[New Publication] Style in speech and narration of two English translations of Hongloumeng: A corpus-based multidimensional study

By Isabelle Chou and Kanglong Liu


This study examines the style of two English translations of Hongloumeng, by David Hawkes, and Xianyi Yang and Gladys Yang. It makes use of multidimensional analysis to identify how the two translations differ in their sub-registers (narration and fictional speech). The results reveal that the Yangs’ translation of narration is relatively more narrative and context-independent, whereas Hawkes’ is more active and context-bound. Similarly, Hawkes’ translation of fictional speech is more conversational and interactional and tends more towards the orality scale with a strong emphasis on the involvement of fictional characters. In contrast, the Yangs’ translation of fictional speech tends to be more informational and explicit. These stylistic differences reflect the translators’ conscious and/or unconscious choices, which are attributable to their language backgrounds, translation strategies, and cultural stances. By taking sub-register variation and the functions of linguistic features into consideration, the article outlines a new approach to investigating translation style.