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论英语典故与习语的来源与翻译

更新时间:2015-1-24:  来源:毕业论文

论英语典故与习语的来源与翻译
[Abstract] Idioms are fixed phrases that go through the test of history and cannot be treated separately. In order to be loyal to the original text, the translation of English idioms should not only keep the original taste of the source, but also meet the standards of writing, especially for mythology and allusion. Because English idioms have manifested and absorbed the different national culture of ancient Greek, ancient Rome, and Northern Europe, it is more typical and representative than other forms of language on reflecting the cultural diversity. Domestication and foreignization are two main methods of translation. And there are some concrete translation skills as follows: 1. Literal translation 2. Free translation 3. Borrowing 4. Literal translation with annotation. In the trend of cultural globalization, culture among various nationalities permeate and stick together mutually. And the readers’ ability to accept the new cultural imagery has improved day by day. Therefore so long as not to affect the understanding of source language, the author advocates translating English idioms directly as far as possible to carry on the culture, which promotes the exchange and fusion of culture all over the world.
[Key Words] idioms; allusion; translation methods

【摘 要】 习语是指那些经受了历史的长期考验,千锤百炼而形成的固定词组。为了忠于原文,习语翻译既要保持源语的原汁原味,也要符合译入语语言文字的需求。尤其在翻译习语中的神话典故时更应注意以下三点1.译入语结构的平衡2.译出源语的民族特色和地域色彩3.尽可能保留源语的形象。因为英语习语吸收了众多来自古希腊,古罗马,北欧古代神话等欧洲各民族的文化精髓,所以在体现语言的文化差异方面,习语比其他语言成分更具有典型性和代表性。基本的英语翻译方法有归化和异化,具体体现直译法,意译法,借用法,直译加注。在当前文化全球化的时代背景下,各民族间的文化相互渗透和融合的趋势愈来愈强。 人们对于外来文化、异国情调的包容、接纳以至欣赏能力也日渐提高。因此,作者认为只要在不影响译语读者理解的前提下,应提倡尽量以文化直入模式进行习语翻译,以促进世界文化的交流与融合。
【关键词】 习语;神话典故;翻译方法

1. Introduction
When opening Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English, one can see such an entry: “Idiom (n.) Phrase or sentence whose meaning is not clear from the meaning of its individual words and which must be learnt as a whole unit.” [1] And English translation theoretician Peter Newmark also said: “An idiom is a current and frequently used group of words whose meaning is not clear from the common meanings of its constituent words”. In brief, idioms are fixed phrases that go through the test of history and cannot be separated. So the whole meaning usually cannot be surmised in translation and the components must not be separated at one’s ease.

2. Background
English as an international language, its usage is wide-ranging. Many countries choose English as their official language. What is more, sixty percent of broadcasting in the world use English to propagate their information. Of course, there are many idioms in English and parts of them are loanwords. The features of assimilating loanwords in English are evident. On the one hand, it belongs to Germanic language family that enables it to take possession of the common words in Germanic language. On the other hand, English keeps in touch with French and Roman language family closely for a long time. The ancient Greek mythologies, Roman myths and fairy tales of northern Europe are the publicly owned wealth of European nations. They have deep influence on development of whole European culture in which many stories provide source materials for English idioms. Therefore, English idioms take in any word that can represent the main European culture. And it is more typical and representative than others in reflecting the cultural diversity. Just like Bacon said: Talent, quick-witted and spirit in a nation can all be found in its idioms.
2.1 The sources of English idioms
As everyone knows, idioms come from different aspects: different living environments; everyday life; religion; historical events; literary works and mythology and allusion.
2.1.1 Idioms from different living environments
   Idioms are closely related to people’s labor and life, because people in a particular culture need words to name and explain objects and appearance present in that culture. The Han People, live on land, and belong to an agrarian society that places agricultural production at the top of the national agenda. During the long history of farming, the Chinese language has accumulated large numbers of farmers’ idioms like 瑞雪兆丰年 (a time snow promises a good harvest), 五谷丰登(abundant harvest of all food crops). While British live in an island country, probably have idioms about water and sailing. For example, we speak挥金如土in Chinese,but we should render it into English as “spend money like water”. And there are similar examples as follows: “to keep one’s head about water” (奋力图存),“in full sail” (全力以赴), “tower one’s sail” (甘拜下风).
What is more, there come different special products determined by the different geographical surroundings. For example, “like mushrooms” and “spring up like mushrooms” in English , means 像蘑菇一样, and 雨后春笋般地涌现 in Chinese. Both of them have the same meaning of the great development of a thing, but they use their respective things to form the metaphor, because China abounds with bamboo, whereas it does not grow in England. So the Chinese people are quite familiar with bamboo; while the English don’t. This case is quite the same with the idiom “plentiful
as blackberries”, for blackberries are easily available in England while in Chinese, 多如牛毛 is used, for cattle can be found everywhere in China.
2.1.2 Idioms from everyday life
   Entertainment and activities, which are parts of national culture, are quite different in various countries. Horse racing, boxing and cricket are ancient and traditional sports in England, so in English, there are idioms like “neck and neck” (不分上下),“down and out”(倒下出局),“not cricket” (不讲信用),and “straight from the shoulder” (直截了当),and “have a good innings” (一帆风顺);whereas the ancient Chinese preferred hunting and chess: 棋逢对手 (diamond cut diamond), 剑拔弩张(at daggers drawn), 明枪易躲,暗箭难防(False friends are worse than open enemies). There are some aspects in everyday life in the following.
(ⅰ) Idioms from food
   In England, bread is usually eaten together with butter, and salt, milk and cream are their everyday diet. All of them are the everyday diet for western people and thus appear “There is no use crying over spilt milk” (不要做无谓的后悔),“baker’s dozen” (面包师的第十三个面包), and “polish the apple” (拍马屁);China has a long history of cooking and the Chinese are known as the most critical, for who attach greater importance to food than any other people, as is reflected in the saying like: 画饼充饥 (to draw cakes to allay hunger)
(ⅱ) Idioms from sea
   Both in the Chinese and the English languages, idioms about the sea are numerous, because both of these two countries are surrounded and half-surrounded by sea, and they are rich in natural resources of fish. Fishing plays a vital role in their economy, so a large number of idioms concerning fish are handed down: “Fish begins to stink at the head” (上梁不正下梁歪), “Never offer to teach fish to swim” (不要班门弄斧),and “to fish in troubled water” (浑水摸鱼).
(ⅲ) Idioms from military affairs
The history of mankind is almost the history of war, which is the source of numerous idioms. The Chinese nation has a long history of war for more than two thousand years, and therefore the Chinese language is rich in such idioms: 项庄舞剑,意在沛公 (Xiang Zhuang performed the sword dance as a cover for his attempt on Liu Bang’s life.---act with a hidden motive); 四面楚歌(be in desperate straits); 暗度陈仓(to steal a march on). And it is also mirrored in the following English idioms: “What millions died that Caesar might be great” (一将功成万骨枯); “Meet one’s Waterloo” (遭遇惨败); “Pyrrhic victory” (得不偿失的胜利); and gentleman’s agreement (君子协定).
2.1.3 Idioms from religion
Religion is an important source for idioms. It is a social phenomenon and mainly a code of ethics governing personal and social conduct. Comparatively speaking, Buddhism has greater influence in Chinese culture although China is a multi-religious country. It was first introduced into China in the first century AD, and has shaped the Chinese language, diet, arts, etc., and greatly stimulated the development of Chinese literature. The large number of words and idioms derived from Buddhism is one of the manifestations of its influence, such as 放下屠刀,立地成佛 (A butcher becomes a Buddha the moment he drops his cleaver---a wrongdoer achieves salvation as soon as he gives up evil) and 做一天和尚,撞一天钟 (take a passive attitude toward one’s work). And there are quite a few English idioms from religion. Such as: Benjamin’s mess (最大的份额);
raise Cain (大吵大闹); apple of Sodom (金玉其外,败絮其中); sop to Cerberus (贿赂); handwriting on the wall (不祥之兆) and so on.
