Fidelity, Fluency and Grace

By Eric Abrahamsen, published

I'm reading a book by 张翎 (Zhang Ling), a Chinese writer living in Canada, called Mail Order Bride, and have found two good terms so far. One is 思凡 (sīfán), meaning the longing that an immortal, monk or nun feels for the mortal world, and for the company of the opposite sex. The other is 信达雅 (xìndáyă), which represent the three proper principles of translation as laid out by 严复 (Yán Fù), a famous Chinese translator of the late Qing dynasty. indicates 'fidelity', 'fluency', and 'grace'. I was pleased to find this.


# 1.   

Fidelity, fluency and grace...

That's lovely. One of these days, we should do a feature on Yan Fu and his principles of translation.

Meanwhile, I often find myself mired in awkward and inarticulate infidelity.

Cindy Carter, November 24, 2007, 11:39a.m.

# 2.   

Back on my short-lived translation blog, I adapted a synopsis of Chinese translation theories from Xie Tianzhen's Medio-Translatology.

Looking back over it, I notice that Fu Lei's analogy to copying a painting must be a reference to Zheng Banqiao's line "画到精神飘没处,更无真相有真魂" (which, incidentally, Feng Tang quotes in that interview that I have yet to post on Danwei - sorry, Eric).

JoelD, November 25, 2007, 12:51a.m.

# 3.   


I wasn't able to access that link. Is your blog archive still up?

You never cease to amaze - translator, media watchdog, bilingual blogger and translation theorist - is it any wonder that Brendan, Eric and I are plotting to assassinate you?

We've talked about it mostly in jest, but still...I'd watch your back.

:-) Cindy

Cindy Carter, November 28, 2007, 6:14a.m.

# 4.   

No worries. A Daoist monk on a mountain in Zhejiang told me that so long as the country remains divided, I cannot be killed.

The blog's blocked and needs to be proxied. It's just a copy of an earlier bokee blog that I abandoned after one of their many "upgrades". No big loss. There's an article here that does a much better job of discussing all the Chinese translation theories anyway.

JoelD, November 29, 2007, 4:06a.m.

# 5.   

I wasn't going to ASSASSINATE him, Cindy. Just break his translating hands. Make it look like an accident.

Brendan, December 8, 2007, 9:14a.m.

# 6.   

In China, 信达雅 is almost synonymous with translation theory to a layman. It's actually similar to Tyler's three principles.

Paul King, December 13, 2007, 5:49a.m.


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