Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 14

Lam Yin Sim, Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October, 2011

TRA3240 Theories and Philosophies II


Essay 1 The Theory of Manipulation
How do ideologies influence translators decisions on translation? (Ideological Manipulation)

Introduction Translation, according to Andr 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. Andr Lefevere focused on power or manipulation in translation studies. According to his preface of the book Translation, Rewriting and the Manipulation of Literary Fame (1992: vii), Translation is, of course, a rewriting of an original text. All rewritings, whatever their intentions, reflect a certain ideology and a poetics and as such manipulate literature to function in a given society in a given way. Rewriting is manipulation, undertaken in the service of power. In this essay, I am going to study how individual ideologies influence translators decisions on rewritings of original texts when patronage is differentiated, and how translators exert their power over original texts to manipulate translation. Several famous Chinese translators, including Su Manshu Yan Fu ,
1

Lam Yin Sim, Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October, 2011

Lu Xun , Liang Shiqiu and as well as their translation , have been chosen to be discussed in this essay. Through analyzing their background and ideologies, I would try to explain their decisions, approaches and strategies in translating or rewriting. After that, conclusion about ideological manipulation can be drawn.

Su Manshu and His Translation of Les Misrables 2.1 Introduction of Su and his translation Su Manshu (1884-1918) was born in Japan, whose father was a Cantonese merchant and mother was a Japanese woman. His original name was Xuanying and Manshu was his Buddhist name. At the age of six, he was sent back to the birthplace of his father, Guangdong Province, China. He was a poet, writer, translator, painter, anthologist, dictionary and Sanskrit grammar book compiler and a Buddhist monk. In 1903, Su Manshu translated Victor Hugo's long novel, Les Misrables, which consisted of 5 volumes with 9 books in total. However, the translated version was presented in 14 chapters. At the beginning of each chapter, there were two lines of titles which told readers about the main content. His translation started with Book II, which meant he had
2

Lam Yin Sim, Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October, 2011

omitted the entire Book I, and reorganized the original chapters according to the major plots of Book II. In his translation, he also created a hero called Ming Nande, whose heroic actions took place from Chapter 7 to Chapter 13. Besides, he translated the protagonists name, Jean Valjean, into which was the homonyms of (meaning rare to have understood). Other characters was named as with the homonyms of , as with the homonyms of . Sus strong feelings about love and hate were clearly expressed in his translation. Su rewrote the original text to a very large extent, arising critics questions and comments which regarded his translation of Les Misrables as unfaithfulness and mistranslation. In normal practices, Su Manshu was opposed to casual omissions and additions in translation. He once criticized Lin Shu's translation for its unfaithfulness. Why did he translate in such a way which was quite contrary to his own philosophy? The research of Andr Lefevere on ideological manipulation of translation gives us some insight to rethink Su Manshu's translation of Les Misrables from the ideological perspective.

Lam Yin Sim, Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October, 2011

2.2

Ideologies influencing Sus translation decisions 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). In the following discussion, I will mainly focus on ideologies of culture, religion and politics. According to a case study, Ideological Manipulation in Translation in a Chinese Context: Su Manshus Translation of Les Misrables, published in Volume 9 of Translation Journal, Su decided to translate in such a way were not always casual, rather the alteration reflected the translator's ideologies, namely Buddhism, the dominant ideology of the Qing Dynasty, and Confucianism. (2005) Because of his ideology of Buddhism, Su took a hostile attitude towards Christianity and therefore changed a righteous and benevolent bishop into a greedy and hypocritical monk, added negative comments and omitted the whole Book I, which is a positive description of Bishop Myriel. Besides, Su Manshu created a hero Ming Nande, based on his hope to achieve revolutionary success resulting in a better world, which was definitely not permissible according to the dominant ideology of the Qing
4

Lam Yin Sim, Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October, 2011

Monarchy. He gave his own ideas about revolution in the form of translation because translation grants some kind of limited immunity to those who write it (after all, they are not responsible for what others wrote) (Bassnett & Lefevere 1995:23). Moreover, Su Manshu grew up in a Confucianism-soaked feudal culture. It was difficult for him to escape from the very influence of Confucianism. Therefore, ideas of Confucianism such as benevolence, morality, etiquette, filial obedience, etc were obviously revealed in his alteration in the translation.

