Are translated Chinese Wuxia fiction and western heroic literature similar? A stylometric analysis based on stylistic panoramas

Kan Wu, Dechao Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study investigates the extent to which English translations of Chinese Wuxia fiction and Western heroic literature in modern English are stylistically similar through stylometric analyses. It adds to literary translation research by highlighting possible stylistic connections between heroic literature in the East and that in the West, clues that may help understand the current reception of Wuxia translations. It also contributes to stylometric studies by introducing the stylistic panorama, a novel concept proposed to describe the stylistic picture of a (translated) text in a relatively holistic and functional way. Examining six English translations of Wuxia novels and twelve chivalric stories and heroic fantasies in modern English, the study finds that the Wuxia translations differ from the two Western subgenres in stylistic panoramas built by formal features (dispersion of word lengths and average sentence length), as well as the most frequent words (MFW) and the MFW-sequences. Such differences have foregrounded the unique stylistic features (richer Wuxia-specific vocabularies and shorter paragraph lengths) of these translations, which has contributed in part to their favorable reception among English-speaking readers. It is hoped that this study will encourage new applications for the concept of stylistic panoramas in future stylometric studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1376-1393
Number of pages18
JournalDigital Scholarship in the Humanities
Volume37
Issue number4
Early online date23 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Computer Science Applications

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