Two Translations of Ji Yun’s Close Scrutiny: the Translator, the Reader and the Settings of Translation

Qingyang LIN

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)


This article focuses on two English translations of Ji Yun’s 紀昀 eighteenth-century collection of “stories of the strange,” Random Jottings at the Cottage of Close Scrutiny (Yuewei caotang biji 閱微草堂筆記). The translation done by Leo Tak-hung Chan is set within the context of his 1998 sinological monograph, while David Pollard’s recent translation, published in 2014, stands as an edited volume of translation oriented toward the general reader. Referring to textual and paratextual elements in these two translations, I hope to show how the “setting” of a translation modulates its tone and message, which in turn unfolds with the selection, style and overall structure of the translation. I also draw from an actual dialog between Leo Chan and David Pollard, which evolves around the various aspects in translating Ji Yun’s work and the more general issues in sinology and translating Chinese literature. The dialog between the two translators of Ji Yun further illustrates the translators’ approaches to the original text, their mediating efforts toward cross-cultural readability and literary felicity and specifically, how the state of mind of a translator might come into play with the “flavor” of a translation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-116
JournalFudan Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
Issue number1
Early online date31 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


Cite this