2.1.4 Idioms from historical events
In most language, people embellish their speech or writing with references to characters or events from their history, that is to say, idiomatic expressions are closely related to a country’s history. There are a lot of idioms in the Chinese language cannot find an equivalent in the English language because the history of the two countries are quite different. Many idioms are from their own history. The English language has much less idioms from historical events than the Chinese language because English just has a history of more than one thousand years during which less important historical events happened. For example, “to meet one’s Waterloo” (遭遇滑铁卢) is from the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815, which means to be completely defeated.
2.1.5 Idioms from literary works
Literary works are also one of the main sources of English idioms. In English literature, the most glittering star is Shakespeare. His dramas are the major source of this kind idioms: “to claim one’s pound of flesh” (割某人的一磅肉) is from The Merchant of Venice; “make assurance doubly sure” (加倍小心) comes from Macbeth. And there are other examples: “Reading makes a full man, conference a ready man, writing an exact man”---Bacon On Study; “ the ugly ducking”(丑小鸭) is from Han Anderson’s tales; “Jekyll and Hyde” (双重性格) originates from Stevenson’s The Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; “open sesame” and “old man of the sea” come from Arabian tales.
2.1.6 Idioms from mythology and allusion
In this thesis, the author focuses on the translation of mythologies and allusions in English idioms, which come from stories of Gods and heroes. As we all know, Greek and Roman civilizations have a great influence on English, so the Greek and Roman civilizations have great influence on English idioms. Let’s pay attention to the following idioms:
(1) “Achilles’ heel” (致命弱点) which comes from the Greek mythology has the meaning “the one weak spot in a man’s circumstances or character”. In Greek epic, his mother took Achilles upside down into the Styx when he was a child. So he was arms-proof except his heel because it was held in his mother’s hand. Therefore in Troy war, he died for Paris shot a poisoned arrow into his heel.
(2) Other examples, “Hercules’s choice” means “the reward of toil in reference to pleasure”, “the Herculian efforts” (九牛二虎之力),and “the pillars of Hercules” (天涯海角). It is said that Hercules was one of the most famous heroes in Greek mythologies. He killed two snakes when he was a baby, and was known as a man of muscle. He refused the Pleasure Goddess’s allure, went through innumerable hardships and in the end, he won the eternal life.
Idioms have been called the crystallization of language. An appropriate use of them in our speech and writing will add to the strength and vividness of idioms. Perhaps some people are quite familiar with “to cut the Gordian knot” and “A Pandora’s box” such allusions not only make the language richer, but also make communication much more vivider and easier. However, in daily communication, people usually don’t know why “Hobson’s choice” means no choice at all (别无选择); “pile Pelion on Ossa” means extremely difficult (难上加难), or “Mercury fig” means the first fruit (最初的果实). If the source of an idiom is known, it is easier to figure out its meaning. It is
difficult to translate idioms faithfully because idioms reflect the wisdom of ordinary people that is
all-inclusive. The knowledge of the sources of these idioms will help us comprehend what they really mean.
2.2 The difficulties in the translation of English idioms
In the 1950’s the American writer Hockett put forward the concept “random holes in patterns”文化空缺which means “the accidental gap” in conservation when contrasting two languages. And Nida had said: There must be information drains in any course of conservation and the absolute equity is never possible. The goal of translation is conservation in maximum to enable the foreign readers understand the source culture. There are two reasons as follows. Firstly, the formation and solidification of English idioms are in relationship with the different histories, environments and cultural backgrounds. It contains certain national culture characteristics and information. Furthermore, Chinese and English live in different regions, so their living environments and experiences are different, especially in their ways to observe the world, understand the world and transform the world. Their culture atmospheres are unique. Secondly, Chinese belongs to the Sino-Tibetan language family while English belongs to the Indo-European language family, so their language structures are different. All mentioned above enrich the idioms and make them more complex.
