City University of Hong Kong Dep
Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics
The (in)visibility of translator: Honglou meng (The Story of the Stone) in English translations
Dr. John T. P. Lai
Chinese University of Hong Kong
Date: 13 November 2009 (Friday)
Time: 3:30 – 5:00pm
Venue: Y5-206, Academic Building, CityU
Lawrence Venuti proposes the notion of “invisibility” of translators to describe their activity in contemporary Anglo-American culture. Translators tend to render the foreign texts fluently and idiomatically into English. This creates an “illusion of transparency” that the translation is not in fact a translation, but the “original”. This talk addresses the concept of (in)visibility of translator and the phenomenon of cultural accommodation and/or transgression involved in cross-cultural translation, as exemplified in the English translations of Cao Xueqin’s Honglou meng (The Story of the Stone).
Dr. John T. P. Lai (黎子鵬), obtained his D.Phil. degree from Oxford University and is now Assistant Professor in the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research and teaching interests revolve around religion and translation, religion and literature, and Christianity in China. His recent publications include “Christian Tracts in Chinese Costume: The Missionary Strategies in Translating The Peep of Day” in Theo Hermans, ed. Translating Others (2006) and “Institutional Patronage: The Religious Tract Society and the Translation of Christian Tracts in Nineteenth-Century China” in The Translator (2007). He is the Chinese translator of Joseph Homick’s Joy Comes with Dawn: Reflections on Scripture and Life (2009). He is currently working on a research project “Strategies of Cultural Negotiation: A Critical Study of the Translation of Christian Tracts in Late Qing China (1843–1911)”, funded by the Research Grants Council, Hong Kong.