Chapter

Reading across Culture

Jessica Yeung

in Ink Dances in Limbo

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9789622099210
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207042 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5790/hongkong/9789622099210.003.0008
Reading across Culture

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People are increasingly dependent on English translations to get to know “other” literatures with the dominance of the English language. In fact, Gao Xingjian's success is very revealing of the power of translation. Like other works in “minor” languages, Gao's works are essentially received abroad through translation. Translation is surely a powerful instrument. The value of translation is beyond doubt since its very aim is to facilitate understanding between people of divergent cultures, who would not otherwise be able to communicate. However, anybody who has any experience of translation realises that a translation does not equal the source text. In literary translation, the convention of literary writing, including generic forms, rhetorical devices and expectations of the literary readership in the target culture, often determine the form a translation needs to take. Gao's remark on the French translation of Soul Mountain is very revealing of the difficulties one often encounters in translation.

Keywords: Gao Xingjian; translation; minor languages; divergent cultures; literary translation; literary writing; Soul Mountain

Chapter.  5242 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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