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Review of Translation, Globalisation and Localisation
Editor: Wang, Ning; Sun, Yifeng Title: Translation, Globalisation and Localisation Subtitle: A Chinese Perspective Series Title: Topics in Translation 35 Publisher: Multilingual Matters Year: 2008
Ka-wai Yeung, Department of English, Hang Seng School of Commerce, HKSAR
SUMMARY This book belongs to the Topics in Translation series published by the Multilingual Matters. According to the publisher, it is the first anthology of translation studies edited by two Chinese scholars published in the English speaking world. Indeed, the anthology contains essays dealing with issues of cross-cultural tensions and the eventual translation dilemma between the globalized and localized poles in the Mainland China. On one hand, the book successfully globalizes the research results on translation studies made by domestic Chinese researchers. On the other, it demonstrates the endeavors to localize international translation theories in the Chinese context. The essays do not produce a unified theory to translation studies in China, but they coherently explore the issues from both cultural and theoretical perspectives. In addition to theoretical illustrations, the book includes essays of case studies to shed light on related issues of translating popular culture, post-coloniality and language hegemony.
The book comprises ten essays, which are grouped into two parts ''Historical Overviews'' and ''Current Developments'', prefaced with an introduction by the two editors. Part 1 ''Historical Overviews'' narrates and describes domestic Chinese translation studies in a broader cross-cultural context under the influence of globalization, aiming to ''globalize'' the work by Chinese scholars. Part 2 ''Current Developments'' collects essays with individual interests and offers various analyses or case studies on adopted theories of translation and cross-cultural studies in China, i.e. to ''localize'' Western theories in the Chinese context.
The introduction convinces the reader of the necessity of such an anthology to make the international community aware of the underrepresented research by Chinese scholars. It also sets out the scope of discussion in the book in terms of regions and theories, and justifies the collection of essays by highlighting the features and contributions of each essay to the globalization or localization of translation studies in the Chinese context.
Chapter 1 ''Transvaluing the Global: Translation, Modernity, and Hegemonic Discourse'' discusses globalization and dissects the internal conflicting preference for welcoming or resisting the overwhelming globalization influence in translation studies that originated in the hegemony and the ''desire for the Centre'' of many Chinese intellectuals. The argument is demonstrated by various ideological movements dating from the 1800s to the contemporary period and eventually putting forward a notion of universality in cross-cultural exchange of which ''the practice of translation is necessarily a mode for articulating the in-betweenness of cultures'' (30).
Chapter 2 ''Translation in the Global/Local Tension'' outlines a model of translation as a type of cross-cultural communication. Apart from the translators, the author brings in the role of publishing houses in the globalization/ localization tension. Based on his comprehensive knowledge in the situation in his own country, the author largely bases his discussions on Denmark, attempting to provide some insights on the development of translation practices in China.
Chapter 3 ''Translation Studies in China: A 'Glocalised' Theoretical Practice'' is the highlight essay in Part 1, which provides an encyclopedic historical overview of translation studies development in China from the ever-prevailing Yan Fu's three-character principle (faithfulness, expressiveness and elegance) that has haunted all Chinese translators, to the latest cutting-edge issues that subsume translation studies under cultural studies, such as Chang's (2001) polysystem theory, and Derrida's (2001) deconstructionist approach. It also introduces how several Western theories have been adopted and ''metamorphosed'' by domestic Chinese scholars in the local context.
Chapter 4 ''On Cultural Translation: A Postcolonial Perspective'' is an application of the author's translation theory in the globalization context. Clinging to the belief that ''translation [...] is a matter of culture'' (75), the author shows how translation is ''colonizing'' and ''decolonizing'' a certain culture from a postcolonial perspective with the ultimate aim to promoting cross-cultural dialogues.
Chapter 5 ''Towards Pluralistic and Interdisciplinary Approaches: A Reflection on Translation Studies in Contemporary China'' offers more empirical research in translation studies in contemporary China, with a heightened feature of the urge toward an interdisciplinary orientation in the future trend of translation studies. In addition to the cultural approach and the postcolonial approach, the author evaluates the domesticating versus foreignizing translation strategy (Venuti, 1995) in the Chinese context.
Part 2 begins with Chapter 6 ''A Global View of Translation Studies: Towards an Interdisciplinary Field'', which is based on a conference paper presented in China. The chapter describes the development of translation studies as a discipline in Europe, the U.S. and China, and hence reaches an encouraging conclusion to Chinese scholars that China positively maintains a global perspective and interdisciplinary connections, which ensures a healthy and prosperous future in the discipline.
Chapter 7 ''Transgression and Appropriation in Transnational Cultural Translation: A Deconstructive Observation'' and Chapter 8 ''When a Turning Occurs: Counter-evidence to Polysystem Hypothesis'' are two theory-driven essays. The former deals with the deterritorializing perspective (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987) involving transgression and appropriation in transnational cultural translation; while the latter uses the co-existence of the domestication and foreignization strategies in translating during China's cultural turn as the evidence to point out the limitation of the polysystem theory, which predicts the mutually exclusive presence of the two strategic orientations in a single culture.
