Miss Cui takes a hermeneutic turn: “Yingying zhuan” and its various translations and retranslations

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Abstract

This article looks at the Tang tale “Yingying zhuan” and its various translations and retranslations into English, German, and Dutch. Based on Gadamer’s concept of the hermeneutic circle and Popovic’s ‘shifts’, the study of the correlation between texts as transmitted in different cultures or periods shows how meaning is constructed against the cultural and literary context of the source text and the target texts alike. The hermeneutic approach to literary translations allows us to look at a text from a variety of perspectives. The five shifts Popovic identifies (constitutive, generic, individual, negative, and topical shift), help to analyze individual predispositions of the translators in terms of language systems, genre, idiolect, misunderstandings and content. This approach reveals that translations are just as much types of signedness as the original itself, and that the translator relies on specific cultural significations to convey meaning. Thus, although these shifts may misrepresent the original meaning of the tale, the tale and its translations together provide a new and comprehensive understanding of meaning construction beyond linguistic equivalence.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOne into many : translation and the dissemination of classical Chinese literature
EditorsTak-hung Leo CHAN
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherRodopi
Chapter7
Pages149-178
ISBN (Electronic)9789004485914
ISBN (Print)9789042008151
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

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