Representing the Self in Translation: Montenegrin and Macedonian Anthologies of Children’s Short Stories in English
Marija Todorova (University American College Skopje, Republic of Macedonia)
This paper investigates the specific challenges posed by the process of creating and translating contemporary anthologies of children’s short stories. Translated anthologies are specific in that they are “different from anthologies of texts in their own language […] but the issues of representation, identity construction and politics of intervention, are of common concern” (Cheung, 2013:79). Literary translations represent foreign cultures, and this is even more evident in anthologies that mention a particular nationality in their titles.
Focusing on two collections, An Anthology of Children’s Short Stories by Montenegrin Authors (1996) and Macedonian Literature: Children’s Short Stories (2011), this study analyzes both the text and the paratext as defined by Genette, through the prism of the social narrative of self-representation that they seek to establish with the target readers. Both anthologies can be said to serve the same purpose of contributing – through the means of literary discourse – to the process of nation building and the forging of a distinctive national identity. Both anthologies have been compiled by local editors, and translated by local translators. Thus, these two collections can be seen (and analysed) as attempts at self-representation. They both “assert the right of self-representation as a personal act of resistance against subjugation and hegemony”, while at the same time problematizing that self-representation in terms of “the ‘national self’ that is being represented, and […] avoid[ing] the trap of creating a master narrative of the self-same and ensure real representativeness of the variety of cultural identities comprising any national culture” (Cheung, 2013:82). They serve not only to codify the national literary canon, but can also seek to re-evaluate or alter the canon, providing a completely different idea of what a particular national (or supra-national, e.g. European) literature is (Dominguez, 2013:17-18).
Somnambulant Encounters between Dai Wangshu and Federico García Lorca: A Transculturation Approach to Narrative in Poetry
Jesús Sayols (Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong)
In recent studies on the translation of literature drawing on narrative theory, poetry has not usually been the focus of attention. Particularly when combining narratological and sociological approaches, questions of genre or text-type appear as secondary, trifling, or even outdated in comparison to more engaging and empowering issues that translators are assumed to encounter when reinterpreting, reframing or reconstructing narratives through their translation practice. In this regard, the general purpose of this paper is to address a “classic” contentious issue when trying to understand narrative, namely, the distinction between narrative and story. At the same time, it attempts to revalorize the translation of poetry as a site of inquiry from a socio-narrative perspective. By taking Dai Wangshu’s translational activity as the focus of attention, the particular aim is to analyse how the story, unfolded by Dai in his translation of Federico García Lorca’s poem “Romance sonámbulo” into Chinese, was reframed in Dai’s own poetic narrative. The paper proposes an interpretive framework based on the notion of transculturation to emphasize the performative aspect of Dai’s translation practice. Transculturation, from a sociological perspective, helps establish striking connections between Dai’s poetic and translational activity, disclosing alternative interpretations of Dai’s verse. In the case concerned, the story of “Somnambular Ballad” can be identified as a subtext underlying the narrative of various poems Dai composed during his exile in Hong Kong. Therefore, not only establishing categorical distinctions between narrative and story seem to become fuzzy, but also resorting to univocal relations between assumed and presumed sources and targets is questionable. Some tentative reflections on the application of the transculturation model proposed in this paper for the study of narrative in the translation of poetry – and in poetry in general – in relation to other space-time locations are offered as a conclusion.
Translation Matters of Narrative Structure in German Contemporary Novels – A Case of W. G. Sebald
Mi-Hyun Ahn (Mokpo National University, South Korea)
It is difficult to discuss narrative structure in the texts of German writer W. G. Sebald (1944-2001), because he tries to deconstruct conventional narrative theories. This means that his writings tend to reject traditional narratology, whilst he prefers the collection of fragmentary memories and facts out of different resources rather than a traditional storytelling according to deliberate plots.
In terms of translation, narrative structure in Sebald’s texts causes therefore plenty of problems with regards to tense, mode, viewpoint etc.: In his extremely long sentences, for example, which go almost beyond the limit of German grammar and approach to the impossibility of translation, various narrators who are often unimportant, anonymous, and already forgotten like in oral history, appear in a single sentence.
As a result, translator takes part in searching for unidentified narrators and finding out their own voices as well as their stories which had disappeared and been erased in history. In this aspect, translator could contribute not only to literary criticism, as Marilyn Gaddis Rose argues, but also to cultural intervention and cultural criticism as well, whilst he could (re-)interpret their narratives based on his re-reading and re-writing.
