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James St. André

This paper sets out to demonstrate that pseudo-translation is an integral part of the history of translation, playing a vital role at certain times and places. Specifically, I demonstrate that for much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, pseudo-translation was actually an important player in the contested field of translations from oriental languages and the emergent discipline of Oriental studies. Such works were part of that field of knowledge, both at the specialist and the popular level, and helped shape contemporary European conceptions of the orient. Drawing on the work of Gideon Toury and Theo Hermans for theoretical justification, I use Bourdieu’s concept of the field of literary production to examine the interaction between genuine and pseudo-translations from Chinese into English from the eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries, focusing in particular on Sir John Francis Davis’s genuine translation, The Sorrows of Han, and Frederick Marryat’s pseudo-translation, The Pacha of Many Tales, which incorporates and orientalizes Davis’s translation.

China and Its Others

Knowledge Transfer through Translation, 1829-2010


Edited by James St. André and Hsiao-yen PENG

This volume brings together some of the latest research by scholars from the UK, Taiwan, and Hong Kong to examine a variety of issues relating to the history of translation between China and Europe, aimed at increasing dialogue between Chinese studies and translation studies. Covering the nineteenth century to the present, the essays tackle a number of important issues, including the role of relay translation, hybridity and transculturation, methods for the incorporation of foreign words and concepts, the problems entailed by the importation of foreign paradigms and epistemes, the role of public institutions, the issue of agency, and the role of metaphors to conceptualize translation. By examining the dissemination of certain key terms from the West to the East, often through pivotal languages, and by laying bare the transformation of knowledge conveyed through these terms, the essays go well beyond the “difference and similarity” comparison model in the investigation of East-West relations, demonstrating that transcultural hybridity is a more meaningful topic to pursue. Moreover, they demonstrate how the translator, always working simultaneously under several domestic and foreign institutions, needs to resort to “selection, deletion and compromise”, in other words personal free choice, when negotiating among institutional powers.


Sasha Hsiang-yin Chen

This article studies the Marxist feminist ideas and ideology of Aleksandra Kollontai in the early Soviet Union and May Fourth China, with specific reference to both transmission and translation of Family and the Communist State. The first section of this paper shows how Kollontai depicts the blue print of “new women” in this text under the political context of Lenin’s hegemony, analyzing her conception of constructing the female “self” within the future Soviet family, public property and the communist state. Factors such as the relation between this source text and the target text ‘The Family in the Future Society’, the connection between Kollontai’s motivations for writing and Mao Dun's purpose in translating, the interaction between transmitting functions of Soviet propaganda and manipulating mechanisms of Chinese communist organizations, and the political environments and historical developments in the early Soviet Union and May Fourth China, are all investigated in the second part. Demonstrating the development of how this work travels, I argue that Russian and Chinese male communists usually employed the so-called “solving women’s questions” strategy to achieve their patriarchal and political aims when they encountered serious defeat in the 1920s. Paradoxically, Kollontai, as a nonconformist and a rebellious politician, survived the hegemony of Tsarism, Leninism and Stalinism, suggesting that the power of marginalization cannot be neglected.


Te-hsing Shan

Gulliver’s Travels was introduced into the Chinese-speaking world in 1872. Ever since, it has been one of the most popular translations/mistranslations in Chinese translation history. In 1997, the National Science Council in Taiwan launched the Annotated Translation Projects of the Classics in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Several apparatuses were required for such a project: a critical introduction, annotations, a chronology of the author, and references. As a scholar-cum-translator, I believe that a translator should better serve his target audience by informing them about the reception history of a particular text not only in its source context, but also in its target context. The translation project of Gulliver’s Travels provides me with an excellent opportunity to carry out my theory of dual contextualization, which is derived from my years of translation and my exposure to contemporary literary, cultural, and translation theories. This paper is a self-reflection of a scholar-cum-translator whose thick translation of Gulliver’s Travels intends to provide a unique Chinese version of this literary classic.


Yang Xiaobin

Almost all major Chinese poets in the post-Mao era have been enthusiastic in writing about their western (post-)modernist forerunners. In a way, this can be understood as translation of the great Western minds into the Chinese context. But if translation is etymologically synonymous to transference, we can discover that the process of translation can also be seen as that of transference in the psychoanalytic sense that links the Western masters (as texts) and their Chinese followers (as readers): the latter, nevertheless, transfer back feelings onto the former. This paper examines, with the help of the Lacanian theory of transference, how the Chinese poets address their sentiments, in different ways, to the presumably authoritative other. The major trends of transcultural transference in recent Chinese poetry correspond to the three Lacanian registers of the imaginary, the symbolic and the real: (1) imaginary identification with the other as the ideal-ego to create an intact, narcissistic, albeit illusionary, mirror image; (2) symbolic identification with the big Other as the ego-ideal that is expected to construct a modern(ized) cultural subject; and (3) transformation of the Other into an objet petit a as the way to invoke the ever-eluding desire and approach the traumatic core of the impossibility of identification or self-identity.


Pei-Yin Lin

Employing the term “translation” as problematics of aboriginal representations in colonial Taiwan, this paper examines how primitivity or exotica of the colonized (the Atayal people) is rendered in Shimizu Hiroshi’s film ‘Sayon’s Bell’ (1943) and other retellings of Sayon Hayun’s story. To highlight the asymmetrical power relations embedded in colonial exchange through translation, this paper first examines Japanese colonizers ’ construction of savagery and civility, analyzing the transfiguring process in which Taiwan’s aborigines are transformed from the savage other to martyred imperial subjects. It then draws on Venuti’s notions of “domestication” and “foreignization”, regarding the dissemination of Japanese colonial discourse as the former whereas the capture of Taiwanese aborigines’ ethnic/racial particularity the latter. Rather than reading the film as an exemplary national-policy film, this paper argues Shimizu’s meditative role as a cultural translator actually creates a space of slippage within colonial discourse as the film contains both domesticating and foreignizing translation tactics. Accordingly, Shimizu’s cinematic techniques and Li Xianglan’s transnational identity suggest more contradictions and ambiguities within imperialization discourse than a clear-cut reinforcement of it.