On the Translation of Wushu Terms: From the Perspective of Skopostheorie

Master's Thesis, 2015
72 Pages, Grade: 1



Wushu, also known as martial arts, is one of the typical demonstrations of traditional Chinese culture. It is not only a sporting exercise but also an artistic form. The main function of Wushu is building up a sound form and meanwhile some illnesses are expected to be cured in the process. The origin can be traced back to the primitive society where wild animals outnumbered the human beings and the living condition was fairly adverse. The ancient people adopted the primitive defending skills such as beating, kicking, attacking, jumping, leaping, etc. to fend themselves. Gradually, they learned how to make weapons out of stone or wood tools and later on developed the hunting and fighting skills with bare hands and apparatus. That is the initial stage of Wushu.

Wushu origins from China, but belongs to the world. It is the essence of Chinese culture, whose profound connotations are increasingly recognized and accepted by the people all over the world. Therefore, in order to promote the further communications between Chinese culture and the outer world, Wushu terms translation is of primary significance. Many scholars have done relevant researches about Wushu terms translation; however, the existing deficiency and mistranslation in the Wushu terms translation have hindered the process of Wushu’s modernization and internationalization to a certain extent.

Germany functional translation theorist Vermeer assumes that translation is an intentional activity and the very purpose of translation determines which translation strategy and method to be adopted. In view of the limitations of previous Wushu terms translation, the author intends to analyze Wushu terms translation from the perspective of skopos theory and such relevant approaches as text type. Cultural factors, which play an important role in communication and in the course of translation, are also elaborated.

With the research, the author manages to reach a conclusion that the functions of text type should be taken seriously by the translator in the process of Wushu terms translation and the acceptability of target readers should also be taken into account in achieving the translation purpose as it determines the right strategies to be taken. Besides, the unique Chinese culture embodied in Wushu terms should be displayed and transmitted as much as possible.

The author is not supposed to come up with a final solution, but intends to express her own views on the translation of Wushu term in the hope of providing some valuable reference for future studies.

KEYWORDS: Wushu, terms translation, skopostheorie, translation strategy

Table of Contents

Chapter One Introduction ... 1

1.1 Research Background ... 1

1.2 The Significance of the Research ... 2

1.3 Outline of the Thesis ... 3

Chapter Two Literature Review ... 5

2.1 Data Collection and Research Methodology ... 5

2.2 Studies of Wushu Terms and Difficulties in Wushu Terms Translation ... 6

2.3 Existing Problems in the Studies ... 9

Chapter Three An Overview of Wushu and Wushu Terms Translation ... 11

3.1 A Brief Introduction of Wushu and Wushu Terms ... 11

3.1.1 The Definition of Chinese Wushu ... 11

3.1.2 History and Evolution of Wushu ... 11

3.1.3 The Role of Wushu ... 12

3.1.4 The Importance of Translating Wushu Terms ... 14

3.2 The Functions of Wushu ... 15

3.3 The Features of Wushu Terms ... 17

3.3.1 Visualization ... 17

3.3.2 Concision ... 18

3.3.3 Descriptiveness ... 18

3.3.4 Dynamic Qualities ... 19

3.4 Different Types of Wushu Terms ... 20

3.4.1 Terms Involving Natural Phenomenon ... 20

3.4.2 Terms Involving Weapons ... 21

3.4.3 Terms Displaying Pure Action ... 21

3.4.4 Terms Involving Visualized Images ... 23 Borrowing ... 23 Mimicking Human Actions ... 26 Mimicking Motions of Animals ... 27

