Title

Problems in translating culture : the translated titles of Fusheng liuji

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

TTR: Traduction, Terminologie, Redaction

Publication Date

1-1-2011

Volume

24

Issue

2

First Page

177

Last Page

206

Keywords

Fusheng Liuji, translating philosophy, intercultural mediation, naturalization, foreignization, reductionism

Abstract

Translating culture poses fundamental problems of perception and conception far deeper than matters of linguistic expression. This essay explores some of these problems by examining Fusheng liuji (Six Records of a Floating Life), a Chinese autobiographical text that has been translated into fourteen Asian and European languages. Even without going into the details of the rendered versions, one can notice various forms of intercultural mediation and reshaping in the translated titles and added subtitles. At one end is direct, partly helpless substitution: lexically flawless “float” cannot encompass the rich matrix of philosophical connotations and artistic resonances of fu in the source culture. At the other end is active reshaping: recasting, addition and omission based on interpretive (mis)reading, including a reduction of imagistic language into abstract concept (e.g., fu becomes “fleeting”). Through examining 17 renditions of the title of Fusheng liuji, this essay offers a case study that helps to cast light on the unavoidable factor of intercultural mediation in the translation process, with special focus on the translation of philosophical and aesthetic concepts. Some forms of mediation carry more significant effects than others, and there may be differences in verbal resources and orientations in various languages worthy of notice.

DOI

10.7202/1013399ar

Print ISSN

08358443

E-ISSN

17082188

Publisher Statement

Copyright © ttr: Traduction, Terminologie, Redaction

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Recommended Citation

Kwong, Y. T. C. (2011). Problems in translating culture: The translated titles of fusheng liuji. TTR: Traduction, Terminologie, Redaction, 24(2), 177-206. doi: 10.7202/1013399ar