2.3 The development of translation principle
The principle of translation between English and Chinese has developed for a long time. About translation standards, translators from home and abroad put forward different opinions. From Yan Fu’s “faithfulness, expressiveness, elegance” to Mr. Zhang Peiji’s “faithfulness and smoothness”; from Fu Lei’s “approximation in spirit” to the American famous translation theoretician Eugene Nida’s “functional equivalence” or “dynamic equivalence”, we may see that these positions affect each other, supplement each other although their emphases are different. The focus is to translate the source text faithfully, meanwhile, to keep the original taste as much as possible.
The quality of idioms translation has the direct influence on the entire article. In order to be loyal to the original text, the translation must not only maintain its original taste and flavor, but also conform to the demand of writing in target language. However, the idioms translation is difficult to meet these two standards at the same time. It is extremely important to translate idioms faithfully, and the translation between English and Chinese must pay attention to following three points:
(ⅰ) Idioms are heavily culture-loaded; they have manifested different national flavors. Therefore, the translation of idioms must try to keep the original taste and not to use those target words that have strong national characteristics.
(ⅱ) Chinese idioms stress to the rhythm and structure. So it is necessary to augment or readjust the original language structure when translating English idioms.
(ⅲ) Do one’s best to translate the original images, metaphoric meaning and rhetoric of the source language.

3. On the Translation Methods of English Idioms
3.1 Two main translation approaches of English idioms
Domestication and foreignization are two main approaches of translation. The US translation theoretician Venuti defines the two methods as follow:
Domestication adopts the national center principle, enables the source language text to satisfy the value of target language and culture, and leads the source language readers into the target culture, while foreignization means to accept the differences between foreign language culture and target language culture to take target language readers to see the foreign scene. From the definitions, we can see both of them hold different approaches toward the cultural differences. But the author believes that the domestication is the best way to enrich the expression of target language. Adopting domestication in maximum can enable the target language readers emerge the same or the similar association as the source language readers.
3.2 Four concrete translation skills of English idioms
There are some concrete skills of translation between English and Chinese, which are cited as follows:
1. Literal translation
2. Free translation 
3. Borrowing
4. Literal translation with annotation
The author reveals the methods in detail in the following.
3.2.1 Literal translation
Literal translation can fairly retain the English idioms’ analogy; image; national and local flavors, in the position of not violating the standard of translation or causing the readers misunderstand. This way of translation can not only retain the original intention, but also enrich Chinese language. It can be seen clearly in the following examples:
(3) An apple of discord (不和女神的金苹果) comes from Greek mythology. The story is about: a goddess named discord is angry and never forgives King Paris and his wife because they don’t invite her to participate in their wedding banquet. In order to give vent to the hate, she abandons a golden apple on the table of wedding banquet; declaring that this apple is given to the most beautiful lady in this wedding banquet. There are three goddesses want to obtain this golden apple. And then it causes wrangle in a mess. From then on, the meaning of an apple of discord spreads. It becomes the synonym of “the cause of disaster” and “the source of the disagreement”.
(4) These are the Greek gifts for you. The literal translation of this idiom is 希腊人的礼物, which comes from the well-known epic poem “Odyssey”. When the Greek had left Troy, they left behind a big wooden horse outside the Troy city. Priest Laocoon tried his best to persuade his king not to accept the thing that the Greek stayed behind. He said that, “I fear the Greek, even when bringing gifts.” But what a pity, the king and the people did not listen to his advice. They pulled the big wooden horse into their city. Actually, in the wooden horse there hid the most excellent Greek soldiers. At that night, they killed the Trojan and fired the city. This wooden horse brought disaster to the Troy. In English Greek gifts is equal to the proverb: When the fox preaches, take care of your geese. The similar Chinese idiom is “the yellow weasel goes to his respects to the hen-----with the best of intention”. 黄鼠狼给鸡拜年―不安好心.
