A relevance-theoretic approach to the English translation of the Cantonese sentence-final particle laa
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This study investigates how the Cantonese sentence-final particle, laa, was translated into English in the context of the Cantonese Opera play, The Regretful Tale of Butterfly Lovers. As there is no direct equivalent of laa in English, it imposes a great challenge for the translator on the task of translating laa into English. The relevance-theoretic approach is adopted in the study to examine the translation strategies that were used to express the meaning yielded by laa and to what extent there is interpretive resemblance between the source text and the target text. The analysis shows that it is very likely that there is a similarity between the inference processes of the source text readers and those of the target text readers. That is to say, the readers of the English translation are likely to receive contextual effects that are similar to those received by the source text readers. The findings suggest that although there is no linguistic equivalent of laa in English, the translator managed to meet the challenge and provide a translation that interpretively resembles the source text to a high degree by using different strategies. The target readers are likely to find the translation relevant and have similar contextual effects and interpretations as the source text readers.