Yan Fu and his translation of On Liberty 3.1 Introduction of Yan and his translation Yan Fu (1854-1921) was a Chinese scholar, translator and translation theorist. Yan stated in the preface to his translation of Evolution and Ethics that there are three difficulties in translation: faithfulness, expressiveness, and elegancewhich left deep marks on translation studies in China and became the golden rule for many translators. In 1899, forty years after On Liberty was published, Yan Fu translated
5

Lam Yin Sim, Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October, 2011

it into Chinese. He was literally very faithful to the source text but actually the two texts are significantly different. According to Translation as Manipulation: a case study of Yan Fu Rendition of On Liberty, an essay published in Issue 5 of Translatum Journal, Yans translation of On Liberty was not re-presentation, but manipulation. Yan adopted a number of strategies for this end, such as shift of focus, addition of terms and statements, and supply of summarizing notes. Yan Fu advocated faithfulness as the fundamental requirement of translation but why did he rewrite the original text, On Liberty, in such a way? Similarly, it can be explained by the theory of ideological manipulation in translation. 3.2 Ideologies influencing Yans translation decisions What Yan Fu was most concerned with was the survival of the state, and his addition of evolutionary ideas emphasized the role and status of the state (Lin Zaijiao, 1999:226) It is clear that Yans ideology about patriotism and state liberty influenced his translation decisions and strategies. In Professor He Xianbins case study (2005), he explained that Yan changed the title of the book to On the Borderline between State Power and
6

Lam Yin Sim, Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October, 2011

Individual Power in order to narrowed down its scope to the limits on both state power and individual liberty and clearly implied a sense of control over or restriction to individual liberty, implying his ideology that the priority of state or society power over individual power and the sacrifice of the latter for the former when necessary. Furthermore, Yan Fu added terms like evolution , competition , survival of the fittest , prosperity in his translation. This addition reflected his concern for the construction of China into a wealthy and powerful country. Moreover, Yan Fu put footnotes about his summary of the ideas for each paragraph, demonstrating his emphasis on the priority of state liberty and his concern about the destiny of China.

Lu Xun and Liang Shiqiu 4.1 Introduction of Lus and Liangs background and translation approaches Two weeks ago, our group (group 3) gave a presentation about polysystem theory. Lu Xun and Liang Shiqiu, two leading figures in New Culture Movement, were chosen to be studied in the presentation. After analyzing their background, discourses and translations, we found out that
7

Lam Yin Sim, Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October, 2011

polysystem theory leaved out subjectivity or individual differences. In my opinions, such subjectivity can be explained by ideological manipulation. Lu Xun (1918-1936) was a short story writer, editor, translator, critic, essayist and poet. In the 1930s, he became the titular head of the Chinese League of the Left-Wing Writers in Shanghai. He thought that modern Chinese language had defects and thus it was necessary to borrow from foreign models through translation. He regarded translated literature as a means of revolution, which could enrich modern Chinese language. With the ideology of revolution, he insisted on rigid/stiff translation, hoping to rescue the nation and Chinese language. He kept translation adequate to the original texts, in order to bring in foreign language models and to give birth to new sentence structures, grammar rules and terms in Chinese language. On the other hand, Liang Shiqiu (1903-1987) was a Right-Wing writer. After completing his study at Tsinghua University in Beijing, he was given a place to study literary criticism in Harvard under Irving Babbitt, advocate of New Humanism which helped shaping his conservative literary tenets. Since then, the ideology of New Humanism had great influence on Liangs view on Chinese literature and society. Liangs attitude towards modern
8

Lam Yin Sim, Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October, 2011

Chinese language which was described by him as rich and intricate was greatly different from Lus. In his point of view, translation was only to faithfully express literary works in another language so that people who did not speak the source language could read and understand. It was not acceptable to alter Chinese grammar only for convenience in translation and no languages were created for translations. Deeply influenced by the New Humanism, Liang advocated of social and aesthetic conservatism and therefore insisted to produce acceptable and communicative translation for general public, stressing the appropriateness in his translation. 4.2 Perspective of the theory of manipulation From the perspective of polysystem theory, Lu Xuns practice was more likely to be the normal case while Liangs practise was abnormal during the crisis of New Culture Movement in China with translated literature being at the centre of the literary polysystem. It seems that the polysystem theory does not explain this deviant norms, behavior and policies. Indeed, this interesting phenomenon can be explained by the theory of manipulation. According to Andr Lefevere, Professionals who represent the reigning orthodoxy at any given time in the development of a literary