Other examples are:
(5) Achilles‘ heel which means the only weakness, or strategic point 致命弱点;
(6) Cut the Gordian knot means taking the drastic measures, in Chinese means 快刀斩乱麻;
(7) The sword of Damocles, the sword hanging above Damocles’ head compares to the worrying mentality 忧患意识
Furthermore, we should never neglect the following facts. Make a general survey of the history of translation, we are not difficult to see many literal translations are temporary means to meet emergency. The most remarkable represent is transliterations. Going through a long time, transliteration stands firmly and slowly and is gradually accepted by Chinese. In the end they become our everyday terms. Like “humor, sofa, hamburger” and so on. And we should realize another two ways of translation: one is imitating the original text that is more or less a little nondescript, and the other is explaining the original text clearly, but it would be lengthy. Translating the allusion in English idioms is the same.
(8) Here is a typical example on transliteration. Right now the Chinese are probably familiar with these two words: science and democracy. But in fact, they are not locally born. On the early 20th century, the translations of these two words were rather strange to us. The former is transliterated into 赛因斯 or shortened as Mr. Sai(赛先生), while the latter is 德谟克拉西 or shortened as Mr. De(德先生). Afterwards they are changed into 科学and 民主.  Even Mr. Lu Xun also has made the very interesting attempt in this aspect. He translated English word  “fairplay” into 费尔泼赖 which was accepted by the Chinese at that time. Actually, either “science” or “fair play” is just a temporary ideal approach of translation in the situation that had no equivalents in Chinese.
(9) There is another example. In the 1960’s there was a large quantity of young men called “the decadents” in America. They were discontented with the social situation, hated anything, held the resistance to the traditional value, did anything new and different in order to out of ordinary, kept the long hair, wore the outlandish clothes, and advocated intercourse freely. They were called “hippies” in English. How to translate it into Chinese? Since in Chinese glossary, no ready-made word can express the above section of speeches. Summarizing the word as “the men to counter tradition” or “people dissatisfying the reality” unavoidably lose the cultural meaning. So transliterating “hippies” into 嬉皮士 can well solve this problem.
3.2.2 Free translation
Free translation is similar to domestication. It refers to such a translation method: when the translators are confined by the target language cultural differences; they have to discard cultural message to keep the original content and its communicative function. Free translation is an incorporating explanation to deal with cultural differences. Obviously free translation in the process of dealing with cultural difference is very important. Regarding the readers who never get in touch with Mongolia and Peacey which is translated into 达蒙和皮西阿斯, they do not have any ideas of this idiom even if the translation looks so faithful. Even more, the source information lost completely.
Both literal translation and free translation are loyal to the original text. In fact, here is a dialectical unification. Because the traditional translation is too subjective, Nida proposed functional equivalence viewpoint that is more objective. It means to request the target language readers to have the same or similar response with the source language reader. The majority of target language readers do not understand the source language and culture exactly. They grow in at total different environments; their thinking modes of question are different. So the translators have to seek some kind of language that contains the same cultural information of the source language.
However, functional equivalence theory has its limitation. Stating from preceding translation methods, Nada’s theory indeed gains great achievement in translating idioms. It has abandoned the form to focus on the content, put aside the language difference to focus on the readers’ response, compared with the translation theory before; it can be rated as one kind of innovation. Therefore, the functional equivalence doubles the translation favor, and was once fashionable all over China in 1980s. Until now, the influence of functional equivalence is still extensive. But someone points out that Nida raised his viewpoint when he studied the translation strategy of “Holy Bible”. So it is more suitable for the missionary idioms that are in religious ancient books, myths and fables in the western culture.
For example:
(10) A Juda’s kiss comes from “Holy Bible”;
(11) As wise as Solomon are from Greek and Roman myth.
