Becoming Equivalent

Tracking the Chinese Renditions of “Discourse”

in Culture and Dialogue
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This paper examines the introduction of “discourse” into China by looking into the different usages and interpretations of the word: what discourse currently is (话语 – a new coinage); what it used to be (语篇 – a largely superseded rendition, an assimilation); what it could be (other forms of transliteration, assimilation and Japanese-based renditions); and what it arguably should be (说力 – a new coinage). The paper discusses accordingly how Western critical concepts travel into China, how different modes of translation alter their meanings, and what translation strategy should best be employed to facilitate conceptual exchanges between the West and China. Additionally, the paper traces back a well-hidden Japanese “gene” in a majority of Chinese cultural concepts, discloses the conceptual flaws in Chinese renditions, and recommends an informed strategy for translating Western critical cultural concepts into Chinese.

Becoming Equivalent

Tracking the Chinese Renditions of “Discourse”

in Culture and Dialogue

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References

3

Judith ButlerExcitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative (New York: Routledge1997) 34.

4

See Xu ShiA Cultural Approach to Discourse (New York: Palgrave Macmillan2005).

5

Iara Lessa“Discursive Struggles Within Social Welfare: Restaging Teen Motherhood,” British Journal of Social Work. 36 2 (2006): 283-298.

6

See Antonio GramsciSelections form the Prison Notebooks (London: Lawrence and Wishart1971).

7

See Xu ShiA Cultural Approach to Discourse (New York: Palgrave Macmillan2005).

15

See Yong Zhong“Let’s Talk Translation Economically: A Demonstration of Re-articulating Translation through Economics Terms,” Across Languages and Culture 7 1 (2006): 77-92; Jirí Levý “Translation As A Decision Process” in The Translation Studies Reader ed. Lawrence Venuti (London and New York: Routledge 2000) 148-59.

16

Yong Zhong“To transliterate or not to transliterate, That is the question of national identity,” in Journal of Translation Studies 3 (1999): 83.

17

See Eva Hung and David Pollard“The Chinese tradition,” in The Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studiesed. Mona Baker (London and New York: Routledge1997) 63-67; Wang-chi Wong (1999): Wenyan or baihua: On the issue of translation language since the late Qin. Journal of Translation Studies. (3): 49-80.

18

See Zhong“To transliterate or not to transliterate That is the question of national identity” 81-95.

20

See Lawrence VenutiThe Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation (London and New York: Routledge1995).

24

See Yong Zhong“Transcending the discourse of accuracy in the teaching of translation,” Meta: Translators’ Journal 47 4 (2002): 575-585.

40

See Zhong“Transcending the discourse of accuracy in the teaching of translation,” Meta 47 4 (2002): 575-585 and “The making of a ‘correct’ translation: Showcasing the official Chinese discourse of translation” Meta 56 4 (2011): 796-811.

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