Chapter 9 ''Translating Popular Culture: Feng Xiaogang's Film Big Shot's Funeral as a Polynuclear Text'' and Chapter 10 ''English as a Postcolonial Tool: Anti-hegemonic Subversions in a Hegemonic Language'' serve as two case studies of cross-cultural dialogues in the globalization context. It is worth noting that the former assumes that readers are intrinsically translators of the text they are reading; while the latter provides a cross-cultural reference for the issue of language hegemony in which three examples of Korean, Japanese and Chinese novelists writing in English are analyzed.
EVALUATION The collection serves as a general and up-to-date representation of translation and cross-cultural studies in the Chinese context. It is a successful attempt to present the current Chinese translation and cultural studies, which are ''little known to scholars outside'', to an international audience and research community. At least three chapters of the anthology (Chapter 1, 3 and 5) involve historical reviews on the development of translation studies in Mainland China, but each provides a specific focus, such as the hegemonic belief within Chinese intellectuals that resists globalization (Chapter 1), the globalization and localization of translation theories in Mainland China (Chapter 3) and the illustration of a pluralistic and interdisciplinary approach in translation studies in China (Chapter 5). Thanks to its research focus, readers would find Chapter 3 the most comprehensive portrait of the landscape of translation studies in the Mainland China and is capable of serving as the most ''effective guide for those who do not have much knowledge of Chinese translation studies'' (8).
While most of the contributors are domestic Chinese scholars, a few of them are overseas Chinese researchers and Western scholars who are ''very interested in Chinese culture and its recent development in translation studies''. The book generally succeeds in embracing issues from a ''Chinese perspective'', but some essays may appear less focused on the Chinese perspective. While Chinese readers may find Dollerup's (2008) model of translation and his experience in Denmark a good reference for the case in China, they may demand more examples and references to the Chinese context for a better application and a more convincing illustration. Similarly, in Chapter 3, when the authors attempt to demonstrate the ''localization'' of Western translation theories in the Chinese context, more elucidation on how Miao (2001) relates and ''localizes'' Toury's theory in China may be of assistance to fully appreciate her adaptation of the theory in the Chinese context.
A related problem would be about the presentation of examples for the international readership. If the readership targets international scholars, who may not be familiar with the Chinese language, the editors may consider the use of transliteration in the illustrative examples in case studies (e.g. pp. 151, 152).
Unlike other readers to Chinese translation theories which merely reiterate selected readings in the English language, this anthology excels in its richness and depth thanks to its refreshing views and critical perspectives. Extensive research by each contributor is conspicuous and highly appreciated, even though occasional citations from secondary sources are avoidable. Strenuous efforts are observed in the editing, despite a tiny lapse found in the bibliography for the entry of Chen, Eoyang Eugene (1996). All in all, the book stands out as a fine collection of contemporary translation and cross-cultural studies that surely deepens our understanding of the underrepresented Chinese research community. The editors have accomplished the ambitious task of putting Chinese translation and cross-cultural studies under the spotlight and they should be at ease that the anthology is one step closer to the new ''translation turn'' in cultural studies.
REFERENCES Chang, Nam-fung (2001)''From periphery to center(?): Past and future of Chinese translation studies as viewed from a polysystemic perspective.'' _Journal of Foreign Languages_, 4, July, pp. 61-69.
Deleuza, Gilles & Gauttari, Felix (1987) _A Thousand Plateaus_ (v.2 of Capitalism and Schizophrenia) (B. Massumi, trans.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Derrida, Jacques (2001) ''What is a 'relevant' translation?'' _Critical Inquiry_, 27, 2, pp. 174-200.
Dollerup, Cay (2008) ''Translation in the Global/Local Tension''. In Wang, N. & Sun, Y. (Eds.) _Translation, Globalisation and Localisation: A Chinese Perspective_. Clevedon, Buffalo, Toronto: Multilingual Matters, pp. 31-49.
Miao, Ju (2001) ''Translation norms: The core of Toury's translation theory (Fanyi Zhunze: Toury Fanyi Lilun de Hexin).'' _Foreign Languages and Teaching_, 11, pp. 29-32.
Venuti, Lawarence (1995) _The Translator's Invisibility: A History of Translation_. London: Routledge.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER Ka-wai Yeung graduated from the University of Hong Kong. Her major research interests include comparative linguistics, translation theories, pragmatics and syntactic categories. After conducting investigations in comparative linguistic studies between Chinese and English in her MPhil studies, she has applied linguistic theories into translation practices with specific reference to Chinese-English and English-Chinese translation in her doctoral research. Outside academia, she has worked as a free-lance translator for screen dubbing and subtitles for documentaries and movies. She now works as a Lecturer teaching ESL and Business English in matriculation and Associate Degree levels.