Although this kind of structure of idioms is simple, its significance is profound, and its cultural characteristics are strong, so they often cannot be understood or translated from the semantic level. It must be transplanted directly from the source language culture to the target language culture. This method is called “cultural facsimile”. Venutt proposed his “Resistance translation” [10] as a kind of solution for translation between Chinese and English. He thought translation itself undertook the cultural exchange and the readers have the ability to understand the external culture completely. What is more, foreignness will play an important role in enriching the target language in future.
(12) Just like one hundred years ago, “All roads lead to Rome” was translated into reaching the same goal or conclusion from different approaches (殊途同归) . But today it is translated into each strip path passes to the Rome(条条大路通罗马) because the Chinese have accepted the word Rome. Perhaps certain years later, the Chinese can also accept the idiom “Mongolia and Peacey”. Besides this change there is another situation in the interior change of the source language. For example, in the period of pre-liberation and at the beginning of liberation the peasants stood for those men who were short of education; they are ignorant, backward and poor because of the low productive force. But now along with the change of peasants’ social position, the cultural information of peasants has been changed. At present, the word “farmers” is more appropriate to refer to the Chinese “农民” than the word “peasants”. So we say different times have different translated editions. Just as Nida said “A translated work, no matter how much it approaches the original work, its life is no more than 50 years”. [11] It is also the reason why there are massive retranslations of a same source text over and over again.
In addition, both idioms in Chinese and English take root in myth, fable, and allusion and so on. This kind of idioms may be called the literary idioms. So it is worth drawing out the original literary plots when necessary. It can be clearly seen in the below examples:
(13) Helen of Troy绝色美女;
(14) The Trojan horse特洛伊木马;
(15) Between Scylla and Charybdis which means being attacked front and rear, in a dilemma进退维谷and so on.
3.2.3 Borrowing
Do a single observation and research in Chinese and English idioms carefully, we can discover that a few Chinese and English idioms have the same form and connotation. Some even have the same significance and construction. This is because these two languages and cultures have similarity, so we may translate each other mutually.
(16) Take “burn one’s boat” for example. The story is: in 55BC of the ancient Rome, when great Caesar commanded his troops to cross the Rubicon, he issued an order to fire the boats to express their determination “not wins, rather die”. This is similar to a Chinese idiom:破釜沉舟which means “break the cauldrons and sink the boats (after crossing)”.[11] The overlord Xiang Yu in the Spring and Autumn Period did it to let his subordinate be determined to win. These two idioms carry the same cultural connotation, and are used to express the identical meaning-- setting firm resolution to win. So when translating idioms like this, to adopt the synonymy idioms in Chinese is better. Such cultural phenomenon is called cultural overlaps. Borrowing the similar images in the target language culture to replace the original images is much easier to understand forhttp://www.lwfree.cn the target language readers. There are some interesting examples as follow:
(17) Premier Zhou accompanied with the foreign guests to enjoy the famous play Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai. The interpreter tried his best to explain the love story for the foreigner, but he failed. While Premier Zhou said: they are Romeo and Juliet in China, and this suddenly enlightened the foreign guests. Premier Zhou had just borrowed the image in the foreigners’ culture. So they can understand the love story without any difficulty.
(18) Yang Yuhuan, who is familiar to Chinese while not to the foreigner. We can explain it like that: She was Helen of Troy in China.
(19) Damon and Pythias, which some men urge to translate it directly, while other men believe that translating it into men believe friendship unto death (莫逆之交) or friends who are willing to die for one another (刎颈之交)is better because the majority of Chinese do not know Damon and Pythias.[12] The author believes that explaining them into Guan Zhong and Bao Shuya in Chinese may enable the Chinese easily to understand.
In order to avoid the misunderstanding and inviting ridicule, translators had better not use this method without thinking. As a result of difference between Chinese and English, some idioms in one kind of culture are self-evident. But it is very difficult to understand the same idioms in another culture. Even the identical words and expressions in idioms often have the different meanings in different cultural backgrounds. Some people like using the idioms to translate idioms, especially the four characters idiom to translate English idioms. Actually, idioms can reflect a national cultural and writing characteristic. Sometimes certain idioms look the same but their practical significance is quite different. Sometimes they are apparently right but actually wrong.
