Journey to the West : how Chinese women travel to the western world through translations : a case study of Goldblatt and Yeung’s English translation of Li Ang’s Sha Fu

Wayne Wen-chun LIANG, Tsui-ling HUANG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)


This paper examines the English translation of women’s images from a Taiwanese novel written primarily in standard Chinese and sporadically in the Hokkien dialect. Since publication in 1983, Taiwanese female writer Li Ang’s Sha Fu has gained praise for contesting the traditional, hegemonic Chinese cultural model of dominant males and marginalized female subjects. Depicting a repressed, abused woman who eventually kills her husband with a butcher’s knife, Li Ang’s writing rejects the burdens imposed by traditional society and subverts the patriarchal social system. Past studies on Sha Fu have emerged primarily from the field of literary studies and have mostly discussed Li Ang’s avant-garde ideas that overturn the stereotypical submissive images of Chinese women. However, the representation of these images in the translated foreign-language versions of Sha Fu has rarely been considered. This paper examines the representations of images of traditional Chinese women in translations, with a case study of Howard Goldblatt and Ellen Yeung’s English translation of Sha Fu. Macro- and micro-analyses investigate how these women’s images travel to and are represented in a new cultural context through visual and verbal semiotics. Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen’s (1996) concepts of the grammar of visual design are adopted to determine whether these images are retained or contested in the cover art of the English translation. Verbal semiotics is scrutinized through textual analysis to identify whether the verbal rhetoric of feminine images transfers across cultural and linguistic spaces.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-372
Number of pages22
JournalmTm: a translation journal
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


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