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Sperber Wilson

On the Explanation of the Duality of the Translating Principles on the Part of Optimal
MENG Jian-gang
(Foreign Languages Department, Xiangtan Normal University, Xiangtan 411201,
Abstract: This paper intends to expound the duality of the translating principles in the
framework of Sperber & Wilson's Relevance Theory, holding that the translating
strategy of either the foreignization principle or the domestication principle should
neither be adhered to throughout and that the application of either one should mainly
depend on the communicative intentions of the author of the source language and of
the translator.The notion of optimal relevance in the Relevance Theory can effectively
account for the application of both the foreignization principle and the domestication
principle in translating and for their unity of opposites.The explanation of translating
and translation reading on the part of optimal relevance can settle down the endless
disputes on the translating principles.
Key words: optimal relevance; the foreignization principle; the domestication
principle; unity of opposites; communicative intentions

Sperber Wilson
(1986/1995)(optimal relevance)

ostensive(Sperber &
Wilson, 1986/1995)
(to achieve adequate contextual effects for no
unjustifiable processing effort)

1 Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Eugene Nida1969

a b


(cultural default)

(field clues)

(prototypical picture)

Eugene Nida1969
Peter Newmark1981 Nida


Nida ''

(Newmark, 198151)
Newmark Newmark
(most relevance)*

(Gutt, 1991)



(blackmarket) (cold war)

(cultural drift)


3 Among so many well-dressed and cultured people, the country girl felt like a
fish out of water./

4 a stick-and-carrot policy/
5 Time is money./
a fish out of water a stick-and-carrot policy
Time is money.


6Shall I compare thee to a summer s day?

(7) Her(Scarlett) new green flowered-muslin dress spread is twelve yards of billowing
material over her hoops and exactly matched the flat-heeled green morocco slippers
her father had recently brought her from Atlanta. (Gone with the Wind)/

David Hawkes1973
The Story of the StoneHawkes
The Dream of the
Red Chamber

Eugene Nida(1993152)

8Many Canadians have never read a newspaper though some newspapers are
free, because they do not know their ABC.






p.67/The beauty of caressing lies in doing naturally and half
unconsciously. Only a country bumpkin will hug and caress a woman roughly.
10 (p.158)/
Hueilai gave me two Mexican dollars which I gave to Ts'ao, but Ts'ao would not take
them; only after my insistence did he receive one dollar before going away.

p.7/Of a slender figure, she had drooping shoulders and a rather
long neck, slim but not to the point of being skinny. Her eyebrows were arched and in
her eyes there was a look of quick intelligence and soft refinement. The only defect
was that her two front teeth were slightly inclined forward, which was not a mark of
good omen.





linguistic adaptation

(to achieve the greatest possible contextual effects with
the smallest possible processing effort)

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[8] Gentzler, E. Contemporary Translation Theories[M]. Loutledge: London and New
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[9] Hawkes, David. The Story of the Stone, Vols.1-3. Penguin Books, 1973.
[10] Newmark, Peter. Approaches to Translation[M]. Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1981.
[11] Nida Eugene A. $ Taber Charles R. The Theory and Practice of Translation[M].
Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1969.
[12] Nida, Eugene A. Language, Culture and Translating[M]. Shanghai: Shanghai
Foreign Language Education Press, 1993.

[13] Sperber, D. And Wilson, D. Relevance: Communication and Cognition[M].

Oxford: Basil Blackwell,1986/1995.
[14] Venuti, L. The Translator's Invisibility____A HISTORY OF Translation[M].
Loutledge: London and New York, 1995.
: (1964-),,,,

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