A Space of Their Voice: Apologies for Translation in New Tide (1919-1922)
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AbstractCould a translator know the limit of translation so well as to exploit the potential of that limit? Could translation be commonly allowed to be incomplete, tentative and even inaccurate, and consequently perform its function? With these questions, the paper explores the apologetic paratexts surrounding translation in New Tide (新潮1919-1922), a student academic journal based in Peking University.
The journal was founded with the initial purpose of examining Chinese scholarship against “the world today” (今日世界) and “modern thinking”(現代思潮). Translation of Western scholarship was thus constitutive of the journal’s critique of its own legacies and contemporaries. Despite the aim to offer a portal to knowledge about their age, the translators on the exclusive editorial panel often preluded or concluded their translations by acknowledging the imperfections in the translations, while also attributing the imperfections to the limit of textual space in the journal and the pressing publication schedule. Such reiterated emphasis on the lack of time and space forged the view of translation as an unfinished, provisional and forgivable text type. As a result, various forms of unmarked translations (abridgements, book reviews, citations) became prevalent and were strategically woven into the journal’s critical narrative. Moreover, the column allotment allowed authors to publish in different textual spaces under different – even pseudo – names. Shifting between the identities of an inadequate translator, a humble student, a sharp scholar, a neutral journalist or a political editor, the translators created a supportive context within the journal for the views expressed through translation. Tapping on the potential of the seriality and periodicity of the journal, they also made announcement of their new but often unrealized plans of translation, amid the intensifying competition for cultural capital following the May Fourth. Based on these observations, the paper presents New Tide as a case where translation was consciously practiced and conceived as a liminal activity, and consequently be conducive to the self-positioning of its intellectual group in the changing cultural landscape during its years of publication.
All Author(s) ListMichelle Jia Ye
Name of ConferenceInternational Conference - A Space for Translation: Thresholds of Interpretation
Start Date of Conference10/12/2018
End Date of Conference12/12/2018
Place of ConferenceChinese University of Hong Kong
Country/Region of ConferenceHong Kong
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom
Keywordstranslation, New Tide, paratext, textual space

Last updated on 2019-20-06 at 16:40