal" focus on texts. For example, color conditions, the associations, icons and implied meanings of color terms to different countries are different for their different environments, ways of thinking, religious and beliefs. Therefore, in translation practice, the most important is to break the ethnic barriers and present the source ethnical subject matter faithfully and effectively.

This newspaper compares and analyzes the culture of the essential color conditions in British and China and introduces several methods in translating color terms. This newspaper first introduces the notions of translation and culture, indicating the key craze in translation---cultural translation. Translation has been seen as "cross-cultural communication" rather than word to word translation. Then, it analyzes the variations between English and Chinese language culture, and the close romantic relationship between translating, vocabulary and culture.

In the primary part, the newspaper deals with ethnical connotations of basic color conditions in English and Chinese language and the complexities for similarities and discrepancies by citing several instances. By contrastive research of ethnical connotations of basic color terms between English and China, we can learn about what is going on in people's mind, in their vocabulary and cultural.

Keywords: color terms; cultural dissimilarities.

Chapter One Introduction

Color terms are important parts that we get to know our world. There are lots of common details in knowing color terms between different ethnicities. Although the volumes in describing color terms will vary, words describe basic color terms such as Red, Dark colored, Blue, Green are the same. Meanwhile, due to the dissimilarities in religions, politics and customs; color terms sometimes generate strong social characteristics.

Color terms are an important part of vocabulary atlanta divorce attorneys terms system. Each country has its color prospect and people's color view is an important part of culture ones. English and China have a long history in words system, they are both abundant with color terms, and the same color terms usually promote the same meanings. However, different geographic conditions, religions and other elements result in different ethnical associations in both of these languages. Misunderstanding happens every once in awhile and barries have been triggered in marketing communications.

During days gone by three years, translation is regarded as some sort of cross-cultural communication. Cross-cultural translation in this newspaper means to bring the same meanings of the problems form one vocabulary to another terminology instead of words from the forms in English to forms in Chinese language.

This thesis contains five chapters. Section you are the introduction of this paper. Chapter two shows the translation and culture, providing an in depth depiction of the relationship between culture and translation, and some of the major discrepancies between British and Chinese culture. Section three and four are the main part of the newspaper, some basic color conditions such as Red, Black color are placed to improve the distinctions and same places between Chinese and English culture in translating. And by the end of the thesis, specifically, in the last chapter, a finish is drawn.

Chapter Two Color Conditions and Culture

2. 1 Color Terms

"Color term" means the word which are a symbol of some sort of color. This meaning is easily understood, but Xiao Junshi (1982:26) once said that "color conditions do indicate the same thing as colorful conditions. Colorful English may appear as idioms or in figurative expressions, while color conditions are words which simply show different colors. Just like the onomatopoeic phrase, a color term has little merit alone. Only when it suggests the image of the initial, or fortifies the sense in the version, it has value in translation. " As a part of words, color conditions are used on paper to switch information.

Classification of Color Terms

There are two main varieties of color conditions: basic color conditions and thing color conditions. Lu Hongmei (2006:38) defines basic color terms as words used to describe the colour of items when they look. Basic color terms including seven types of colors. In Chinese, they are really"»»'"". In British, they are really "red, orange, yellowish, renewable, blue and purple". Although basic color terms contain only a few words, they are extremely active.

Color Terms' History in English

In lady, people are usually more rigorous, they take a scientific frame of mind towards the target world and objective knowledge. The oldest theory in color conditions' background is Aristotle's Dark colored and White Theory, where color is made up of brightness and saturation. At that period, all colors were thought as different levels of mixture of white and black. Dark colored and White Theory was ended by Newton who noticed seven colors of the sunlight through prism.

Color Conditions' Record in Chinese

A lot of plants' names are being used as color conditions, especially after the bettering of painting. "Blue comes from a kind of herb called blue, and red originates from the seed called madder'. (Luo geng, P8, 2004) Many Chinese color terms come from the name of plant life or vitamins. Although there is absolutely no theory about the forming of color conditions in Chinese record, you'll be able to learn a lot of historical things that have associations with colors. Countless color conditions can be found in Chinese poems, essays and novels. The following phrases are some typical cases.

»--»-» - -˜»-˜‡˜»˜»˜»˜˜˜˜"˜ --··˜"˜

He felt as though his head were content spinning and his sight swam before a kale endoscope of red, yellow, green, african american, shiny, square, cylindrical, leaping, dancing, designs. . . (Zhang Peiji, P64, 1979)

In this sentence, the color terms' emotive function is demonstrating the sensation, color terms can not be instead by the other types of words.

