Translating China for Western Readers
Reflective, Critical, and Practical Essays
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Explores the challenges of translating Chinese works for Western readers, particularly premodern texts.
This book explores the challenges of translating Chinese works, particularly premodern ones, for a contemporary Western readership. Reacting against the "cultural turn" in translation studies, contributors return to the origin of translation studies: translation practice. By returning to the time-honored basics of linguistics and hermeneutics, the book inquires into translation practice from the perspective of reading and reading theory. Essays in the first section of the work discuss the nature, function, rationale, criteria, and historical and conceptual values of translation. The second section focuses on the art and craft of translation, offering practical techniques and tips. Finally, the third section conducts critical assessments of translation policy and practice as well as formal and aesthetic issues. Throughout, contributors explore how a translation from the Chinese can read like a text in the Western reader's own language.
Ming Dong Gu is Professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is the author of Chinese Theories of Fiction: A Non-Western Narrative System, also published by SUNY Press. Rainer Schulte is Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Center for Translation Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is the author of Geography of Translation and Interpretation: Traveling Between Languages.
"…a fascinating compendium of insights and anecdotes into the challenges of translating early China. … a much-needed contribution to a vital task that Anglophone philosophy is only just beginning to confront systematically—bringing more work by Chinese thinkers to an English language audience. The theoretical and practical difficulties inherent in such a challenge deserve wider debate, and this volume commendably serves that end." — Dao