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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 André 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. André 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 蘇曼殊)Yan Fu ( ,

approaches and strategies in translating or rewriting. China. the translated version was presented in 14 chapters. He was a poet.1 Introduction of Su and his translation Su Manshu (1884-1918) was born in Japan. (魯迅) Liang Shiqiu and (梁實秋) as well as their translation . painter. His original name was Xuanying and Manshu was his Buddhist name. have been chosen to be discussed in this essay. whose father was a Cantonese merchant and mother was a Japanese woman. Through analyzing their background and ideologies.Lam Yin Sim. dictionary and Sanskrit grammar book compiler and a Buddhist monk. conclusion about ideological manipulation can be drawn. which meant he had 2 . 2 Su Manshu and His Translation of Les Misérables 2. translator. His translation started with Book II. At the age of six. Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October. Guangdong Province. writer. 2011 (嚴復) Lu Xun . Su Manshu translated Victor Hugo's long novel. Les Misérables. I would try to explain their decisions. anthologist. At the beginning of each chapter. After that. there were two lines of titles which told readers about the main content. However. In 1903. he was sent back to the birthplace of his father. which consisted of 5 volumes with 9 books in total.

Su‟s strong feelings about love and hate were clearly expressed in his translation. He once criticized Lin Shu's translation for its unfaithfulness. 3 . into “明白,字 男德” which was the homonyms of “難得明白” (meaning “rare to have understood”). In his translation. Su rewrote the original text to a very large extent. Other characters was named as “范桶” with the homonyms of “飯桶”. Why did he translate in such a way which was quite contrary to his own philosophy? The research of André Lefevere on ideological manipulation of translation gives us some insight to rethink Su Manshu's translation of Les Misérables from the ideological perspective. he translated the protagonist‟s name. Su Manshu was opposed to casual omissions and additions in translation. as “吳齒,字小人” with the homonyms of “無恥小人”. arising critics‟ questions and comments which regarded his translation of Les Misérables as unfaithfulness and mistranslation. Besides. Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October. 2011 omitted the entire Book I. In normal practices. he also created a hero called Ming Nande. whose heroic actions took place from Chapter 7 to Chapter 13. and reorganized the original chapters according to the major plots of Book II. Jean Valjean.Lam Yin Sim.

political or otherwise.” (2005) Because of his ideology of Buddhism. for the purpose of indoctrination” (Nitsa 2000:43).2 Ideologies influencing Su’s translation decisions The ideological manipulation in translation could refer to “any interference with the text. which was definitely not permissible according to the dominant ideology of the Qing 4 . Besides. published in Volume 9 of Translation Journal. In the following discussion.Lam Yin Sim. imposing modifications that are not textual constraints. 2011 2. based on his hope to achieve revolutionary success resulting in a better world. I will mainly focus on ideologies of culture. and Confucianism. be it cultural. added negative comments and omitted the whole Book I. the dominant ideology of the Qing Dynasty. Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October. Su took a hostile attitude towards Christianity and therefore changed a righteous and benevolent bishop into a greedy and hypocritical monk. religious. According to a case study. namely Buddhism. which is a positive description of Bishop Myriel. Su Manshu created a hero Ming Nande. “Ideological Manipulation in Translation in a Chinese Context: Su Manshu‟s Translation of Les Misérables”. religion and politics. Su decided to translate in such a way “were not always casual”. rather the alteration “reflected the translator's ideologies.

etiquette. Su Manshu grew up in a Confucianism-soaked feudal culture. Therefore. Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October. and elegance”(譯事三難:信達雅)which left deep marks on translation studies in China and became the golden rule for many translators. 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. ideas of Confucianism such as benevolence. It was difficult for him to escape from the very influence of Confucianism.1 Introduction of Yan and his translation Yan Fu (1854-1921) was a Chinese scholar. In 1899. Yan Fu translated 5 . forty years after On Liberty was published. translator and translation theorist. Yan stated in the preface to his translation of Evolution and Ethics (天演論)that “there are three difficulties in translation: faithfulness. etc were obviously revealed in his alteration in the translation. they are not responsible for what others wrote)” (Bassnett & Lefevere 1995:23). Moreover. filial obedience. expressiveness. 2011 Monarchy. 3 Yan Fu and his translation of On Liberty 3. morality.Lam Yin Sim.