Translating Narratives and Counter-Narratives in When Pera Trees Whisper: Protests and Multiculturalism
Duygu Tekgül (Yeditepe University, Turkey)
After Istanbul’s Gezi Park protests erupted in the summer of 2013, the events formed the backdrop of the latest novel in the Chief Inspector Nevzat series by the bestselling Turkish author Ahmet Ümit. Beyoğlu’nun En Güzel Abisi (2013), a detective novel with a historical and political streak, was translated into English by Elke Dixon as When Pera Trees Whisper (2014). The novel addresses both the recent protest movement and the exodus of non-Muslim communities from Istanbul following a pogrom in 1955.
Set in the heart of the city, where the most dramatic events unfolded, the source text reflects the competing public narratives on a number of social issues including the protests, police violence and ethnic diversity in Turkey, replicating many of the narrative tropes circulating in the mass media, social media and everyday parlance. A case of source-initiated translation, the target text has been reframed and packaged as a “Gezi novel” by Everest Publications, which issued both language editions. When Pera Trees Whisper translates narratives and counter-narratives for a non-Turkish readership, both linguistically and culturally: through word choice, additions, explicitations and other strategies, the translator renders these intelligible for an international target audience. A comparative analysis of source text and target text reveals that while the former metonymizes the narratives on the protests and multiculturalism through certain words of political import (see Tymoczko 1999: 41-57) the translator resorts to strategies of expansion in order to construct the narratives in the latter.
Drawing from theoretical interventions on narrative theory in translation studies (Baker 2006, 2010), and empirical analyses on translating the Egyptian Revolution (Mehrez 2012, Baker 2016) this paper explores the translation of political narratives in When Pera Trees Whisper. Through a micro-level analysis, it traces a select list of key words with considerable semantic load in the target text.
Between Tradition and Modernity－Female Narrative Discourse in Translation From the Late Qing Period to May 4th Movement in China (1896-1918)
Yu Yan (Wuhan Textile University, China)
From late Qing Period to May 4th Movement (1896-1918) in China, the discourse of “National Salvation and Enlightenment”, advocated by Chinese scholar officials, started with translation narrative, then tremendously affected the public narrative and finally became the grand narrative of the entire nation. Within this context, since male intellectuals dominated the mainstream narrative and constructed the discourse of women’s liberation for fear of national subjugation and genocide, the social identity and roles of women in the new era were still defined by men and brought into the grand narrative.
However, with the development of the female education of early modern China, a certain amount of female intellectuals actively participated in the public narrative by means of translating various forms of literature works, including novels, plays and poems. As the renarration by women, whether the translations of these female translators reinforce or resist the male-dominated mainstream narrative remains a question. And the relationship of their translations with the mainstream translation norms in accordance with the grand narrative and collective narrative, is worth being considered.
Taking the translation texts and paratexts of several representative female translators in this period as the object of study, and drawing on a gender perspective, this paper analyzes how women’s translations are involved with social narrative in terms of the interaction among the collective narrative, the public narrative, the translation norms, the gender identity of female translators and their translation texts.
During this period, female translators were facing complex conflicts between tradition and modernity, patriarchy and female identity, Oriental and Western culture. On the one hand, though in a subtle way, they tried to highlight their gender identity. Their text selection presented a feminist narrative perspective and observation experience of exotic culture and gender issues, indicating that women were not passively enlightened or spoken any more. Their source-text oriented translation strategies, deviating from the mainstream translation norms at that time, though marginalized, could be seen as quite pioneering considering the transformation of translation norms after May 4th. Their translation narrative reflected the awakening of modern feminist consciousness and promoted the construction of the “New Women” in China. On the other hand, their expression and interpretation of the texts were restricted by their personal and female experience under the cultural pressures of social convention, morality, class, nationality, etc. The main research methods of this paper are literature research, descriptive research and historical comparison.
Understanding Narratives for China’s Publicity Campaign
Xu Hong (Luoyang University of Foreign Languages, China)
All texts could be understood as narratives, while no piece of narratives is value-free. The narrator will always help the audience gain the intended (by the narrator) interpretation of events. Narratives CONSTRUCT facts and even people’s cognition of facts.(Riessman 1993; Baker 2006) As China is now aiming at promoting her positive image onto the international stage through the issuing of publicity texts, apart from a lot of other means, the construction of the publicity narratives is of great importance. “Publicity texts” is a broad term to encompass every kind of texts for this purpose. This paper attempts to illustrate that a good understanding and smart use of narrative techniques can benefit both the construction of texts themselves and the construction of the desired image. The illustration is carried out through a descriptive and comparative study of the divergent images constructed through the analysis of two news texts about China’s first aircraft carrier Liaoning. One of the news, a publicity text issued by Xinhua net, constructs a positive image of China through the use of narrative techniques, such as selective appropriations, temporality, recurring storylines, genre, and the framing effect of point of view. For contrast, the other news is selected from a foreign agency, the Hindu. Interestingly, the very use of the same techniques brings out the suspicion that China is threatening regional security. Understanding narratives and narrative techniques will benefit those who work for China’s publicity campaign.