3.5 The Limitations in Previous Studies of Wushu Terms Translation ... 28

Chapter Four Theoretical Framework—Skopostheorie ... 31

4.1 Introduction ... 31

4.2 Representatives of Skopos Theory ... 31

4.3 Basic Concepts of Skopos Theory ... 33

4.3.1 Skopos ... 33

4.3.2 Translation Brief ... 33

4.3.3 Adequacy and Equivalence ... 34

4.3.4 The Role of Text Classifications ... 34

4.4 Rules of Skopos Theory ... 35

4.4.1 Skopos Rule ... 35

4.4.2 The Coherence Rule ... 36

4.4.3 The Fidelity Rule ... 37

Chapter Five The Application of Skopos Theory to Wushu Terms Translation ... 39

5.1 Translating Wushu Terms with a "Skopos" ... 39

5.1.1 Addressee ... 39

5.1.2 Communicative Situation ... 40

5.1.3 Translator and Initiator 40

5.1.4 Source-Text Producer, Target-Text Receiver and Target-Text User ... 42

5.2 Translation Guided by the Theory of Text Type ... 42

5.2.1 Informative Type ... 43

5.2.2 Expressive Type ... 43

5.3 The Principles of Wushu Terms Translation ... 44

5.3.1 Acceptability ... 45

5.3.2 Preservation of the Characteristics of Chinese Culture ... 46

5.3.3 Transmitting Information ... 48

5.4 Wushu Terms Translation Strategies ... 48

5.5 Methods Commonly Adopted in Wushu Terms Translation ... 50

5.5.1 Transliteration ... 51

5.5.2 Literal Translation ... 52

5.5.3 Combination of Transliteration and Literal Translation ... 53

5.5.4 Interpretive Translation ... 53

5.5.5 Free Translation ... 54

5.5.6 Borrowing ... 54

5.6 Difficulties in Translating Wushu Terms ... 55

5.6.1 Few References ... 55

5.6.2 Translators' Deficiency in Translating Competence ... 56

5.6.3 Cultural Factors ... 56

Chapter Six Conclusion ... 61

6.1 Major Findings and Conclusion ... 61

6.2 Limitations & Suggestions for Further Study ... 62

Acknowledgements ... 64

Bibliography ... 65

Chapter One Introduction

1.1 Research Background

Influenced by its healthy sports form and its profound cultural reservation, more and more foreigners have shown interests in Wushu and are motivated to learn this skill. Therefore, this Chinese traditional sport is spreading throughout the world in a fast speed in recent years.

However, the translation of Wushu terms is a new and distinctive branch in the translation field. As everybody knows, Wushu particularly belongs to China. Hence, most of the Wushu terms are original without their equivalents in English. With its gradual spreading in the world, the translation of the Wushu terms seems to have failed to meet the requirements of the people all over the world. The researches on the translation of Wushu terms, undoubtedly, have attracted much attention from the translators as well as the linguists. Wushu translation and Wushu terms translation both began at the end of 20th century. The first English Wushu textbook, Wushu Textbook for International Wushu Coach, was published in 1986 ( Xie Shoude, 2007). Another one,Textbook for International Wushu Judges was translated and published by Chinese Wushu Association the following year. In 1988, English-Chinese & Chinese-English Wushu Glossary which is the first book targeting on the Wushu terms translation was published. Later on, two other dictionaries concerning Wushu, C-E & E-C Wushu Dictionary (1989), and Simplified Chinese Wushu Dictionary (1990) were also issued one after another. In addition, many Wushu terms are just randomly rendered into different versions depending on the will of the translators, and later these versions are usually freely quoted on different occasions. These phenomena always make it difficult for foreigners to find the appropriate information they really need. Thus, many obstacles during the process of communication have been set up in Wushu’s further spreading.

1.2 The Significance of the Research

Nowadays, the world is becoming a global village where people are living surrounded by a rich culture. China is developing vigorously in recent years, especially after entering into WTO, and China has shown her tremendous achievements in economy to the world by holding several international big events, such as 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. All of these facts have proved that China is playing a more and more important role in the world and she is spreading her unique culture to the world. Wushu, a symbol of Chinese traditional culture, is exerting an essential influence on the foreigners and Wushu practicers. Therefore, the translation of Wushu terms is of paramount significance for promoting Chinese culture. Being aware of the existing problems, some scholars have tried to solve them from their respective points of views. But their researches seem poor both in quality and quantity. The search resulting from www.cnki.com indicates that there were only 10 articles directly related to the translation of Wushu terms from 1999 to 2008. Upon further deliberation, the author found these theses mainly concentrated on the translation methods which simply lead to the production of many a translation. Hence, the problems still exist. Generally speaking, translating Wushu terms mainly aims at providing its necessary and reasonable information to the target receivers. The question is that Wushu terms, most of which contain strong cultural distinctions, always appear in different materials under different kinds of occasions and targeting to different receivers. In this regard, many factors, such as, the function of the materials, receivers and occasions, should be all considered during the process of Wushu terms translations.

