An Anthology of Chinese Discourse on Translation (Volume 1): by Martha Cheung Pui Yiu, Lin Wusun

By Martha Cheung Pui Yiu, Lin Wusun

Translation has an extended heritage in China. Down the centuries translators, interpreters, Buddhist clergymen, Jesuit clergymen, Protestant missionaries, writers, historians, linguists, or even ministers and emperors have all written approximately translation, and from an awesome array of views. Such a thrilling range of perspectives, reflections and theoretical wondering the paintings and enterprise of translating is now introduced jointly in a two-volume anthology. the 1st quantity covers a timeframe from approximately the fifth century BCE to the 12th century CE. It offers with translation within the civil and govt context, and with the huge undertaking of Buddhist sutra translation. the second one quantity spans the thirteenth century CE to the Revolution of 1911, which introduced an finish to feudal China. It offers with the transmission of Western studying to China - a translation enterprise that modified the epistemological horizon or even the attitude of chinese language humans. Comprising over 250 passages, such a lot of that are translated into English for the 1st time right here, the anthology is the 1st significant resource publication to seem in English. It includes priceless basic fabric, permitting entry into the minds of translators operating in a time and house markedly diversified from ours, and in methods international or maybe unimaginable to us. the themes those writers mentioned are standard. yet instead of a comfy journey on well-trodden flooring, the anthology invitations us on an exhilarating trip of the mind's eye.

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An Anthology of Chinese Discourse on Translation (Volume 1): From Earliest Times to the Buddhist Project

Translation has an extended historical past in China. Down the centuries translators, interpreters, Buddhist clergymen, Jesuit clergymen, Protestant missionaries, writers, historians, linguists, or even ministers and emperors have all written approximately translation, and from an grand array of views. Such a thrilling range of perspectives, reflections and theoretical pondering the artwork and enterprise of translating is now introduced jointly in a two-volume anthology.

Extra resources for An Anthology of Chinese Discourse on Translation (Volume 1): From Earliest Times to the Buddhist Project

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It is not possible to encapsulate such an ambivalence in a single English word, and so in this anthology “běn” ‫ ء‬is translated as “source” or as “version”/“edition”, depending on the context. Neither “source” nor “version”/“edition” will be put in bold, since these terms do not belong to the same category of terms used in association with “refined” (wén ֮) and Introduction 13 “unhewn” (zhì ᔆ) translation. To trope the subtle presence of “běn” ‫ ء‬in Chinese discourse on sutra translation, neither “source” nor “version”/“edition” will be provided with its transliteration and Chinese character in brackets.

All these are familiar topics. But rather than a comfortable trip on well-trodden ground, the entries present the challenge and excitement of an adventure in a strange country, where the terrain is difficult and the climate extreme; and where people do things differently, look at life differently, and speak in an unimaginably different language. It is a journey of the imagination. To make that journey a worthwhile experience, the mind has to let go of its usual assumptions and notions (about translation, for example), make vigorous preparations, take a firm grasp on background and other relevant historical information, and somersault through several millennia and endless distance.

Moreover, they reverberated with similar or related terms to form a network of semantic resonance. That was in fact the way a key debate on Buddhist sutra translation was carried out, namely the debate between the wén ֮ (refined) school and the zhì ᔆ (unhewn) school of translation. The terms that amplified one another and bounced off one another to generate the dynamics of meaning belonging to these two concepts of translation have to be gathered from the discussion, and the context has to be taken into consideration before anything that comes close to our modern understanding of “the meaning of a term” begins to emerge.

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