Relabeling as a Reframing Strategy in Translation: A Case Study of the Representation of China in News Discourse
Li Pan (Guangdong University, China), Sixin Liao (University of Manchester, UK)
(Re)labelling, a major strategy depicted in narrative theory (Baker 2006), can be a powerful tool in reframing narratives in translation, especially in negotiating features in politically charged narration, for instance, in translating sensitive news coverage of China in Western media. As a country beyond the Western world, China has long been prevailingly represented as a cultural and ideological “other” in Western media. It is thus interesting to investigate how, in translating news on China, narratives that are politically charged and attitudinally loaded are rendered. This paper will analyze a selection of English news reports on the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Torch Relay and their Chinese translations to examine the way that labelling, as a prime form of evaluation, is deployed in translating some key elements in news narratives. The deviations generated by the strategy of labelling will be identified and analyzed by comparing the translated news collected from Can Kao Xiao Xi (The Reference News), the Chinese newspaper with the largest daily circulation in China, and their corresponding English texts from four English news sources, i.e. The Associated Press, The Washington Post, Reuters, The New York Times and BBC. While the main approach is qualitative and interpretative, a quantitative approach will be used in terms of quantifying the frequencies and tracing the patterns of labelling deviations. It will then analyze and discuss the methods and effect of labelling in the translation. It is hoped to shed light on the role of labelling in news discourse translation in particular and on studies on news translation in general.
The Highlight of the Translation Purpose and the Framing of the Target Text － Reevaluating Lin Shu’s Translation from the Perspective of Socio-Narrative Theory
Quan Xun-lian (Anqing Normal University, China), Wang Ai-qing (Anqing Normal University, China)
Socio-narrative theory has been applied to translation studies since it was put forward by Mona Baker in her book Translation and Conflict: A Narrative Account (2006). The crucial idea of this theory is that narratives do not merely represent but constitute the world. According to this theory, translation is the (re)configuration of narratives, which means translators and interpreters can and do resort to various strategies to accentuate, undermine or modify aspects of the narrative(s) encoded in the source text or utterance. In other words, translators and interpreters are not merely passive receivers of assignments from others; many initiate their own translation projects and actively select texts and volunteer for interpreting tasks that contribute to the elaboration of particular narratives. Consciously or otherwise, they translate texts and utterances that participate in creating, negotiating and contesting social reality. In this sense, translation may also be treated as a “framing”. Translation framing includes ambiguity framing, space framing, temporal and spatial framing and selective appropriation of textual material.
Drawing on socio-narrative theory, this paper attempts to explore and reevaluate the translation activities of Lin Shu. As one of the most famous translators in modern China, Lin Shu made his contribution to modem Chinese literary history by his extensive translations of foreign novels, which were extremely popular during the late Qing dynasty and early Republic of China period. On the one hand, Lin Shu’s translation activity is considered legendary in China’s translation history, because of its huge quantity and its great influence; on the other hand, as a translator who knew no foreign languages, Lin Shu often adopted the ways of free translation and omission/abridgement and he indiscriminately selected works by those second or third rank authors such as Henry Rider Haggard as source texts, so his translations often invite derogatory comments．
By examining the set of novels adapted for the Chinese at that time by Lin Shu and citing examples in the translated novels and investigating introductions, titles, cover blurbs, footnotes, and additional glossaries, this paper carries out a detailed analysis of Lin Shu’s special translation purpose and the ways in which Lin Shu uses translation to select, deselect and frame material from the original novels to achieve his translation purpose. This paper argues that, by using these framing translation strategies such as temporal and spatial framing, selective appropriation of textual material, framing by labeling and repositioning of participants, Lin Shu appropriated the original novels into different social narratives, created new social realities in the target society for the new target readers, finally realized the purpose of saving the country by enlightening the people’s thoughts, and therefore promoted social progress.
