This lecture introduces the manifold relationships between poetry translation and cultural experience. With the selected cases from my Chinese translations of Australian poetry, I try to discuss with the audience various difficulties in translating poetry caused by cultural experience and the lack thereof. Poetry thrives in Australia and gives a panoramatic account of everyday life. Australian life knowledge could not be acquired by merely consulting dictionaries or other reference books, not even by googling. The unfamiliarity with the everyday life of the original culture becomes an outstanding obstacle in translating its poetry into the target language. This obstacle not only triggers philosophical reflection upon translation, but also urges individual translators to rethink their practices, and moreover, possibly finds a path toward a life of translation.
13 Nov 2018
Department of Chinese Language and Literature, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong