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Book Reviews

Book Reviews



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Published by: lixiaoxiu on Feb 19, 2009
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18 February 2009 
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Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK
Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t794297831
Book Reviews
Robert E. Hegel; Christiane Nord; Andrzej PawelecOnline Publication Date: 01 November 2007
To cite this Article
Hegel, Robert E., Nord, Christiane and Pawelec, Andrzej(2007)'Book Reviews',Perspectives,15:4,278 — 285
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Full terms and conditions of use:http://www.informaworld.com/terms-and-conditions-of-access.pdfThis article may be used for research, teaching and private study purposes. Any substantial orsystematic reproduction, re-distribution, re-selling, loan or sub-licensing, systematic supply ordistribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contentswill be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae and drug dosesshould be independently verified with primary sources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss,actions, claims, proceedings, demand or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directlyor indirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.
Book Reviews
Translation, Globalisation and Localisation: A Chinese Perspective
Wang Ning and Sun Yifeng (eds)
Clevedon, UK, Buffalo, NY, and Toronto,ON: Multilingual Matters, 2008. (
Topics in Translation 35.
) Pp 220. ISBN 978-1-84769-053-1 (hbk): US$99.95.Translation studies as a discipline is well established in Europe, but it is stillnew in North America and in Asia. Some would still dispute its parameters, but as its proponents define the field, it necessarily includes theoretical andanalytical studies as well as the practice of translation. All of these areas aredeveloped in Europe, but the USA lags behind in analyses of translations andChina in theoretical formulations of the problems of translation. All areas of the world move quickly forward with the production of translations, of course;the increased pace of globalisation necessitates nothing less. Ever since the‘cultural turn’ in translation studies of the 1990s, it has been a commonplacethat choices made in the process of translation are shaped by the culturalcontext of the translator as well as political pressures she might not be fullyaware of. So, too, is the field of translation studies. The present collectionresponds to a need to interject Chinese perspectives into the larger discussionsof translation studies theory, most of which go on in English. Despite thesignal contribution already made by this journal and other such collections,the essays here make a splendid addition to the field, based on rich experience,careful theoretical formulation, and incisive analyses of selected texts. Thevolume deserves widespread circulation and careful attention by anyone whois seriously engaged in translation or translation studies; it marks a newmilestone in this rapidly expanding field.As one might expect, despite its subtitle this volume presents far more thanone Chinese perspective. Like China’s translators and readers, its contributorscome from diverse backgrounds and share little more than deep knowledge of their field and a sincere desire to contribute to its development. Thedistinguished contributors here are based in various parts of China (ChenYongguo, Wang Ning, and Xu Yanhong in Beijing, Mu Lei and Wang Dongfengin Guangzhou), in Hong Kong (Eugene Chen Eoyang and Sun Yifeng) and inMacao (Mao Sihui); others write from Europe (Cay Dollerup, Copenhagen),the United States (Edwin Gentzler, Amherst, Mass.), and Canada (Xie Ming,Toronto). Their levels and types of engagement in China differ: even so, all areremarkable for the information they present as well for as their insights.After an introduction by Wang Ning and Sun Yifeng, its 10 essays aredivided between ‘historical overviews’ and ‘current developments’. But thesedivisions should not prompt readers to focus on only one area: Introductionand essays in both sections all thoughtfully address both the brief history of self-conscious theorising of translations in China and recent accomplishmentsin this area. The divisions are more a convenience than substantive; reading
 D o w nl o ad ed  A t : 23 :23 18  F eb r u a r y 2009
the essays against each other reveal significant accomplishments as well asongoing problems of the field.In the Introduction, the editors argue for the uniqueness of China’scontributions to translation studies; appropriately, the process of globalisationhas hardly homogenised scholarly insights any more than it has enforcedone type of translation across international borders. Instead of some vague‘Westernization’ of translation theory in China, what they present might becalled globalisation with Chinese characteristics, the localisation of trends thatcircle the globe but that represent the strengths and theoretical sophisticationof China’s translators and critics. Significantly, many Chinese translators tendto leave foreign texts ‘foreignized’ in translation, rather than domesticatingthem to sound fully ‘natural’ (in the very useful distinction presented byLawrence Venuti; see pp. 63 and153
154). In his essay, Xie Ming goes farther topoint out that all representations of the global situation are discursivelyconstructed; the process of modernisation in China has undergone severalquite different stages of interpretation. Yet at each stage, China’s translatorshave generally selected what they felt was most useful for their readers at thattime, whether as inspiration for creating new political structures, a new socialorder, or cultural development. Maintaining foreignness in their translations isone way for Chinese translators to resist Western cultural dominance
itlocalises modernity without simply accepting that dominance, and it en-courages comparative critical studies of culture and its values. He concludes,‘The act of translation is thus an act of self-reflection’ (p. 30).Cay Dollerup engages the difficult question of cultural ‘incompatibility’ inselecting texts for translation; cultural mediation may be needed to make onetext comprehensible or acceptable in another culture. Sun Yifeng and Mu Leiaddress another challenge: the avoidance or even resistance to translationtheory in China (although that phenomenon is certainly not unique to China);the reasons may range from the ‘impracticality’ of theory compared to thepressing need for more texts in translation through its lack of empirical basisto the concern that such theories might be a wholly Western imposition. Andfor those who work in this area, Sun and Mu suggest that finding ‘uniquely’Chinese theory may be misguided, despite the differences to date in theoreticalapproaches compared to Western theorists (p. 57). They endorse the trend tofocus on the role of the translator, and on comparative literary approaches inthe study of translations.Wang Ning carries forward this approach to identify translation as an‘inseparable’ element in China’s literary and cultural modernisation. Wang’sview of translation is nuanced; his focus is on the conversation betweenauthor, translator, and reader inherent in the process. Since literary texts areindeterminate by definition, there can be no simple way to reproduce themeaning of one text in another. Likewise, Wang Ning convincingly points outthe plurality of Chinese literatures: Chinese national culture is not unitary(and, as a literary historian, I would add that it never was). Thus, the‘glocalization’ process (to use Roland Robertson’s term, see p. 171) of adaptingforeign texts into Chinese versions produces hybrids that amalgamate Chinese
Book Reviews 
 D o w nl o ad ed  A t : 23 :23 18  F eb r u a r y 2009

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