Narrative Framing in the English Translation of The Draft of the Constitution of the Republic of China
Zhao Ying (Henan Institute of Science and Technology, China)
The Draft of the Constitution of the Republic of China was first issued in 1937 as a combination of both Sun Yat-sen’s ruling ideal and western law spirit. And in 1940 its translation was published in volume 5 of T’ien Hsia Monthly sponsored by Chinese officials with international circulation. Drawing on Mona Baker’s theory of narrative framing in translation, this study analyzes the narrative framing in the English translation of the Draft of the Constitution of the Republic of China. Baker points out that translator may mediate the narrative elaborated in the source text with repositioning of participants. The devices available for effecting this reconfiguration of positions are shifts in relationality, genericness and normativeness. It discovers, after focusing on the shifts, that the translated version of the Draft imitates the generic form of the American Constitution, which may represent the spirit of modern nation, so as to highlight their similarity, and that deviation from the American Constitution normativeness is also made in the translation of exclusive words and ideas in the Draft so as to emphasize the nation’s individuality. The paper thus concludes that translator, with empathy to the legislator, constitutes the narrative reality of the Republic of China as a modern nation with its own features in the framing of the Draft translation
Reframing the Snowden Disclosure Narrative in Translation
Zhang Meifang (University of Macau, Macau), Brian Qin Binjian (University of Macau, Macau)
This paper draws on concepts from appraisal theory and the notion of framing to examine translations of media narratives on Snowden’s disclosures reported in June 2013. Appraisal theory is developed by Martin and White (2005) upon systemic functional linguistics and the notion of framing is introduced by Baker (2006) from social narrative theory, the former is a particular approach to exploring, describing and explaining the way language is used to evaluate, to adopt stances, and to manage interpersonal positionings and relationships, while narrative theory can help to explore various ways in which translators and interpreters accentuate, undermine or modify contested aspects of the narratives encoded in the source text or utterance. Data collected for this study are from two sources: the Hong Kong based Apple Daily and the Chinese Mainland based Global Times. The Chinese narratives from Apple Daily are indicated to be translated from different Western newspapers such as The Guardian, AP and Los Angeles Times, while those from the Global Times are English translations from its own Chinese narratives of the Snowden event. Starting with a comparative overview of relevant notions of the two theories, the paper goes on to identify the attitudinal meanings of the clauses in their gradability in mediating stance and positioning in the narratives of this politically sensitive event, and then applies three of the four framing strategies introduced by Baker (ibid) to assess the translations of news stories to explore how the original narratives are reframed by means of repositioning participants, re-labelling sensitive items and selectively appropriating textual materials. It also discusses possible factors influencing the attitudinal deviations and reframing strategies in the process. It is hoped that this study will serve as a useful reference for integrating theoretical concepts from systemic functional linguistics and social narrative theory as a tool for enquiring into issues of human, politics and international relationships.
Indigenous and Western narrative traditions: A meeting of ambiguities
Maria Medved (American University of Paris, France / University of Manitoba, Canada)
Translational problems abound in narrative research interviews. In such interviews the participant and the researcher need to understand, as quickly as possible, what the other is saying so to offer responses or to pose questions. All stories are co-constructions and while seemingly straightforward, they are, however, fraught with challenges. The potential difficulties exponentially increase when narrators (and researchers) are from cultures with different narrative traditions.
In this presentation, I discuss some of the translational ambiguities that emerged in research I – a white Canadian woman – conducted with indigenous women (Cree and Objibway) in central Canada living on reserves. I found it helpful to think about these ambiguities along three different levels. The first level is language. The interviews were conducted in English, mainly because it was, despite many differences in usage, the “shared” language, but English unavoidably carries with it many colonial connotations. It is, after all, the language of ‘White man’s research.’
The second level is that of life stories or, more precisely, of genres and narrative conventions of self-understanding and self-presentation. Many of the stories the women told lacked standard genre indicators common to Western storytelling. It soon became obvious that both “sides” drew on different storytelling traditions.
On the third level I focus on the interview environment in which our narrative interactions took place. More specifically I discuss the problem of mutual cultural labelling, and how it translated into a discursive dynamic that impacted the trajectories of the narratives.
Interpreter’s Mediation at Political Press Conferences: A Narrative Account
Sixin Liao (University of Manchester, UK), Li Pan (Guangdong University, China)
Socio-narrative theory has been widely applied to translation studies and proved to be a useful tool in accounting for the complex negotiation of power relations (Baker 2006, 2009, 2010; Harding 2012; Pérez-González 2010). It could be helpful to draw on the theory to investigate the interpreter’s mediation at political press conferences where there are obvious ideological differences and conflicts of national interests. Through a case analysis of a press conference between President Obama of the United States and former Chinese President Hu Jintao, this article examines how the interpreter’s mediation is realized by altering the speakers’ narratives. Specifically, it analyzes the ways the interpreter accentuates, undermines and modifies the original narratives through reframing the features of narrativity, including relationality, selective appropriation and causal emplotment. It goes further to explore how the interpreter’s mediation, constrained by the frame space (Goffman 1981) as well as the micro and macro contexts, can reflect the interpreter’s power and agency. Several findings are revealed in the analysis. Firstly, the interpreter’s power and agency are realized by his mediation of the speakers’ narratives. Such mediation virtually enables him to achieve ‘visibility’, especially when his presence is ignored due to the speakers’ neglect of the participants of the other language and the unequal reliance of the speakers on the interpreting service. Secondly, the interpreter acts as an active participant that is of important impact on the construction of the politicians’ images and the success of the diplomatic communication between the two countries. Thirdly, the professional image of the interpreter is enhanced by mediating the speaker’s specific labelling, which creates distance between the interpreter and the speaker.