By Martha Cheung Pui Yiu, Lin Wusun
Translation has an extended historical past in China. Down the centuries translators, interpreters, Buddhist clergymen, Jesuit monks, Protestant missionaries, writers, historians, linguists, or even ministers and emperors have all written approximately translation, and from an awesome array of views. Such an exhilarating range of perspectives, reflections and theoretical brooding about the paintings and company 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 bargains with translation within the civil and executive context, and with the enormous venture 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 booklet to seem in English. It includes necessary basic fabric, permitting entry into the minds of translators operating in a time and house markedly diverse from ours, and in methods international or maybe unattainable to us. the themes those writers mentioned are normal. yet instead of a snug journey on well-trodden flooring, the anthology invitations us on an exhilarating trip of the mind's eye.
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Additional info for An Anthology of Chinese Discourse on Translation (Volume 1): From Earliest Times to the Buddhist Project
Those whose command of Chinese was minimal or non-existent generally sought security in translations whose language followed the source language as closely as possible – in syntax, and sometimes even in sound, as evidenced in the reliance on transliteration. If they were Presiding Translators, the outcome of the discussion would naturally lean towards their preferences. Such a clear hierarchy of power meant that in discourse on translation, the words of those higher in the hierarchy carried more authority, though there would always be exceptions, as for example when the Presiding Translator (for example Kumārajīva ቑᐰᢅ չ or Paramārtha టᘥ) saw an equal partner in the Recorder (bǐshòu ࠹), or when the Recorder (for example Zhi Qian ֭ᝐ) somehow managed to make his views known (entry 29).
The commentaries at the end of each passage highlight links between entries and give the present editor’s comments on the ideas expressed in them. Both the annotations and the commentaries are presented in terms of contemporary concerns and preoccupations. This present-day voice interweaves with voices from the past to set into motion a dialogic operation predicated upon the belief that there is no “innocent” writing. The Buddhist project of the past was rooted in ideology, just as the present anthology is driven by the ideology of the editor.
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.