The new (and inaugural?) Chinese translation of Finnegans Wake

by on September 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm in Books | Permalink

In volume one, it seems that only half the words of the original are kept.  M.A. Orthofer reports:

Beijing University teacher Liu Yiqing is quoted:

“There is still something we can improve in the way the footnotes are presented,” she says. “While putting every possible meaning in Chinese into the text, it will break the integrity of the story. We should make it a story that is also interesting for college students to read and understand.”

Also via Orthofer, here is one measure of which is the most frequently liberated book.

Roy September 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I remember reading about this project when it first began, I was skeptical then, and still am, but the technique seems reasonable:

“In the translated work, Dai keeps about half of the author’s original words, and has put down every possible meaning of some complicated words that have rich meanings as footnotes.
“Many words in this book have very rich meanings, and that’s why people find it hard to get it right,” Dai says. “As a translator, I think I tried to not translate each word and sentence, only based on my own understanding. This way, we can leave more space for the readers.”
She says the footnotes are equally important as Joyce’s original text, as they show the author’s open-mindedness and diversity.”

The Beida Lit professor quoted, is a blithering idiot though.

Norman Pfyster September 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm

I can’t wait for the English translation.

TJIC September 20, 2012 at 4:34 pm

> I can’t wait for the English translation.

Zing!

Mofo. September 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm

“We should make it a story that is also interesting for college students to read and understand.”

Can they do that for the English version as well?

Larry Rothfield September 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm

“Liberated” might not be the most appropriate word for one seduced and abandoned in a hotel room.

Ray Lopez September 20, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Wasn’t Ulysses lost in translation a decade ago when translated into Chinese, when they found out there’s no Chinese one-word word for “YES”? No. I’m not making this up. BTW, here is what some folk have said about JJ:

D.H. Lawrence on James Joyce (1928) “My God, what a clumsy olla putrida James Joyce is! Nothing but old fags and cabbage stumps of quotations from the Bible and the rest stewed in the juice of deliberate, journalistic dirty-mindedness.”

Virginia Woolf on James Joyce “[Ulysses is] the work of a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples.”

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