2018/2019 School of Chinese Research Student Seminar
Serving More Than Two Masters: Contextualization of Christianity in Contemporary China and the Multiple Identities of Translators
Miss Zhang Chen
June 14, 2019 (Friday); 5:30-6:45pm
Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus
The publication volume of translation works of Christian literature from English to Chinese has soared recently with the contextualization of Christianity in contemporary China. This phenomenon gives a fascinating opportunity for the study of multiple identities of the translator and translation behaviours in translating Christian literature. The translation approach the translators opt for, serving the standard of Christianity – to preserve the message, or serving the standard of translation studies – to find the dynamic equivalence, is influenced by the activation and verification of their identities. In Translation Studies, the identity of translators is often discussed as a group identity focusing on their translation behaviours. This research takes a micro approach and puts translators’ multiple identities into an individual identity framework. Four Chinese translation versions of C. S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, published in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan respectively, as well as the identities of translators are examined. The research data includes both translation texts and translators’ own articulation of their identities in translators’ notes and in email correspondences. The case study manifests a dynamic coexistence of and interplay between role identity of being translators, social identity of being a part of the target culture and for some, Christians, and person identity of being doers of contextual theology of individual translators. In theory, person identity is the most likely to be verified. However, the research found out that translators tend to verify their role identity of doing translation and social identity of being a part of target culture more in their translation behaviour of the actual translation texts, even if their person identity of being doers of contextual theology was activated elsewhere (in translators’ notes or in their personal accounts). It is suggested that by introducing the contextualization model, translators could realize the existence of person identity and its relationship with other identities. The research findings deepen our understanding of culture contexts in the translation of Christian literature and translators’ identities for those who translate Christian literature, helping translators be more aware of their own identities and providing a tool for translators to guide and justify their translation behaviours.
ALL ARE WELCOME!