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Translator’s Style Revisited: A Case Study of Howard Goldblatt’s Style in Translating Chinese Novels

Style in Translation: A Corpus-Based Perspective pp 43-56 | Cite as

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Part of the New Frontiers in Translation Studies book series (NFTS)


This chapter is an investigation of the style in translated Chinese novels by Howard Goldblatt, a research professor who has translated many modern and contemporary Chinese novels into English, in accordance with the corpus methodology proposed by Baker (Target 12 (2): 241–266 , 2000). The translations of Gladys Yang, another renowned translator of Chinese literature, are taken as a comparable corpus. The results show that the statistics provided by corpus tools, such as standardized type-token ratio, mean sentence length, frequencies of reporting verbs and optional use of reporting that are not so significant for differentiating different translators ’styles. It is proposed that the translator’s style be categorized into two sub-types: S-type (source text type) and T-type (target text type). The former refers to the regularities manifested in the distinctive strategies adopted by the translators in coping with specific source language phenomena in all their translations, while the latter focuses on the habitual linguistic behavior of individual translators. Additionally, it shows that the T-type translator’s style seems, based on the present corpus statistics, to belong to the translational style or translation universals, that is, to the universal features of the translated language; while the S-type is of more significance in translation studies. Finally, a multiple-complex model of comparison is proposed for the study of translator’s style.


Chinese Novels Sentence Length Universal Translation Renowned Translator Corpus Methodology
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

The term used by Baker is “translator’s style” (2000: 245). Saldanha (2011a) employs “translator style” to differentiate from “translation style.” We prefer the former in this research.

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© Shanghai Jiao Tong University Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Xi’an International Studies UniversityXi ANChina