2 Ideologies influencing Yan’s translation decisions “What Yan Fu was most concerned with was the survival of the state. Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October. he explained that “Yan changed the title of the book to On the Borderline between State Power and 6 . Yan adopted a number of strategies for this end. In Professor He Xianbin‟s case study (2005). Yan Fu advocated faithfulness as the fundamental requirement of translation but why did he rewrite the original text. According to Translation as Manipulation: a case study of Yan Fu Rendition of On Liberty. Yan‟s translation of On Liberty was not “re-presentation”. 3. 2011 it into Chinese. On Liberty. an essay published in Issue 5 of Translatum Journal.Lam Yin Sim. addition of terms and statements. and his addition of evolutionary ideas emphasized the role and status of the state (Lin Zaijiao. He was literally very faithful to the source text but actually the two texts are significantly different. in such a way? Similarly. but “manipulation”. and supply of summarizing notes. such as shift of focus. it can be explained by the theory of ideological manipulation in translation. 1999:226)” It is clear that Yan‟s ideology about patriotism and state liberty influenced his translation decisions and strategies.

we found out that 7 . 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.” Furthermore.1 Introduction of Lu’s and Liang’s background and translation approaches Two weeks ago. Yan Fu put footnotes about his summary of the ideas for each paragraph. our group (group 3) gave a presentation about polysystem theory. Yan Fu added terms like “ evolution ”. were chosen to be studied in the presentation. demonstrating his emphasis on the priority of state liberty and his concern about the destiny of China. discourses and translations. two leading figures in New Culture Movement. “ prosperity ” in his translation. Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October. Moreover. 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. After analyzing their background. 4 Lu Xun and Liang Shiqiu 4. Lu Xun and Liang Shiqiu. “ survival of the fittest ”. This addition reflected his concern for the construction of China into a wealthy and powerful country.Lam Yin Sim. “ competition ”.

Liang Shiqiu (1903-1987) was a Right-Wing writer. Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October. such subjectivity can be explained by ideological manipulation. editor. he insisted on rigid/stiff translation(硬譯). 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. After completing his study at Tsinghua University in Beijing. 2011 polysystem theory leaved out subjectivity or individual differences. In the 1930s. he became the titular head of the Chinese League of the Left-Wing Writers in Shanghai. On the other hand. which could enrich modern Chinese language. he was given a place to study literary criticism in Harvard under Irving Babbitt. In my opinions. hoping to rescue the nation and Chinese language. essayist and poet. He kept translation “adequate” to the original texts. in order to bring in foreign language models and to “give birth” to new sentence structures. Liang‟s attitude towards modern 8 . translator.Lam Yin Sim. critic. grammar rules and terms in Chinese language. advocate of New Humanism which helped shaping his conservative literary tenets. Lu Xun (1918-1936) was a short story writer. With the ideology of revolution. Since then. the ideology of New Humanism had great influence on Liang‟s view on Chinese literature and society.

stressing the appropriateness in his translation. 4.2 Perspective of the theory of manipulation From the perspective of polysystem theory. Lu Xun‟s practice was more likely to be the “normal” case while Liang‟s practise was “abnormal” during the crisis of New Culture Movement in China with translated literature being at the centre of the literary polysystem. 2011 Chinese language which was described by him as rich and intricate was greatly different from Lu‟s. 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. Liang advocated of social and aesthetic conservatism and therefore insisted to produce “acceptable” and communicative translation for general public.Lam Yin Sim. this interesting phenomenon can be explained by the theory of manipulation. “Professionals who represent the „reigning orthodoxy‟ at any given time in the development of a literary 9 . It was not acceptable to alter Chinese grammar only for convenience in translation and no languages were created for translations. In his point of view. Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October. According to André Lefevere. behavior and policies. It seems that the polysystem theory does not explain this deviant norms. Indeed. Deeply influenced by the New Humanism.

