The personal narrative of a Chinese literary translator

Authored by: Bonnie S. McDougall

The Routledge Handbook of Chinese Translation

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  October  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138938267
eBook ISBN: 9781315675725
Adobe ISBN:


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One of the most important decisions that translators make is choosing what to translate. Looking back at the work by 50-odd writers I’ve translated over the past 50-odd years, I was first struck by the variety and haphazard nature of these transactions. What I now see is a fairly consistent practice of sticking with a particular writer or work over many years, combining translation with teaching and research. Another factor that I only became aware of quite recently is just how long a time I’ve spent learning how to translate, and while I don’t necessarily think I translate better than I did 50 years ago, my translations have changed in response to changing environments. This chapter therefore unfolds as an uneven narrative involving different countries, employment, co-translation and, above all, translatees.

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