Fidelity, Meaning, and Metadata: Observations of a New Translator

I wanted to find what author and critic John Berger called the “quivering wordless thing” beneath the text. I read Western Heaven four times, trying to glimpse Chen’s pre-verbal story and spark a true Berger-esque translation. All I did—besides learn the story inside and out—was wind myself up. I was too new to the game to be attempting the mystic ecstasy Berger called for. I ended up producing a very hi-fi first draft, a wordy monstrosity. I was appalled.

attached to: Andy Dudak


# 1.   

"Meticulous translation of Chinese can often be wordy even when authors aren’t. I discovered this early on, " I don't think one CAN find Eileen Chang's prose 'wordy'... but her fiction is extremely slow ... never suited for modern English readers, who always wanted for fast food or intoxicating drinks/drugs in the first 5 minutes...

susan, July 21, 2017, 2:37p.m.

# 2.   

"For instance, I’d translated the idiom che shui ma long (车水马龙) as ‘heavy traffic,’ which is fair, but lacks the spice of ‘cars and horses flowing like rivers and dragons.’ 叶公好龙(tm) lol...

susan, July 21, 2017, 10:21p.m.


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