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A Case Study in Lyrics Translation of The One Hundred and One Best Songs
The One Hundred and One Best Songs
The One Hundred and One Best Songs was published by Taiwan Provincial Education Association in March, 1952. Eighty nine songs were translated by eight translators: Hsiao Er–hua, Chou Zue–pu, Hai Chou, Chang Yi, Liu Ting–fang, Wang Fei–li, Ting Tso–jen, Wang Yu–yuan. This was the first lyrics translation activity led by Taiwan Government. As several worldwide famous songs in this book are collected in the music textbooks in primary education, almost everyone is familiar with lyrics translation since young. However, lyrics translation has not received much attention from the research community. The purpose of this thesis is to explore language phenomena, musical elements and cultural contents of the Chinese lyrics. Adopting Christiane Nord’s text analysis method, this study discusses lyrics translation strategies, the challenges the translators faced, and also the background and function of The One Hundred and One Best Songs. The findings in this text analysis indicate that the lyrics translation of these world-famous songs followed a certain pattern and rules during that period. Except sacred songs, translators were free to choose between faithful expression and total rewrite. These translators used various rhetorical devices to demonstrate the literariness of the lyrics in accordance with the contemporary Chinese poetics. Rhyming and musicality was considered a necessity, while a certain foreignization was applied. This research also finds that there is no unified standard for translating these lyrics in terms of their language use or rhetorical devices. What is clear is that the themes of the song lyrics were rendered morally right and spiritually encouraging. As these world-famous songs traveled, they have been transformed and adjusted to our cultural contexts. Through music, the educational purpose and the appreciation of the world culture has been achieved by these successful lyrics translation.
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