Above all, color terms play an essential role in both Chinese language and English cultures. At the same time, it is true a translator's task in translating color conditions is not a simple task. He's the one who belongs to two language-culture backgrounds. He must provide as a receptor of one message while as an announcer of meaning in another terms of another culture. It's important for a translator to learn color terms' backgrounds and histories well.

2. 2 Vocabulary, Culture and Translation

Language and Culture

Language is one of the key constituents of culture. Douglas(1980) once said,

"A dialect is a part of culture and culture is an integral part of language, both are intricately interwoven so that one can not separate both without losing the importance of either terminology or culture"(Douglas, P76, 1980)

Languages are being used to form creation and describe the how the tool works; and in the problem of institutional culture, words is often in use; and mental culture must be discussed and wrote by means of language. So terminology is an important icon of the culture.

So it is safe to state that dialect has two important cultural functions. Firstly, it is the way of positioning culture; secondly, it is the media in transmitting culture to youths. Vocabulary has this important influence on the culture that some linguists believe terms and culture contain the keys to keep national or social characteristics. Terms is important in countrywide sentiment because of its strong and visible symbolism; it becomes an important mark.

At the same time, language is inspired by culture. From a wide sense, language behavior is brought up by culture. In other words, the means of language that you use, are linked with your cultural qualifications. In its most elementary point, terminology is some rules because of their use with regards to one another. They're unique in one culture to another. You may find it when you research another language. Here's a good example, Confucianism, founded by Confucius more than 2000 years ago, has been deeply rooted in Chinese culture, Chinese language people are trained from their youth to show admiration to the elders, be polite to others. This efficaciously described the scenes that people see today in China and expressions as "  ±˜"˜And treat somebody respectfully titles such as "» "to address people and words as "‡' "to themselves were so commonly listened to.

Translation and Culture

The reality translating one words into another is automatically covered both two cultures that results in the close marriage between culture and translation. In the first point, culture has many restrictions on translating. As we all know, culture is the personality of an country, which can determine its uniqueness from another culture. Both English and Chinese language have their own group of words and expressions that quite different from other cultures, which makes it impossible to find a totally similar term in the prospective language that we convert to, except creating a fresh word. For instance, ‡˜˜˜in Chinese and pinkeye and whitegoods in English. Translators should be careful in translating these words in case of misunderstanding on the list of readers.

Second, the main roles in translation are to enrich the culture you want to translate to, also to promote the development of the words culture.

In a term, terms, culture and translation cannot be separated from each other. They rely upon each other. Translator should get good at not only bilingual knowledge but also bicultural knowledge.

The Notion of Cultural Translation

Translation takes place between languages. Together with the development of modern translation theories, increasing numbers of people assume that translation is a "cross-cultural communication". Actually, they have discovered that ethnic factors in international communication are more popular than the simply linguistic dissimilarities. Thus in neuro-scientific translation studies, translators' knowledge of translation has modified: from expression translation to social translation.

Shuttleworth (1997:P35) identifies social translation as any translation which is sensitive to culture as well as linguistic factors.

Language is a part of culture, thus translating one terms into another can be sufficient if the translator has learned both two culture well. However, terms is the heart taker of culture. Within the translating course, terms is translated or altered however, not culture. The goal of translating is to help make the readers get to know the culture of the countries.

Chapter Three Culture of English and Chinese language Basic Color Terms

3. 1 Contrastive Examination of Culture of English and Chinese language Basic Color terms

There are seven basic color terms both in English and Chinese, but the quantity of color terms are definitely more than 2, 000 in the Chinese, and more than 3, 000 in British. The British basic color terms are red, green, yellow, renewable, blue, dark-colored, white, gray, and brown, in the mean time in Chinese they are simply ˜»˜»˜"˜˜»˜˜, , Basic color conditions are often used, they are main parts of this post.

3. 1. 1 Ethnic Equivalence between "Black" and "»˜"

Black is the basic color in both English and China color system. It hasn't only its own meaning-the opposite of white, but also include the next meanings.

Darkness, Fatality, Misfortune and Sadness

Black is undoubtedly the unlucky color. As we know, the hell in the western fairy stories and the same world in Chinese language mythologies are dark places when criminals die. There are some hobgoblins such as"»˜- "in Chinese language hell and Satan in european hell.

When people died, his / her family members wear in dark and they experienced unfortunate and grief. So dark-colored is also connected with sadness and misfortune. In western religion, "Black Friday" refers to an unlucky day because Jesus Christ passed away on Friday.

In China basketball history, there are also a bad sensation called "Black three-minute"---in 1989 World Cup, due to defenders' mistake, China Men's sports team lose the game with 2-1 in the last three minutes. And they didn't go to Rome to be a part of the 1990's Italy World Cup Finals. From then on, the "Black three-minute" is a headache of Chinese sports team.