The findings of the Wushu terms translation researches may help bring about more remarkable rendered Wushu and avoid translation defects. Besides, the researches also have theoretical significance in that it is not only concerned with linguistics, but cultural elements. Accordingly, the studies on Wushu terms translation will definitely provide insights into linguistic researches and promote the studies of the combination of linguistic theories and translation theories in the practice of Wushu terms translation. In view of the points mentioned above, the author attempts to conduct the research on translating Wushu terms.

1.3 Outline of the Thesis

With a view to exploring a new research perspective for translation, the present study applies skopos theory to translation practice of Wushu terms. The paper consists of six parts.

Chapter 1: Presentation is briefly given for the research background and the importance of Wushu terms translation.

Chapter 2: This part is mainly about the literature review. Reviews will be conducted respectively in the following fields: 1.some detailed data collection; 2.current academic researches on the Wushu terms translation and difficulties in the process of translating; 3.problems concerning theoretical studies. Apart from that, the author also point out some limitations in terms of the existing studies and then try to make up their insufficiency in order to achieve the improvement of the paper.

Chapter 3: An overview of Wushu from its conception, history, evolution and Wushu terms translation will be made in this chapter when Wushu and its translation are analyzed respectively from its functions, features and some commonly adopted translating methods. In the last part of this chapter, the author discusses the limitations of Wushu terms translation in the previous studies.

Chapter 4: The theoretical framework will be demonstrated in this chapter where the author proposes to introduce the skopostheorie from its definition and development. Closely after that, the author will list its basic concepts and the three rules.

Chapter 5: This chapter is the core of this thesis. In the first section, the author will talk about basic terms in skopostheorie and analyze the adoption of the theory of text type in the Wushu terms translation followed by a discussion of some different factors affecting the translation of Wushu terms, such as, few references, different receivers and translators. This part also states the requirements for translators and the factors affecting its translation in the process of Wushu terms translation. Then the translational strategies are proposed. In this chapter examples will be used to prove different translation approaches.

Chapter 6: It is the conclusion part. First, the author concludes major findings about the present study. Second, some limitations of this research are listed. Finally, the author puts forward her suggestions to the further studies in this field.

Chapter Two Literature Review

2.1 Data Collection and Research Methodology

As Wushu is a particular Chinese conception, the Wushu terms can only be translated from Chinese to English or other languages. And all the samples of C-E Wushu terms are mainly selected from four types of bilingual publications or written materials.

1. Chinese-English Wushu Dictionaries, such as English-Chinese & Chinese-English Wushu Glossary; A Chinese-English Sports Dictionary; A New Chinese-English Classified Dictionary for Interpreters; Chinese-English Sports Classified Dictionary.

2. Wushu text books for foreigners, such as, Chinese-English Wushu Bilingual Text Books; The Competition Routine of 42 Style Taiji Quan; Gateway to Taijiquan for Overseas Learners.

3. Booklets for Wushu International competition rules, such as Rules for International Wushu Taolu Competition.

4. Non-professional materials in which some Wushu terms are involved.

In order to make the data authentic, the derivation of these data will be provided. The author will analyze the problematic samples with skopostheorie as the theoretic basis and provide her suggested translation versions.

This thesis conducts a qualitative research upon the researching objects in which comparative and analytical methods are used. And in this regard, the research of this thesis is in accordance with the principles of descriptive translation studies. As Toury narrated in the Descriptive Translation Studies & Beyond (2001), this method features a two-stage procedure: discovery and justification. The preliminary findings of the first stage are then tested in the second stage where the whole collected data is analyzed. The whole procedure of the C-E translation theory analyses the Source Target, discusses the potential translation problems and errors and proposes translational solutions. All these steps will be included in this thesis.

