Jie Wang

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

John Crawford


A translation, analysis, and commentary on Seeing the Palm Trees Again, a highly regarded novel in contemporary Chinese fiction by Chinese-American novelist Lihua Yu, are presented. The novel is about a trip home by a professor of Chinese who has lived in the United States for ten years. It depicts the attitude of common Chinese people toward sending their children to America. It also describes the life of Chinese students in the United States. In creating the character of Tianlei Moe, the author has said what many people in Tianlei's situation feel but are reluctant to express openly: the feeling of rootlessness, the desire to be understood, and the endless search for one's true identity. The reasons for selecting this novel are trifold. The first is the author's detailed and accurate observation of the minds of Chinese students in the United States and her ability to portray them in a true-to-life manner in her fiction. The second is that Lihua Yu's Chinese style is readable and pleasant, largely because she has successfully incorporated Western syntax into Chinese, bringing a fresh, vigorous feel to her works. The third reason is that this novel is widely read in China and among Chinese people overseas. The book is useful for a Western audience to understand the background and life of Chinese intellectuals in America, especially at a time when more and more Chinese students come to the United States for higher education.

A discussion of the problems encountered during the translation process is provided, including topics such as making choices between retaining expressions that are peculiar to the Chinese language and replacing them with equivalent ones in English, treatment of kinship terms and names of food items, rendition of words whose meanings are broad or vague, linguistic gaps, translation of idiomatic expressions, use of verb tenses, and consideration of cultural elements and associative meanings. In addition, the problem of verifying quality in translation is addressed.