Dirtiness, Illegality and Evilness

In the Ballet opera Swan Lake, the dark-colored swan is the image of evil and cattiness. Chinese expressions like"»˜-", "»˜ ·"˜"»˜"show that dark-colored in China is also related the bad and evil. In British culture, expressions are discussed in the same so this means, for example:

Black money (to get the amount of money through the against the law way)

Black-hearted (man who are extremely evil and greed)

Black sheep (a bad guy who do injury to his family or group)

Cultural Non-equivalence between"Dark-colored"and"»˜"

In Chinese early history, "dark" is regarded as "be esteem to others": in Xia Dynasty and Qing Dynasty, ministers wear a kind of clothes called"˜"(Ziti), which is composed from a dark silks. And dark is a color making people feel respect to others, and that's why people wear in dark-colored in funerals. Ancients always connected the black with the iron's factors-hard, they place the colour "african american" as the color of justice. So in the Chinese language opera, a person with dark face is a justice person, such as BaoZheng in Track Dynasty.

Black also offers some positive interpretation in English vocabulary. Dark dress and dark suit will be the most popular clothes in western countries. In a few important situations, observed public information and magnates like to wear in dark. And folks in symphony orchestra wear in dark-colored and its show the respect to the audience. "Black-hall" means the hall which many VIPs and important people in it. However, the word "black" is usually linked with the black-skinned people, in early times, the black-skinned people were called "Negro", however they thought this salutation was pedagogue, so they choose the word "black". In traditional western black-skinned people culture, things are linked with them are dubbed the prefix "black" such as "black English", "black belt" and "black nationalism", etc.

Cultural Equivalence Between "White "and""

White is the color which opposite to the colour black.


In Chinese, pets or animals with white such""and others is a blessed sign, it bring the symbol of peace to the people. In western countries, people think angles always in white, and the viewpoint is the hand of God, they bring outlook and pleased to human beings.

Death and Failure

White is the colour of loss of life in Chinese practices. When a person died, his or her relatives wear in white, and the clothes called"", they imagine the fatalities could go to the heaven. In western countries, the colour white also connected with fatality.

White and "" also means inability. This phenonmen can be seen in the conflict, when one part of the conflict hang up the white flag, it means they accept the failure and the other area is win.

Other Connotations Savored by both"white"and""

White also makes people feel clean and honest. "White man" means the individual is very honest.

White also refers to the White-skinned people; the opposite of the black-skinned people.

Cultural Non-equivalence Between "White" and""

In Chinese operas, White face, for example: CaoCao in 3 Kingdom period, symbolizes villainess and brings contempt, people can barely start to see the true meaning from his face. Nowadays, white also explains the man who do not understand this is the other people says, such as" - "

"White" in British also offers its unique meanings---love. White Valentine's Day is your day lovers stay mutually and celebrate the day. And it started in 3rd century in Rome. If a girl or boy will get a surprise from a boy or girl on Feb 14th, and she or he gives another gift idea on March 14th, the activities are called White ROMANTIC DAYS CELEBRATION.

Cultural Equivalence Between "Red" and ""

Happiness, Good fortune, Love and Beauty

""is the favourite color among Chinese language. In Chinese language traditional festival-Spring Happening, people in his canine year are using in red, and he or she need to get higher. The elders give money to the youths in a red bag called"". And the youths continually be happy when they obtain "". Within the Chinese traditional marriages, red candles, red veil and red dresses of the brides, all bring the festivity atmosphere and make people think that days and nights after wedding will become better and better. Red eggs are given away to friends and family members on the labor and birth of a baby

In european countries, red is the color that shows the wish to someone: if a man give a woman red increased, that means he want to land in love with the girl, he loves the woman.

Aggravation, Violence, Hazard and Shyness

Red is also linked with same feelings in both British and Chinese language.

In Chinese, " ˜" is used to describe rage and violent activities. The fire pickup truck and alarm light are all painted red to point danger. In imagination of native speaker systems of British, "red" is also associated with sanguineness, threat and assault. However, red face doesn't only indicate angry, as we all know, if a boy says "I love you. " to a girl, the lady also changes her face red, and that's not upset, it's shyness.

Red is the color of blood, in case a person was master by others and he's injured, the blood could turn out from his body, and that is violent.

Cultural Non-equivalence between "Red" and""

The color conditions "red" and""aren't equivalent in lots of ways. In China, ""is the icon of "revolution" and "communism". Chinese language countrywide flag, "--", is red this means being stained red by the blood vessels of the revolutionaries, while" ·"is a spot of computer.

What's more, ""in China is often used to express one's envy such as"˜", while in British the word having this function is "green".

"Red" in English has some other usages. For instance, "Red Nasal Day" is each day which an appeal is made for donations for research into quick infant death symptoms, marked by the distribution of plastic material red noses to donors. Which is apparently not embodied in the connotations of ""in China.

3. 2 Triggers for Equivalences and Unequivalences

Causes for Equivalences

Human beings have common factors. They live on the same globe. Although their living and working environment are much different, they're much in common. Cultures of varied countries likewise have something in common. Each one of these similarities are undoubtedly reflected in languages. That is why equivalents are available in terms of linguistic from and interpretation.

Black is the color of darkness plus some hidden knowledge and illicit activities always continue in the darkness. So black colored is expanded as "illicit". In "black market", the business enterprise goes on in violation of publicly imposed regulations. Money received through being against one's conscience, such as corruption and bribes, is "»˜'±", and smuggled goods are "»˜"

The similarities in connotation of color terms not only result from the similar conception to the planet, but also have something regarding customs of individuals. In both China and English-speaking countries, people usually move out red carpet for an important visitor, so there is certainly "roll out red carpet" in English and""±-‡‡"in Chinese language, which indicates a lavish welcome.

Causes for Unequivalences

In the procedure of translating, a translator is more regularly faced with ethnic differences. Every country has its own ethnic groups, geographical location, religions values, values, political systems and so on. Each one of these form the dissimilarities of national culture, that are also certainly embodied in terminology, this means culture can determine the differences in connotations of color terms.

As Lamb (1982: P358) observes, "It's clear that faith and culture are inextricably entwined". Most experts agree that religious beliefs has endeavored to make clear those movements about life that in any other case cannot be grasped or resolved. The analysis of religious beliefs not only for offers insight in to the spiritual and subconscious needs of people, but also offers us clues into the social aspects of a culture. The use of color in religions and their sacred writings exert great affect on the connotations of the color terms.

Besides the factors mentioned previously, there are other factors influencing the usage of color conditions. Some expressions with color terms come from misconceptions, tales and some from books works. Here we've only named some of the major causes because of the length limitation of the thesis newspaper.

Chapter Four Settlement for losing in the Translation of Color Terms

Literal Translation

"Catford (1965: P25) argues that translation can take word-for-word translation as its starting place, although because of the need of conforming to TL(target language) grammar, the ultimate TT(translation teaching) may also display group-group or clause-clause equivalence". In other words, literal translation aims at preserving the most possible social information of this is without changing the linguistic varieties of the source content material, so by offering a foreignized translation it can get not just a very high amount of the informativeness of the cultural meaning transferred from the SL (second language) word, but also a fairly high amount of the potency of the transferring of the cultural meaning. Obviously, the translation can only be foreigized to such a level that the mark text is still readable.

Besides, in a mass of linguistic facts, there are a few expressions both in British and Chinese language adapting the same color icons and carrying the same ethnical connotations, thus literal translation becomes the only real appropriate strategy.

Free Translation

Newmark (1988: P46) defined free translation as reproduce the matter without the way in which or the content without the proper execution of the original.

From the perspective of ethnical translation, the awareness of culture is of great importance for a translator to acquire an ideal rendering in translating practice. A good or ideal translation should accord with the demand and trend of a particular time and really should be understandable and appropriate so that is can enlighten readers to recognize overseas cultural elements. Because of insufficient communication, in the past domestication (e. g. free translation) was preferred and almost all of those renderings that applied foreignizing methods (e. g. literal translation, transliteration) couldn't extensively disperse. However, because of trend of ethnic integration, foreignizing, methods can provide better for the purpose of ethnic translation.

Chapter Five Conclusion

In days gone by several decades, cultural translation became an important concern in the field of translation. This paper deals with studying the color terms and its approach to translation.

It is straightforward to see that word meaning is the reflection of people's cultural and cultural backgrounds. But it could be different in its meaning of this term from the other ethnical groups.

To better describe the methods of translation in color conditions, the author compared the English and Chinese cultures in color conditions from sources including historical background, religions, etc. According to these Chinese language and English social discrepancies, it is easy to understand the reasons why these two individuals think in various ways, which we ought to take into consideration.

However, there are some shortcomings in this paper. First, the contrast of this newspaper only focuses on the basic color terms. Second, there is certainly a large quantity of expressions with color conditions in both Chinese language and British, and the writer cannot write all of them, but instances given are enough in this newspaper because the prospective of the newspaper is not only to show the distinctions and same points. , the more important point is to comprehend the reasons why the similarities and variations between both of these cultures.

With the development of globalization and international communication, it is necessary to learn civilizations well before translating the terms which originates from the culture. Color terms are more and more important in translating language. Moreover, mastering color term's translation improves the capabilities of translation practice and cross-cultural communication.

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