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Analysis of the Chinese-English Translation of Public Signs: A Functional Theory Perspective

Zhiwei Wang, Kate Benedicta Amenador
Published 20 July 2020

Abstract

To achieve an internationally friendly community by interacting better with the foreign nationals in its territory and improving its image in the international world, China has since 2004 made a purported effort to translate and standardize the public signs, which are notices meant for public consumption located at public places or institutions in its domain. However, it has been observed from the bilingual translation of these public signs that, there still exist some translation problems. Therefore, the author of this study after an in-depth discussion of the core concepts of the functional theory and its principles of translation, analyzed the first-hand photos of bilingual public sign and text samples obtained at vantage places utilize by foreigners. Critical observation and analysis of the samples were conducted to find out problems associated with the translated public signs in one of the oldest historical towns in China with various pictorial examples as evidences to buttress the findings and finally suggested the way forward to having Chinese- English(C- E) translation of public signs devoid of errors. The identification of these translation errors would help translators in China to pay more attention during the translation process of C-E public sign in order to lift high the image of China in the international world through the production of quality and meaningful C-E pblic signs in China. This study would also contribute a country-specific knowledge regarding the translation of public signs to the field of study as it will serve as a reference literature to other scholar.

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