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THE NOTION OF ORIGINALITY AND DEGREES OF FAITHFULNESS IN TRANSLATING CLASSICAL CHINESE: COMPARING TRANSLATIONS OF THE LIEZI

Li, XA; (2015) THE NOTION OF ORIGINALITY AND DEGREES OF FAITHFULNESS IN TRANSLATING CLASSICAL CHINESE: COMPARING TRANSLATIONS OF THE LIEZI. Early China , 38 pp. 109-128. 10.1017/eac.2015.2. Green open access

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Abstract

This article compares several post-1950s translations of the Liezi, and examines the concept of originality, the degrees of closeness to the original text a modern translation can achieve, and how this “faithfulness” can be understood. I first discuss how the problem of the Liezi's originality has negatively influenced critics' and translators' perception of the text's significance, then compare its different translations to show their specific translational and interpretational problems. Finally, I reflect on the overarching methodological question that frames my comparisons of translations, namely, why compare? I argue that comparing translations cannot be a means to ascertain the best translation, because both concepts of originality and faithfulness are multiple in meaning rather than singularly defined. Instead of measuring translations in terms of “fidelity,” a more insightful practice would be discovering the insights different translations offer into the relationships between the original and translated texts, source and target languages, as well as questioning the construction of texts as “original source texts” through translation by recognizing the potential fluidity and multiplicity of the source text itself.

Type: Article
Title: THE NOTION OF ORIGINALITY AND DEGREES OF FAITHFULNESS IN TRANSLATING CLASSICAL CHINESE: COMPARING TRANSLATIONS OF THE LIEZI
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/eac.2015.2
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/eac.2015.2
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10112672
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