Violence and translation discourse

Yifeng SUN

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In translation, the natural response to the challenge of making sense of the relatively unfamiliar and less preferred way of expression would be to resort to appropriation, which results in distorted performances. Thus translation as a form of (re)production is compounded by the necessity for ownership and control. The purpose of this article is to explore and expound how violence of any kinds perpetuates literary translation, with particular reference to English-Chinese translation. It argues that irrespective of the original design or intention, translation results from cultural displacement, where alienation is made concrete. The questions of cultural dominance and subordination further complicate perceptions and misperceptions of the nature of cross-cultural communication. The inevitable intrusion of the foreign, if viewed as an assault on the target culture with its traditional ways, may seem disconcerting, particularly if it is presented in a coercive manner. On the other hand, mediation aimed at reconciliation, though necessary, or even desirable, cannot avoid a certain arbitrariness, and in addition, since translation is susceptible to the changed and changing power relations between the source and target cultures, some forms or degrees of violence are bound to feature significantly in shaping translation discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-175
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Multicultural Discourses
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011


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