Translating the socialist nation
Exporting Chinese literature under the People’s Republic of China (1949–1966)
Xiuhua Ni |
School of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou University, China
The first seventeen years of the People’s Republic of China (PRC, 1949–1966) was a critical period for the newly established nation to gain international recognition. The period witnessed a unique translation activity, i.e. SL-generated translation of a large number of classical and modern Chinese literature into English and other foreign languages. These state-sponsored translations were mainly undertaken by teams of Chinese and foreign translators in the Foreign Languages Press (FLP) in Beijing. This paper aims to explore how literary translation was used for nation branding and promoting Chinese communism abroad. It reveals the political agenda behind the outward translation activity. It goes on to probe into the patronage of the FLP to disclose the relationship between the translating institution and the political discourse on the nation. Lastly, the study of the English translation of Linhai Xueyuan (林海雪原), i.e. Tracks in the Snowy Forest, a bestseller representative of the ‘revolutionary novel’ of the time, will show that the adaptations aim at recasting revolutionary characters as “perfect” heroes so as to project an ideal image of the modern Chinese nation. The paper concludes with a call to integrate outward translation into TS. Based on Luhmann’s sociology of communication it provides a preliminary observation on the reception of the PRC’s export enterprise, which, more often than not, turned out to be counterproductive.
Keywords: outward translation, nation branding, Foreign Languages Press, Chinese socialist realism,
Tracks in the Snowy Forest
Keywords: extraduction, image de marque nationale, presses en langues étrangères, réalisme socialiste chinois,
Pistes dans la forêt enneigée
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