Translation as Violence: On Lu Xun’s View of “Yi Jie”

Translation as Violence: On Lu Xun's View of "Yi Jie"

Xuanmin Luo - Professor of English and Translation Studies, Department of Foreign Languages; and Director, Center for Translation and Interdisciplinary Studies, Tsinghua University, Beijing

Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Room 103, Henry R. Luce Hall See map
34 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 6511

Translation has long been deemed primarily a verbal shift from one language to another, an art of verbal performance. But this attitude cannot explain why and how translation may play a role in the formation of a nation’s modernity, a time when people evaluate and re-evaluate their history and adjust to a new situation, wherein the local and the alien, the old and the new are in constant conflict. The relatively new field of translation studies has helped scholars throughout the world to appreciate the ideological function of translation. In the past two decades Chinese scholars too have introduced post-colonial, post-modernist and feminist approaches into the study of translation, which has facilitated the dialogue of translation studies between China and the West. Yet the investigation of Chinese translation theory in a cross-cultural context has been insufficient. This paper will discuss Lu Xun’s view of Yi jie in translation in a global context. Translation is, in this case, treated as a violence to subvert tradition and as a series of conscious activities aimed at reforming China and constructing Chinese modernity. Luo Xuanmin, Ph.D, is professor of English and Translation Studies in the Department of Foreign Languages, Director of the Center for Translation and Interdisciplinary Studies, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. His research interests cover translation and interdisciplinary studies, comparative literature and discourse analysis. His publication includes books and translations in various presses, e.g. Translating China (ed.), Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Academic, 2007; Translation and Interdisciplinary Studies (ed.), Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 2007; Literary Criticism and Literary Translation, Beijing: People’s Literature Press, 2005; Language, Cognition and Translation Studies (ed.), Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 2005; Intertextuality and Translation, Beijing: Tsinghua University Press, forthcoming. His translation includes Creative Intuition in Art and Poetry (Jacques Maritain), Beijing: San-Lian Press, 1991; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain) Haikou: Hainan International News Press, 1997; God of the Jesus Christ (Walter Kasper, English translation by Matthew I.O. Connell) Hong Kong: The Logos and Pneuma Press, 2005. His articles were published in various journals at home and abroad, e.g. META, Perspectives, Tamkang Review, Foreign Literature Review, Journal of Chinese Translators, Chinese Comparative Literature, Foreign Languages Teaching and Research, Journal of Tsinghua University. He is the recipient of the “Outstanding Scholar for Chinese Higher Education” granted by the State Council of China (1993). He also won the Second Prize for his book A Contrastive Study in Discourse Analysis between English and Chinese, an award for “Outstanding Works in Humanities and Social Sciences” bestowed by the City Government of Beijing (2002). “Teaching Translation in China: Problems and Perspectives”, won him the third prize for “The 3rd China’s Outstanding Researchers in Education” bestowed by the Chinese Ministry of Education (2006). Professor Luo is the Executive Committee Member of the International Association of Translation and Intercultural Studies (IATIS); Vice Chairman, Chinese Association of Comparative Studies in English and Chinese (CACSEC); the Founding Editor of the journal Foreign Languages and Translation, Chief Editor of Abstracts of Chinese Translation Studies (ACTS), Member on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Chinese Translators. He is also on the International Advisory Board of the Canadian journal TTR, co-editor of the Denmark journal Perspectives: Study on Translatology,, and Advisory Board Member of the Centre for Asian and African Literatures co-sponsored by SOAS & UCL, UK. Professor Luo was twice (1995-1996, 2001) Visiting Fellow to the Department of Comparative Literature at Yale University. He is, at present, Fulbright Research Scholar (2006-2007) at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of California, Los Angeles. His current research project is “Shaping Chinese Modernity through Translation: Case Studies in the Late 19th and the Early 20th Centuries.”

This lecture is made possible by support from the Fulbright Program
China, Taiwan, Hong Kong