Translation Style in Two English Versions of Lu Xun’s Gushi Xinbian -- A Case of “Flight to the Moon”


  • Qinglan Chen Shangyu College, Shaoxing University, Shaoxing, China
  • Hongjun Wang Wuhan University, Wuhan, China
  • Baorong Wang Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou, China


Of Lu Xun’s third story collection, Gushi Xinbian (故事新编), there are only two translated English versions available today. This article compares the translation style of the two versions through a case study of “Flight to the Moon” in the collection. Our qualitative and quantitative analysis establishes that the Yangs’ version is stylistically different from Lovell’s. At lexical level, simple words thread through the Yangs’ version, whose style is very close to that of the original. Lovell’s version uses refined and polished words, producing a somewhat flowery style. At syntactic level, the Yangs’ version stays close to Chinese sentence structures whilst Lovell’s features a habitual use of addition, condensation, and reordering. At discoursal level, the number of paragraph rearrangement is similar in both versions, but the type of paragraphs rearranged and the way they are rearranged are different. At cultural level, Yang and Yang show a penchant for using conservation strategies, while Lovell prefers to deploy substitution strategies when translating culture-specific items in the Chinese original. It is argued that the stylistic differences between the two versions can be ascribed primarily to the translator’s professional habitus and to the target readers the translators aimed for.