(20) For example: the idiom “a square peg in a round hole / A round peg in a square hole” is translated into “方枘圆凿” is not exactly. The meaning of this English idiom is narrow. It refers to somebody who is not suit for taking on some duty or some incompatible with environment. But the meaning of  方枘圆凿 that is broader. It is refers to all the things that do not coincide. So idioms contain quite obvious national and local colors are hard to translate.
And it is also another kind of foreignization. It not only preserves the original idioms’ significance, the vivid significance and the concealment significance, but also retains the original idioms’ style to make the target language readers understand and accept better.
3.2.4 Literal translation with annotation
Some idioms have strong national characteristics and cultural taste. Their significances have been familiar to English-speaking people and extensively used. However, if only translating them without explaining, the target language readers who are not familiar with their unique cultural flavor can hardly comprehend it. Annotating idioms is good for the target language readers to understand. Literal translation with annotation is another kind of annotation. It can make up for the latent significance and correlative background knowledge of idioms. Adding the annotations and comments in the margin will work well. It not only makes the target language readers achieve the same effect as free translation, but also gives them more detailed information.  
(21) For example: “in the arms of Morpheus”. It means falling asleep or sleeping soundly. (Note: Morpheus is god of sleep in the Greek mythology)
Each idiom’s sentimental color as well as the association is dissimilar. Therefore when translating the source language to the target language, we should pay close attention to its national characteristics, sentimental colors, cultural elements and local colors in order to keep the original nationality. The contemporary famous translation theoretician Peter Newmark believes that “As the last resort, explanation is the translation”(解释就是翻译). [13] Practice testifies that literal translation with annotation is very efficacious.
(22) Take “the Pandora’s box” for example. Its literal translation is "box of the Pandora". The target language readers affirmably do not understand what the box of the Pandora is and what it is used for. At that time, translators had better explain its source in the Greek mythology for the readers. Then they can understand “the Pandora’s box” means the infinitive disaster or source of disaster. It can be clearly seen in the following sentence.
“They have by this very act opened a Pandora’s box..他们这种做法犹如打开了潘多拉的盒子----引起混乱,造成不幸”
(23) “A Barmecidal Feast” which is translated into 巴米萨式的宴会. If the translator translates it into 虚情假意的宴请, he can not deliver the literary reference and image of the source text to the target language readers successfully. There is another choice. Translate it into 巴米萨请客---虚情假意,just as Chinese enigmatic folk similes. Or we can add a footnote to explain the idiom, which may help the target language readers  understand this idiom more easily.
4. Conclusion
In the thesis, some important strategies of the translation of English idioms are talked about. Through theoretical analysis and research results, it is concluded that these strategies make great contribution to the development of translation. An idiom usually has an implied meaning. It cannot be interpreted only according to its literal meaning. Indeed there is much cultural information in English that is vacated in Chinese. Perhaps at the very beginning, the target language readers would feel truly “Culture Shock”(文化冲击) [14], but as time goes on, they become accustomed to the idioms that come from other cultures. The author believes firmly that the reader’s ability to accept the new cultural images is hard to assess and cannot be underestimated. With the frequenter international communication day by day, the readers get in touch with more and more external culture; the readers nowadays will understand and absorb the foreign culture without difficulty. Therefore so long as not to affect the understanding of the source language, the author advocates translating idiom literally as far as possible to carry on the culture which promotes the cultural exchange among the different countries and makes great progress to the cultural globalization.
Just because of the great importance of translating strategies, the aim of this paper is to produce efficient English translation strategies and enable the target language readers understand the foreign culture more easily. So it suggests some useful strategies to help them solve the problem of “random holes in patterns”.
With the help of these strategies, the target language readers will be lightened. But the most useful strategy for them is getting in touch with foreign culture as much as possible by themselves. At that time, the problem of “Culture Shock” will become a paper tiger, no longer blocking the way of efficient and effective English translation.

References

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