In additions. it was reasonable that they had different ideologies. As for patronage. Lefevere gave a description in his book. the reason why both of them insisted on their principles of 10 . The differences between Lu‟s and Liang‟s practice in translation was closely related to their different ideologies. which was to launch revolution in Chinese literature. “Patronage can be exerted by… a political party. Lu‟s strategy of rigid translation was influenced by his ideology of revolution while Liang‟s strategy of communicative translation was influenced by his ideology of New Humanism. Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October. To explain more clearly. 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. culture and society. 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. Lu‟s party was more likely to represent the “reigning orthodoxy” and was close to the ideology of patrons dominating that times.Lam Yin Sim. “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.

Lam Yin Sim. and does not necessarily bring status with it. operating outside its constraints. “Patronage is differentiated… when economic success is relatively independent of ideological factors. 5 Conclusion From the case study of Su Manshu‟s translation of Les Misérables. rather 11 . From my point of view.” (Lefevere 1992:17) For Lu and Liang. Both of Lu and Liang were self-styled literary elite who had power or right to choose between “adapt to the system”. economic success and status were relatively independent of their own ideologies during that time and thus patronage was differentiated. it is found that his decisions to translate or to recast were not always casual. they were free to insist on their own ideologies and translation principles. helping to explain subjectivity or individual differences which have been left out by the polysystem theory. 2011 translation is related to the differentiable patronage. staying within the parameters delimited by its constraints or “oppose the system”. at least not in the eyes of the self-styled literary elite. Lefevere Andre‟s theory of ideological manipulation can be a supplement to Itamar Even-Zohar‟s polysystem theory. (Lefevere 1992:13) That is to say. Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October.

and Confucianism. addition of terms and statements. purpose leads on to actions”.Lam Yin Sim. 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. Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October. their different ideologies contributed to the discrepancy between their decisions and between their practices of translation. 2011 they reflected the translator's ideologies. and consequently. he overemphasized the importance of the borderline between social liberty and individual liberty. it reveals that his attitude and ideology about patriotism and state liberty were reflected in his translation. including Buddhism. In the case study of Yan Fu‟s translation of On Liberty. Ideological manipulation is an essential factor in the 12 . saying “Thoughts lead on to purpose. the dominant ideology of the Qing Dynasty. diluted the thinking of liberty and freedom. With regards to the case study of Lu Xun and Liang Shiqiu. and supply of summarizing notes. Through several rewriting strategies such as shift of focus. There is a wise quote from Tryon Edwards. Lu insisted on rigid translation because of his ideology of revolution while Liang insisted on communicative translation because of his ideology of New Humanism. it can be concluded that ideologies greatly influence or even manipulate translators‟ decisions and actions. a famous American theologian.

It is certain that there may be some other angles which can provide a more comprehensive view of this subject. This paper is only a study on the four figures from the ideological perspective. creation. 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.Lam Yin Sim. Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October. 2011 process of translation. adaptation and other alteration in the translated work. 13 . deletion.

Translation as decision process. Yan Fu’s understanding of liberty. Translation as manipulation: a case study of Yan Fu rendition of On Liberty. (Eds. In Venuti. London. Yvonne 08021007 th 27 October. Translatum Journal. (2005.). Translation/ history/ culture: a sourcebook.Lam Yin Sim. Translation Quarterly. New York: Routledge. L. Li. & Lefevere. B.. from http://translationjournal. April).). Nitsa. Guisheng (Eds. from http://www. (2000).htm Translation. Ideological manipulation of translated texts. 16. In Liu. New York: Routledge. Translation Journal. He. history and culture. (Ed. A. 17-43.htm Lefevere. New studies of Yan Fu’s thought. (2000). rewriting and the manipulation of literary fame. 9. Levy. London. Li. Lefevere. New York: Routledge. Translation. 37-51). 14 . (1992). A. (1999). London: Cassell. (pp. A. (1995). Ideological manipulation in translation in a Chinese context: Su Manshu’s translation of Les Misérables. 48-59).). April). no.translatum. Xianbin. (1992). London. J. A. Beijing: Tsinghua University Press. 2. (2005. 2011 6 References Bassnett. The translation studies reader. S. (pp. 5.