Language and culture are mutually dependent and interaction. They are closely related, and closely intertwined. There is no language not rooting in specific culture, or a kind of culture without a natural language for its center. Human beings live in the same physical world.
Problems in cross-cultural communication are easily seen in the use of linguistic routines such as greeting between English and Chinese speakers. In its broad sense, cross-cultural communication occurs whenever people of different cultural backgrounds come into contact with each other. Because of cultural differences, misunderstandings may arise, although the language used in communication may be faultless. The same words or expressions may not mean the same thing to different peoples.Between various cultures and languages there is compatibility and interconnectedness, just as the differences between Chinese and western in the national history, social system, life style, values, ethics, religious belief and thinking mode etc. The differences caused by the cultural differences are large; this will bring influence to the translation of Greetings. To some extent, greetings translation can be regarded as a kind of cultural translation. In the process of translation, we should not only make clear of the literal meaning, but also should know its loaded cultural meaning. American translator Refugee A.Today says that: "For a truly successful translation, what is being concerned is to be familiar with two kinds of culture that is even more important than holding two languages,because only under the culture background the words just have meaning.” If you do not care about the differences of culture to understand the target language culture using mother tongue thinking, it will cause cultural aphasia phenomenon.
2.1 Expression of Greeting Words from the Aspect of Cognitive Style
The differences in customs, etiquette, way of thinking will lead to many differences of words and expressions between Chinese and western cultures. Lacking of understanding of these cultural meaning of expressions may lead to communication and translation errors.
The habit of the Chinese is like to think from overall, see problems intuitively; British and American people getused to logical analysis and prefer to analysis. This causesmanydifferences in language expression. English is a language which straight comes to the point .English is a kind of character writing which meaning is no direct link with fonts; it is out of the need of clear expression, it forms a set of abstraction concept. The thinking mode of Chinese was mainly formed by Lao zi-Confucius and Confucianism, it emphasizes the ethics,thinking mode,consciousness and implication, linguistic expressions with implicative, tactful characteristic. As Chinese characters are phonetic symbol, notes and markers, it is a kind of hieroglyphs, originated in the pictures. They use right brain for long-term contacting, andpromoting the image thinking. For example, in the expression of the name, time, address, manner of writing.Chinese literature changes from big to small, the whole to the part. As for “time”,Chinese order is year-month-day-minute-second, while the Anglo-American on the contrary second-minute-hour-day-month-year. The Chinese space concept is country-provinces-city-streets,but instead, the arrangement of Anglo-American is streets-city-provinces-country. Chinese people talk about problems from the macro perspective; while English always get startfrom specific questions. As for animals, color words, the differences of two languages also due to different culture. At the same time its implied meaning are distinct. There are many points which arenot coincide, "dragon" is the symbol of the Chinese nation, it is China’s national totem. Howeverthe western peopleargue that the dragon is evil monster, andis the symbol of evil. Translation also requires enough attention.
2.2 Expression of Greeting Words from the Aspect of Values
Values system includes the outlook of life, the moral standards, religious beliefs, feeling of beauty ,and many other aspects. They are nuclear of a cultural consciousness in a culture group. People in different cultures are very sensitive to cultural values. The values of the western developed countries are focusing on individuals, believing in personal standard, showing its value. Therefore,the way of western modern peoples’ thinking, language, behavior and behavior is theirselves, then from theirselves out to design the relationship with social environment. They notice self-reliance, think highly of the individual outstanding, no "face" conscious, pay attention to privacy, be fond of individual character, like individual competition and persons first. This is also reflecting on man's own value and recognition mode. When you praise him or her, generally he or she will think self value is achieved. They would think it is deserved. Our oriental cultural is on whole view. We pay attention to cooperation, to the collective power, to keep "face". We are fond of generality, preference interpersonal harmony, and collective supreme. Chinese people when they meet each other they often say "have you eaten?", "where are you going?" etc.Then they may talk about age, wage and marriage. Embodying the Chinese is a multicultural society, the old saying "all within the four seas are brothers" is a behavior criterion, showing concern for others. However if we say this to a British, I'm afraid he will be sensitive to think you are spying on his privacy, even misleading to cultural conflict. British and American countries people greet each other often choose compliment, especially men compliment women. Such as" You look so smart today! ""You are so pretty today!" or even "You are sexy!" Heartfelt praise will make people happy, and then the other part of a talk will pay more interest to the conversation. Praising women's clothing, appearance and talented areconsidered to be polite, cultivated performance, often the reaction is cheerful, most common useful answer is "thank you!" to express the cheerful in the heart. However China's culture consider modest as a virtue, so when people face up to others’ praise and compliment, they often deny it as a etiquette. They commonly use "by flattery" or "I'm flattered" to respond.
In short, when translating greetings we must pay attention to the cultural differences, consider the time, place, object, cultural background, social customs and other factors. Using authentic greetings can make communication smoother, and natural.
2.3 Expression of Greeting Words from the Aspect of Life Style
China agriculture society has been lastedfora long time, it produced a lot of expression form relevant to "food", which is rare in English.So it must be translated according to the actual meaning and context. Many parables derived from diet, it has no English equivalents form, only with the free translation. For example, China has a large population, people thousands of years are with the thought “food is the most important thing”.Especially before liberation, lower productivity levels, the shortage of materialmakesthe food problembecamethe top priority, so people pay special attention to food, then they asked each other "You ate?" or "have you eaten yet?" Howeverthis greetingdoes not apply to western countries, English speaking person never greet others "Have you eaten?" If you greeta foreigner such sentence, he probably thinksyou want to invitehim to big dinner. It can only be translated into How do you do or Hello.
2.4 Expression of Greeting Words from the Aspect of Geography
Britain is a state near coast andbelongs to the ocean climate, British often say that : " climate exist in abroad,England only weather."The weather ofEngland changesvery frequently, just now the sun was shining, for instant it might rain pouring, so the vagaries of the weather becomes the important topic when people communicate.Also there are a lot of English words about sailing. It is difficult to find in the Chinese corresponding form, mainly because chinais mostlymainland. Thus to Chinese, it is difficultto understand these expressions. For example: "at all sea "(at a loss)," be left high and dry "(trapped), etc. Most areas of China has a temperate continental climate with four distinct seasons, spring, summer, autumn, and winter.The rules are obvious,sothe talkingabout the weatheris relatively few.
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