A Study on the Translation Strategies of The Nine Songs from the Perspective of Cognitive Construal: A Comparative Analysis of the Yangs’ and Waley’s Versions

Cognitive construal; the Yangs; Arthur Waley; The Nine Songs, Elegies of the South; translation strategy

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May 1, 2022

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The process of forming translations is closely related to the translators’ embodied cognition and experience. The translators’ different mechanisms of construal contribute to the formation of a variety of translation versions. Based on the theory of Cognitive Construal, this paper discusses in detail the differences and translation strategies between the Yangs and Arthur Waley’s English versions of The Nine Songs, Elegies of the South. The analysis shows that the Yangs’ version has a high degree of specificity, follows the figure-ground relation of the original, highlights the original metrical pattern, and adopts the translation strategy of foreignization by translating the poem from the perspective of the original author. However, Waley’s version has more expressions of lesser specificity, does not follow the figure-ground relation of the original text completely, and changes the metrical pattern of the original poem. He interprets the poem from the perspective of the target language reader and adopts the translation strategy of domestication. The study shows the different translation poetics between Chinese translators and sinologists, hoping to provide references for the translation of Chinese classics.