Ideological Manipulation in Translation in a Chinese Context: Su Manshu's Translation of Les Misérables
by Li Li | |
| | | | | | |1. Introduction: | |Su Manshu and his translation of Les Misérables | |u Manshu (1884-1918), whose original name was Xuanying and his Buddhist name Manshu, was born in Yokohama, Japan, of a | |Cantonese merchant and a Japanese woman. At the age of six, he was sent back to Xiangshan, Guangdong Province, China, | |the birthplace of his father. He was a poet, writer, painter, translator, dictionary and Sanskrit grammar book compiler,| |anthologist and Buddhist monk. | |In 1903 Su Manshu translated Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, a long novel consisting of 5 volumes (9 books). The | |translated version was presented in 14 chapters with 2 lines of titles at the beginning of each chapter to tell readers | |about the main content. He started with Book II, that is to say, omitted the entire Book, and reorganized the original | |chapters according to the major plots of Book II. He also created a hero named Ming Nande within his translation, whose | |heroic actions took place from the latter part of Chapter 7 to Chapter 13. | |In China Su Manshu was mainly remembered as a pioneer of poetry translation, yet when it came to his translation of Les | |Misérables, the comments always centered on its unfaithfulness. No substantial study has ever been made to probe into | |the reasons behind such a practice. The research by such scholars as André Lefevere (1992, 1995) and Susan Bassnett | |(1995) on ideological manipulation of translation gives us some insight to rethink Su Manshu's translation of Les | |Misérables from the ideological perspective. | | | |2. Ideologies Influencing Su Manshu's Translation Decision | |The concept of ideology has been broadening and its introduction to Translation Studies has enabled researchers to probe| |into some translational phenomena, which might have been neglected otherwise. Translation, according to André Lefevere | |(1992) and Jiri Levy (2000), is one important form of rewritings and a decision process, which is not done in a vacuum, | |but rather influenced by certain linguistic, ideological and poetic factors. | |The ideological manipulation in translation could refer to "any interference with the text, be it cultural, religious, | |political or otherwise, imposing modifications that are not textual constraints, for the purpose of indoctrination" | |(Nitsa 2000: 43). The ideologies I am going to adopt here to analyze Su Manshu's translation of Les Misérables include | |the following three ones. | | | |2.1 Buddhism in Su Manshu | |Su Manshu shaved his head and became a monk three times in his...
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