Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’: A Corpus-Based Study of Modality in the English and Chinese Versions
This paper compares the use of modal expressions in the English and Chinese versions of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ (2015). It explores the Encyclical Letter as a corpus through the study of word lists and parallel concordance lines. The research also benefits from the close parallel reading of extracts from the two versions. It focuses on the semantic areas of prediction/volition/intention, lack of possibility/ability/permission and obligation. The results confirm predictable parallel expressions (e.g. will and 会 huì, cannot and 不能 bùnéng, be called to and 召 zhào) and bring to light less predictable renderings – e.g. zero (in English) and 会 huì, cannot and 无法 wúfǎ, the noun vocation and 召 zhào. They also suggest that some translation choices are due to the translator’s attempt to make the text explicit and to adapt it to the target culture.