2.2 Studies of Wushu Terms and Difficulties in Wushu Terms Translation

Strictly speaking, Wushu is still a newly focused field in English speaking countries. Those who want to know more details about Chinese Wushu or learn its different movements have to read the translated versions. During their learning and practicing, these people more or less have encountered difficulties in understanding the translation; thus eagerly to find a better version. Up to now there has been little study on Wushu abroad. On the other hand, studies on the translation of Wushu terms in our country is still in its primary stage. Xiao Yakang and Chen Haiying published "On the Problems, Difficulties and Rules in Wushu Translation" in "Wushu Science" (Vol.1 No.6:29) in 2004.

In this paper, the author mainly proposes three principles for Wushu translation, namely, acceptability, preservation of the characteristics of Chinese culture and transmitting information. The first one is the most important in that the purpose of translation is to make the rendered version understood by the target readers, and the acceptability is the primary factor the translator takes into account. This principle is to enable the readers to understand and accept the translation. Without readers’ understanding, the translation would not have its expected effect. The second one is the fundamental principle. The translators must bear in mind that translation is not only the transmission of source information, but also is the cultural exchanges. Preserving the features of Chinese culture is an effective way to display the unique Chinese culture. Wushu originated from Chinese culture which certainly mirrors a certain culture. Such words as "武术" and "阴阳" having no equivalents in English should be translated into their pinyin form—"Wushu" and "yinyang". In Xiao’s other paper Skills of Wushu Terms Translation published in Wushu Science (Vol.3 No.2:18) in 2006, he added another principle, professionalism that Wushu is a profession, which determines Wushu being a kind of professional technique, the essence lying in its movements and skills. Without professional knowledge, the quality of the translation is questionable. The last principle is transmitting information which is a translation principle shared by nearly all the styles of texts.

In "China Sport Science and Technology" (2006: Vol.42 No.5:42), Zhang Zhenhua studied the trend of translation studies over this decade and inferred that culture is not taken into consideration in translation studies. The essential point of translating Wushu is to bring Wushu into the world and further achieve cultural communications. The particularity about Wushu lies in its cultural background, and it is important for a translator to consider cultural value. Foreign readers are interested in this exotic culture and they want to learn about Chinese culture in particular. Thus, preserving the characteristics of Chinese culture becomes one of the principles of translating Wushu terms.

In his "Research on Translation of Yang Style Taijiquan" (2004:21), Zhou Qingjie first studied culture and cultural default. Since culture is exclusive to one language, it is difficult to translate directly into English what only exists in Chinese. Chinese Wushu is always related to Chinese philosophy, military and aesthetics, the translator should try to retain the original flavor in translation.

Li Yonggang, in "The Skills and Rules in the Translation of Wushu Proverbs" (2005, Vol.2 No.8:36), brought forward three ways of translating Wushu proverbs: literal translation, borrowing and free translation. Whereas, Xiao Yakang (2006:Vol.3 No.2:18) put forward six methods: direct translation, free translation, creating new words, transliteration, explanative translation and comprehensive translation. The thesis is supposed to combine the translation methods listed above and develop the author’s own translating strategies.

1-Translated Versions of " Wushu" (C-E &E-C Olympics Dictionary,2003:78)

[Dies ist eine Leseprobe. Grafiken und Tabellen sind nicht enthalten.]

As we can see from the above diagram, there are many versions of "Wushu" translation quoted from C-E & E-C Olympics Dictionary (Hong Yang, 2003). It is difficult to identify which is the best English version of武术. Even the translator herself can not distinguish the difference among Wushu, fighting art or martial arts. Wushu terms translation is a new and distinctive branch in translation field. As we know, Wushu particularly belongs to China. Hence, most of the Wushu terms are original without their corresponding words in English. Therefore, how to translate Wushu terms well has a direct bearing on Wushu’s spreading to the other countries. As we mentioned earlier, Wushu translation as well as Wushu terms translation both began at the end of 20th century. There are several dictionaries concerning Wushu were issued one after another. The first book Wushu Textbook for International Wushu Coach was published (Xie Shoude, 2007). In 1987, Textbook for International Wushu Judges was translated and published by Chinese Wushu Association. In 1988, English-Chinese & Chinese-English & Chinese-English Wushu Glossary targeting at the Wushu terms translation was published.

