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A Study of the Evolution of Zhuge Liang’s Image in English Versions of Sanguo Yanyi from the Perspective of Retranslation Hypothesis

Mingzhu Huang, Lifeng Gu, Juan Wang
Sanguo Yanyi, one of the renowned masterpieces in Chinese literature, has been translated into over twenty other languages, including three complete English translations produced separately in the 1920s, 1990s and 2010s. Throughout the historical process of these English translations, it has been observed that the character portrayals vary due to different social and cultural backgrounds. This research focuses specifically on the character of Zhuge Liang and aims to examine the evolution of his portrayal by comparing the strategies employed by translators in these three English translations. Adopting a diachronic perspective, the study collects descriptions of Zhuge Liang’s image from each translation and explores the underlying reasons for the differences in his image construction. The findings not only shed light on the evolution of Zhuge Liang’s image but also confirm the supplementarity nature of the retranslation hypothesis. By revealing how social and cultural factors influence character interpretation, this study enhances our understanding of the intricate relationship between translation and the construction of literary characters
Sanguo Yanyi, English translation, Zhuge Liang’s image, Retranslation hypothesis, supplementarity
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