Lam Yin Sim, Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October, 2011

system are close to the ideology of patrons dominating that phrase in the history of the social system in which the literary system is embedded (Lefevere 1992:15) During the crisis of New Culture Movement, Lus party was more likely to represent the reigning orthodoxy and was close to the ideology of patrons dominating that times, which was to launch revolution in Chinese literature, culture and society. As for patronage, Lefevere gave a description in his book, Patronage can be exerted by a political party, a social class (Lefevere 1992:15) Lu and Liang belonged to different political parties which were patronages influencing their standpoints towards Chinese literature and translation. Patronage is usually more interested in the ideology of literature than in its poetics (Lefevere 1992:15) As Lu and Liang were members of different parties, it was reasonable that they had different ideologies. The differences between Lus and Liangs practice in translation was closely related to their different ideologies. To explain more clearly, Lus strategy of rigid translation was influenced by his ideology of revolution while Liangs strategy of communicative translation was influenced by his ideology of New Humanism. In additions, the reason why both of them insisted on their principles of
10

Lam Yin Sim, Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October, 2011

translation is related to the differentiable patronage. Patronage is differentiated when economic success is relatively independent of ideological factors, and does not necessarily bring status with it, at least not in the eyes of the self-styled literary elite. (Lefevere 1992:17) For Lu and Liang, economic success and status were relatively independent of their own ideologies during that time and thus patronage was differentiated. Both of Lu and Liang were self-styled literary elite who had power or right to choose between adapt to the system, staying within the parameters delimited by its constraints or oppose the system, operating outside its constraints. (Lefevere 1992:13) That is to say, they were free to insist on their own ideologies and translation principles. From my point of view, Lefevere Andres theory of ideological manipulation can be a supplement to Itamar Even-Zohars polysystem theory, helping to explain subjectivity or individual differences which have been left out by the polysystem theory.

Conclusion From the case study of Su Manshus translation of Les Misrables, it is found that his decisions to translate or to recast were not always casual, rather
11

Lam Yin Sim, Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October, 2011

they reflected the translator's ideologies, including Buddhism, the dominant ideology of the Qing Dynasty, and Confucianism. In the case study of Yan Fus translation of On Liberty, it reveals that his attitude and ideology about patriotism and state liberty were reflected in his translation. Through several rewriting strategies such as shift of focus, addition of terms and statements, and supply of summarizing notes, he overemphasized the importance of the borderline between social liberty and individual liberty, and consequently, diluted the thinking of liberty and freedom. With regards to the case study of Lu Xun and Liang Shiqiu, their different ideologies contributed to the discrepancy between their decisions and between their practices of translation. Lu insisted on rigid translation because of his ideology of revolution while Liang insisted on communicative translation because of his ideology of New Humanism. The topic of this paper is How do ideologies influence translators decisions on translation? After studying the above four famous figures in 18th-19th centuries, it can be concluded that ideologies greatly influence or even manipulate translators decisions and actions. There is a wise quote from Tryon Edwards, a famous American theologian, saying Thoughts lead on to purpose, purpose leads on to actions. Ideological manipulation is an essential factor in the
12

Lam Yin Sim, Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October, 2011

process of translation. This paper is only a study on the four figures from the ideological perspective, aiming to find out the influences and importance of ideological manipulation in the process of translation as well as to provide some explanations for the addition, deletion, creation, adaptation and other alteration in the translated work. It is certain that there may be some other angles which can provide a more comprehensive view of this subject.

13

Lam Yin Sim, Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October, 2011

References Bassnett, S., & Lefevere, A. (Eds.). (1995). Translation, history and culture. London: Cassell. He, Xianbin. (2005, April). Translation as manipulation: a case study of Yan Fu rendition of On Liberty. Translatum Journal, 5, from http://www.translatum.gr/journal/5/yan-fu-on-liberty.htm Lefevere, A. (1992). Translation, rewriting and the manipulation of literary fame. London; New York: Routledge. Lefevere, A. (1992). Translation/ history/ culture: a sourcebook. London; New York: Routledge. Levy, J. (2000). Translation as decision process. In Venuti, L. (Ed.), The translation studies reader. (pp. 48-59). London; New York: Routledge. Li, Li. (2005, April). Ideological manipulation in translation in a Chinese context: Su Manshus translation of Les Misrables. Translation Journal, 9, no. 2, from http://translationjournal.net/journal//32ideology.htm Lin, Zaijiao. (1999). Yan Fus understanding of liberty. In Liu, Guisheng (Eds.), New studies of Yan Fus thought. (pp. 37-51). Beijing: Tsinghua University Press. Nitsa, B. A. (2000). Ideological manipulation of translated texts. Translation Quarterly, 16, 17-43.

14