Wan Junlin and Tang Yu (2004:50-51) summarize in their paper "The Characteristics of Wushu Terms and Translating Wushu Terms" that the characteristics of Wushu terms are in their refined forms so as to convey meaning with the least possible amount of words. In the phrase "zhuanshentengkongfeitui"(转身腾空飞腿), only six words are used to show and explain clearly a series of three actions. The second character is being "visualized". Many Wushu styles supply practitioners with visualized pictures. For example, Xingyiquan (形意拳) is a famous style of Chinese quan schools whose movements are based on the movement of twelve animals such as dragon, tiger, monkey, horse, bear, eagle, chick, swallow, lion, peacock, crane and snake. Wushu terms, intuitionally lying in their direct way of expressions, such as "Xuanfengjiao"(旋风脚), "Hengtitui"(横踢腿), can be understood through the actions that they present.

Difficulties in translating Wushu terms are listed by XiaoYakang (2003:24) as follows.

(1) Few dictionaries on Wushu terms are published;

(2) There is no standard or criteria on translating Wushu term;

(3) Translator has inadequate knowledge of Wushu;

(4) Some Wushu terms are usually misleading.

2.3 Existing Problems in the Studies

Studies made by scholars on the translation of Wushu terms have covered some of the aspects of this field. These studies either based on the authors’ practical experiences or careful researches involve the difficulties of Wushu translation, the characteristics of Wushu terms, the principles, skills and techniques concerning the translation of Wushu terms. Meanwhile, some studies touched the area of translation theory and the techniques generalized are also useful in translation.

However, there are still some limitations in these studies.

1) Most authors favor the principle of reflecting and retaining Chinese culture in translating Wushu terms. Some take into consideration English culture and the difference between the two cultures which definitely affect the reader’s acceptability. Since the two cultures differ in so many aspects, Chinese culture may pose unsolvable problems to the readers. That is to say, blindly pouring Chinese culture to the readers may not be beneficial. The readers may misunderstand or even lose their interests in parts that they can never understand. Without considering the reader’s reaction, even a complete rendering of all cultural content will not make the translation a good one.

2) The techniques discussed in these articles cover almost every translating method. However, there is not any clear classification of when a certain method should be used, of why one method preferred to the other, of what the difference between these methods is and of what their expected effects are. The authors may have listed some terms translated with certain methods but they did not account for. Thus when translating Wushu, translators may know about all the methods but still do not know which one to use.

3) These studies were all made by Wushu-majored scholars who are not very familiar with English language and culture. In their papers, Wushu and Chinese culture are more valued than the readers’ knowledge, culture background and cognitive ability. Their purpose of translation is to transmit everything into the other language, but translation is built over two languages and two cultures. The result of such kind of translation may lead to a barrier to the reader’s understanding and thus affect the result.

In effect, the main purpose of translation is to effectively communicate rather than completely transmitting. Every translation should be based on the understanding of the readers and only when the readers understand can they learn and absorb the translated information. There must be some principles and techniques, but in practice which principle to follow and which method to adopt still remain as a problem. Theory is referred in the paper while practice is for reality. We need an appropriate theory which can be used as a helpful guide for translating Wushu terms. In this paper, the author introduces a scientific, systematic and popular theory—skopostheorie, in which great emphasis is placed on the target text while the source text is only treated as an offer of information. The function of the target text and the purpose of translation are the most important factors in this theory.

Chapter Three An Overview of Wushu and Wushu Terms Translation

3.1 A Brief Introduction of Wushu and Wushu Terms

3.1.1 The Definition of Chinese Wushu

Wushu is a traditional Chinese sports event with unique national characteristics, giving priority to boxing, weapons, routine and practical combat with the function of attack and defense, health-building and health-keeping (Li Chengyin, 1993:62).

Wushu, on the basis of ancient Chinese technique system with skills of attack as its major content, has developed into a national sports event and part of Chinese traditional culture (Xu cai, 1995:11).

Wushu, with attack and defense as its major skills, and routine practice and combat as its sport form, is a traditional sports event focusing on both internal and external cultivation (Qiu Pixiang, 2004:4).

Generally, Wushu is a sport with rich cultural essence as the traditional Chinese culture which generated Wushu routine and other professional skills. Wushu advocates vigorous and promising Chinese cultural spirit and calls for harmony, combination of form and spirit, a holistic thinking style, combination of internal exercises and coexistence of various Wushu styles. Besides, Wushu is not only good for health, but also high in artistic value, rich in recreational functions.

