On the Need of Bilingualised Chinese-English Dictionaries with Special Reference to Zhong 忠

Yu Kit CHEUNG

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsConference (Extended Abstracts)Abstractspeer-review

Abstract

Monodirectional Chinese-English dictionaries are often turned to in tasks of Chinese- English translation by native speakers of Chinese, for as Adamska-Salaciak (2016) remarks, ‘the primary task of an L1-L2 dictionary is to serve as an aid in the user’s own foreign language production’ (p. 145). To the dictionary makers of such works as in other L1-L2 dictionaries in general, understanding of the L1 lemma in question is taken for granted (ibid, p. 144).

Nevertheless, this assumption seems to be put under challenge as far as Chinese being L1 is concerned. With reference to the English equivalents of ‘zhong&’ in a wide array of Chinese-English dictionaries such as Du (2016), Lin (1971), Mathew (1943), to name but three, it will be argued that imprecision or errors in Chinese-English translation are on occasions attributed to misreading of the Chinese source text on the part of the user on the one hand, and omission of individual senses or misinterpretation of the headword on the part of the Chinese lexicographer on the other.

It is posited that the problem at issue arises from the concurrency of two sets of vocabulary in Standard Modern Chinese - lexical items from both Classical Chinese (Wenyan ^٠) and Vernacular Chinese (Baihua gg) and from the assumption that Chinese-English dictionary users, who are by and large native speakers of Chinese, have the natural endowment to make an educated choice out of a collection of suggested equivalents. It is, therefore, proposed to explore the feasibility of partial bilingualised dictionaries, if not fully bilingualised ones, in contributing to enhancing the accuracy of English translation.

This paper is significant in challenging the established assumption of a bilingual dictionary user’s firm grasp of the source language, throwing light on the need of bilingualised Chinese-English dictionaries in Chinese-English translation and pushing back the frontiers of bilingual lexicography.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 14th International Conference of the Asian Association for Lexicography
EditorsDora AMALIA, Azhari Dasman DARNIS, Amat TRIATNA, Dewi KHAIRIAH
PublisherNational Agency for Language Development and Cultivation (Indonesia)
Pages446-
Number of pages1
ISBN (Print)9786233071345
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021
EventThe 14th International Conference of the Asian Association
for Lexicography: Lexicography and Language Documentation
- , Indonesia
Duration: 12 Jun 202114 Jun 2021
https://badanbahasa.kemdikbud.go.id/lamanbahasa/Asialex2021/

Conference

ConferenceThe 14th International Conference of the Asian Association
for Lexicography
Abbreviated titleASIALEX 2021
Country/TerritoryIndonesia
Period12/06/2114/06/21
Internet address

Keywords

  • Chinese-English translation
  • Chinese English dictionaries
  • bilingualisation

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