On Wang Rongpei’s Drama Translation Strategy: A Case Study of The Peony Pavilion

Shuo CAO, Jingyang GAO, Ying JIANG


As a special literary form, drama is characterized by personalization, colloquialization, rhythm and the feature of performability. For a long time, the focus of drama translation studies has also fallen on the “performability” at home and abroad. The Peony Pavilion is one of the masterpieces in ancient China. With its beautiful and elegant lyrics, engaging anecdotes and vivid characters, The Peony Pavilion has an enduring popularity on the opera stage and a high literary value. There are many translations of The Peony Pavilion. Among all the versions, Wang Rongpei’s translation has balanced “spirit” and “meaning” and creatively reproduced the original style.
Wang Rongpei first proposed the translation theory of “faithful in meaning and vivid in description” when he translatingThe Book of Songs in 1994. He thought that “faithful” refers to accurately express the meaning of the original text with target language, and “vivid” means showing the original style, emotion, rhythm, images, and characteristics. This article takes Wang Rongpei’s version of The Peony Pavilion as the study object and puts it under the criteria of “faithful in meaning and vivid in description”, analyzing the translation of the lyrics and researching how he transmits the spirit on the basis of being faithful in meaning. The aim of this article is to analyze Wang Rongpei’s dramatic translation techniques and explore the guiding and theoretical significance of this strategy for Chinese classical opera translation.


The Peony Pavilion; Wang Rongpei; Translation strategy

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/10688


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