3.1.2 History and Evolution of Wushu

Wushu or the Chinese martial arts, is also called Chinese Kungfu. China’s thousand years’ history of civilization has witnessed its development. The fighting skills both with bare hands and weapons formed the basis of primitive Wushu. Historical evidence dates this concept back to the Zhou Dynasty (255BC) in ancient China. In the ancient documents, we can find Quanyong (拳勇) in the Zhou Dynasty, Jiji (技击) during the Spring and Automn Period, and Wuyi (武艺) in the Han Dynasty. While in the Qing Dynasty, the term Wushu had been widely used. During this long period, Wushu has absorbed much essence from Chinese traditional culture, covering the fields of aesthetics, artistry, philosophy, the theory of health-preservation and the knowledge of traditional medicine. So, Wushu is a typical Chinese sports event reserving the unique national characteristics. Wushu functions significantly in the simple matter of people’s survival through China’s many wars and political upheavals. Nowadays, Wushu has been organized and systematized into a formal branch of study. It reigns as one of the most popular national sports in China, and is practiced by the young and old alike for recreational pursuit, health promotion, moral cultivation, and as well as for competition. Since the foundation of the People’s Republic of China and opening-up policy, Wushu has been modernized and training and competing standard systems have been set up. Continuing its fighting function, Wushu becomes a more athletic and aesthetic performance and competitive sport.

In a word, Wushu is one of the most exciting martial arts to be seen, felt and finally practiced.

3.1.3 The Role of Wushu

The most important value of Chinese traditional Wushu lies in its nationality. It has profound theoretical foundations and exhibits its Chinese characteristics more in its skills. The uniqueness of Wushu also lies in its romanticism. Scenes, like Wudang Mountain and Shaolin Temple, host many famous Wushu figures and legends. All these factors contribute to Wushu’s becoming a kind of Chinese traditional Wushu into cultural treasure and a form of art.

First of all, Wushu represents the whole Chinese culture. "The peculiarity of traditional Wushu lies in its style of movements, and the way of practicing Wushu displays its connection with traditional Chinese culture" (Qiao Fenjie, 2006:1). As a pattern of traditional Chinese culture, Wushu includes the essence of every cultural field in Chinese history. On one hand, Wushu is combined with classical philosophy, politics, ethics, military affairs, arts, medical theories, traditions and customs to construct the unity of Chinese culture. On the other hand, Wushu itself reflects the general features of Chinese culture. The effects of traditional culture on Chinese Wushu have provided references of methodology and instructions-that is the techniques, tactics and moral standards for people who practice Wushu. Lao-tzu’ strong and weak theory—being too strong is to end; in order to receive, one must give; the weak conquering the strong; being the object instead of the subject; win without fighting which has always been the principle for practicing Wushu. The Confucian juste-milieu and the theory of veins and nerves of traditional Chinese medicine, the aspiration method of health preservation all contributed to the development of traditional Wushu. The mixture of Wushu and Buddhism is undoubtedly a historical fact. Actually, the chief effect of Buddhism on Wushu is that Buddhism has provided better methods of training and guiding thoughts for Wushu practitioners. "Traditional Chinese culture is the leading principle of Wushu, it provides Wushu with skills and thoughts, and the theories of Chinese culture can be treated as a goal of Wushu practitioners" (Qiao Fenjie, 2006:275).

Secondly, Wushu plays an important role in reflecting both Chinese and world sports culture. Various quan styles of Wushu have influential medical effects and that is why many aged people always treat Taiji as an effective medicine for chronic disease. In addition, Chinese Wushu has tremendous aesthetic value. Wushu can be used to defend, but it is also performed for leisure. People like to enjoy the elegance and strength of Wushu movements while Wushu dancing has come into forth over thousands of years. Chinese Wushu reflects the special category of classical Chinese aesthetics, stressing the unity of beauty and kindness, harmony of human and nature. Wushu has provided enjoyment not only of rhythm, strength and speed but also in the artistic conception found in sports such as expression, manner, movement, etiquette and the most important of all, the charm of Wushu.

