On the Translation of Plant Images in Li Sao (离骚)

Chuanmao Tian


Li Sao is the most important part of Chu Ci or The Songs of the South which occupies an important place in Chinese literature. There are many cultural images in Chu Ci, especially Li Sao, and plant images constitute the main body of the cultural images in the classic. They convey both literal and implicit meanings. In other words, poet Qu Yuan uses them to symbolize good or bad things in the source text. The implied meaning of the plant images can only be grasped by putting them into the specific context. The translations in this study use various translating methods such as interpretation and annotation to represent the symbolic meanings of the plant images, but sometimes it is seen that the translators fail to convey the original meaning correctly. It is assumed that only by achieving optimal relevance can target readers understand the original images easily.


Li Sao; plant images; translation methods; Relevance Theory

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