Application of Foreignization Strategy in Chinese Translation of Emily Dickinson's Poetry: Taking Zhou Jianxin's Translation Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson: 601-900 as an Example

Foreignization strategy; Emily Dickinson's poetry; Chinese translation; Zhou Jianxin's translation


May 13, 2022


Poetry is the perfect combination of form and content. Therefore, poetry translation should faithfully translate the original form and content. In other words, foreignization could be the best translation strategy for poetry translation, especially for those poems with distinctive formal characteristics, such as the poems of Emily Dickinson, a 19th-century American poetess. Currently, there have been 17 Chinese translations of Dickinson's poetry published in China, with few of them using a foreignization strategy; most of these translations fail to faithfully reproduce the original flavor of Dickinson's poetry. This study takes the only version of the current 17 translations that adopts the foreignization strategy, Zhou Jianxin's translated book, Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson: 601-900, as a research object to investigate Zhou's translation of poetic form and vocabulary through data statistics and textual analysis. It is found that Zhou has basically reproduced original punctuation marks and lexical connotations and achieved equivalence of lexical function and meaning in lexical translation. Zhou's translation shows no traces of translation. That is, it reads natural and fluent. It retains original thought-provoking content and form and is a successful example of adopting a foreignization strategy to translate Dickinson's poems into Chinese, which justifies that the application of foreignization strategy in the Chinese translation of Dickinson's poetry is not only necessary but also feasible, which is the purpose of this study. It is expected that this study should encourage more Chinese translators to apply the foreignization strategy in translating Dickinson's poetry in the future so as to further enhance the quality of Chinese translation of Dickinson's poetry and present a truer and more authentic image of Dickinson's poetry in the Chinese world.