Wushu constitutes the priceless cultural heritage of the Chinese nation, though it comes from China but it belongs to the whole world. In recent years, Chinese books about Wushu are published and translated into many languages. Wushu training schools were built at home and abroad and many foreign learners even came to China to learn Wushu. Wushu organizations such as Wushu Federation of Asia and International Wushu Federation were founded and many international Wushu competitions were held. In the 2008 Olympics, Wushu was performed as a demonstration event. This is a breakthrough in the step of Wushu making its way into the Olympic Games.

3.1.4 The Importance of Translating Wushu Terms

As an important intercultural communicative bridge, Wushu has fascinated innumerable people both at home and abroad. It seems that an increasing number of people now are showing greater interests in Wushu along with the rising of China and the coming of Chinese cultural heat around the world. The international Wushu boom requires a large volume of high quality translations related to Wushu, but the present imprecise translations will unavoidably result in confusion and problems among international readers. Owing to the popularity of Chinese Wushu, many English readers get interested in learning about it and practicing this traditional Chinese skill.

Attracting tourists with rich cultural elements and beautiful natural scenery is the mainstream for international tourism. Drawing more international investments and keeping good relationship with the international community and many other situations all need the charm shown in traditional cultures. With the increasing number of exercisers, Wushu is becoming more and more popular, fashionable and well-known as a favorable physical exercise and competitive sports all over the world. Therefore, official and authoritative books and dictionaries on Wushu in different languages are in urgent need. Many oral or literal translation versions on Wushu terms appearing on the Internet, in the folk organizations or other informal communicative groups may mystify and confuse foreigners. They may also affect the world-wide spreading of the unique culture to a great extent. In this case, the task of looking into the causes of the confusions, problems and limitations in Wushu terms translation, standardizing the translated versions of Wushu terms, and helping foreign Wushu exercisers understand the terms correctly falls on the shoulder of the translator. As Wushu terms contain information related to various Chinese cultural factors, translation of Wushu terms has long been a challenge to every English translator. There have been few Wushu masters or translators who have focused their attention on translating Wushu terms from the perspective of possible cultural factors. Some books related to Wushu are published and video disks are made in English speaking countries, but most of the books only adopted transliteration method and most disks are totally in Chinese, expecting people to learn from the pictures. People are not supposed to adopt the method of explanation which would simply lead to the deficiency of Wushu knowledge. It is easy for a translator to leave the Chinese terms the way it is, but readers would unavoidably meet with problems. In order to help readers to understand what the terms really are and to grasp the spirit of Wushu, translating Wushu terms has become an urgent necessity. In addition, translation of Wushu terms provides people in the world with access to knowing China and Chinese culture as well.

3.2 The Functions of Wushu

Anyone who has seen classical Chinese Kung Fu movies will be deeply impressed by the Chinese Wushu, which is called Kung Fu or Chinese martial arts in the west. Wushu enjoys a long history and great popularity in China. Thanks to its uniqueness and charisma originating from traditional oriental culture, it is captivating the attention of more and more people in other nations. It is not only a sporting exercise but also an artistic form. The diversity of Wushu’s characteristics brings its versatile functions, of which the most outstanding can be described as follows.

Wushu can temper one’s will and promote moral cultivation as well. As a human practice which stresses cultivation of moral characters and demonstration of spirit and temperament, Wushu is conducive to developing good manners and conducts which also helps adjust one’s psychology. The moral characters and etiquette are held in esteem by all schools of Wushu masters. In other words, the old saying "冬练三九, 夏练三伏" really reflects that those who want to have incomparable skills should go through hardships and tribulations. It means that one has to overcome many a difficulties, endure the dull training of fighting routine and defeat himself in fear of difficulty from inner or outside during the practice of Wushu. Only by this way can one’s strong will, diligence, resolution, courage, calmness, modesty, brave enterprising and other moral characters are trained.


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On the Translation of Wushu Terms: From the Perspective of Skopostheorie
Portland State University  (school of education)
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material arts, Chinese culture, Wushu, translation, terms translation, skopostheorie, translation strategy
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Xiujuan Wang (Author), 2015, On the Translation of Wushu Terms: From the Perspective of Skopostheorie, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/306162


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