Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton August 15, 2018

Reclassification of Signs

A translation semiotics perspective

Hongwei Jia
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies

Abstract

Previous semiotic research classified human signs into linguistic signs and non-linguistic signs, with reference to human language and the writing system as the core members of the sign family. However, this classification cannot cover all the types of translation in the broad sense in terms of sign transformation activities. Therefore, it is necessary to reclassify the signs that make meaning into tangible signs and intangible signs based on the medium of the signs. Whereas tangible signs are attached to the outer medium of the physical world, intangible signs are attached to the inner medium of the human cerebral nervous system. The three types of transformation, which are namely from tangible signs into tangible signs, from tangible signs into intangible signs, and from intangible signs into tangible signs, lay a solid foundation for the categorization of sign activities in translation semiotics. Such a reclassification of signs can not only enrich semiotic theories of sign types, human communication, and sign-text interpretation, but also inspire new research on translation types, the translation process, translators’ thinking systems and psychology, and the mechanism of machine translation.

Acknowledgements

In the process of writing and proofreading this article, many colleagues and friends helped me in one way or the other, but here special thanks go to Dr. Hongbing Yu from Nanjing Normal University, Prof. Binghua Wang from Leeds University, UK, Ms. Stephanie Greenhill, USA, and Ms. Catherine Schwerin, Associate Editor of Chinese Semiotic Studies.

References

Chen, Hongwei. 1996. A new practical textbook of translation from Chinese into English. Wuhan: Hubei Education Press.Search in Google Scholar

Eco, Umberto. 1986. The name of the rose. New York: Warner Books, Inc.Search in Google Scholar

Gorlée, Dinda L. 1994. Semiotics and the problem of translation: With special reference to the semiotics of Charles S. Peirce. Amsterdam-Atlanta: GA.Search in Google Scholar

Hartmann, R. R. K. & F. C. Stork. 1972/1981. Dictionary of language and linguistics. Trans. Huang, Changzhu. Shanghai: Shanghai Dictionary Publishing House.Search in Google Scholar

Huang, Zhonglian. 2015. A semiotic consideration of a critical system for translation. Foreign Language Education 2015(4). 95–97, 113.Search in Google Scholar

Jia, Hongwei. 2016a. Considerations over the terms of translation semiotics, Foreign Language Education 2016(1). 94–97.Search in Google Scholar

Jia, Hongwei. 2016b. A translation-semiotic perspective of Jakobson’s tripartite of translation. Journal of PLA University of Foreign Languages 2016(5). 11–18.Search in Google Scholar

Jia, Hongwei. 2016c. On the possibilities of translation semiotics. Shandong Foreign Languages Teaching Journal 2016(3). 90–100.Search in Google Scholar

Jia, Hongwei. 2016d. Chinese semiotics before 1949: A historical survey. Language & Sign 2016(1).63–69.Search in Google Scholar

Jia, Hongwei. 2017. Roman Jakobson’s triadic division of translation revisited, Chinese Semiotic Studies 2017 (1). 31–46.Search in Google Scholar

Jiang, Xiaohua. 2003. A semiotic approach to literary translation: With emphasis on motivations underlying literary language. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.Search in Google Scholar

Landa, Garcia. 1995. Notes on the epistemology of translation theory. Meta: Journal des Traducteurs 1995(3). 388–405.Search in Google Scholar

Lefevére, André. 2005. Translation, rewriting and the manipulation of literary fame. Shanghai: Foreign Language Education Press.Search in Google Scholar

Li, Ming. 2005. Interlingual translation from a sociosemiotic perspective. Wuhan: Wuhan University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Nida, E. A. 1993. Language, culture, and translating. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press.Search in Google Scholar

Pan, Linlin. 2016. Text regeneration from the perspective of translation semiotics: A case study of the novel Red Sorghum, its drama script and film script. Journal of PLA University of Foreign Languages 2016(5). 26–32.Search in Google Scholar

Peirce, C. S. 1931–1966. Collected papers of Charles Sanders Peirce. Charles Hartshorne et al. (eds.). 8 Vols. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press, Harvard University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Qu, Guiping. 2014. On the application of tangible signs in the training of blind children with multiple disabilities. Modern Special Education 2014 (11). 48–49.Search in Google Scholar

Steiner, George. 1975. After Babel: Aspects of language and translation. New York & London: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Sui, Ran. 1994. On semiotic approach and cultural translatology. Foreign Language and Foreign Language Teaching 1994(A). 35–39.Search in Google Scholar

Wang, Mingyu. 2015. Discussion on translation semiotics. Foreign Languages in China 2015(3). 22–23.Search in Google Scholar

Wang, Mingyu. 2016. Disciplinary connotation of translation semiotics. Journal of PLA University of Foreign Languages 2016(5). 1–10.Search in Google Scholar

Wang, Wenzhang (ed.). 2010. An introduction to intangible cultural heritage. Beijing: Culture and Art Publishing House.Search in Google Scholar

Xu, Hong. 2012. Tangible sign activity and silent training, Jiangxi Education 2012 (17). 42–43.Search in Google Scholar

Yu, Xiaonan. 2012. The intangible out of the tangible: About the symbols in Shandong Drama. Home of Drama 2012(7). 17–18.Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2018-08-15
Published in Print: 2018-08-28

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston