Shu-Fang Lai (National Sun Yat-Sen University)

Posted on Friday, March 5th, 2010

‘Chinese Translations and Interpretations of Kidnapped

Since 1908 when a Chinese translation first appeared, the Scottish writer has become a favourite with both adults and children in the Chinese-speaking world. Among his most popular works, his adventure story Kidnapped has often been translated into Chinese up to today. This paper will locate Stevenson in a never-before discussed area, specifically the Chinese translation and serialization of Kidnapped in a children’s newspaper in Taiwan.

There have been more than twenty well-catalogued Chinese translations of Kidnapped published in Chinese-speaking countries including Taiwan, China and Hong Kong since the earliest one appeared in 1955. Among them, the translation by Liang Lin (林良) was brought out before he later established himself as a leading contemporary Taiwanese writer for children. Moreover, it appeared as a serial starting from 8 April 1965 in the tabloid newspaper for children (the Mandarin Daily News) for fifty days. Lin provides a section called ‘Translator’s Words’ at the end of each instalment, raising questions to lead on and help the young reader’s understanding. Such a formal kind of translator’s intruding narrative is of particular interest. For example, on the day before the serialization, Lin writes an introductory account to explain that Stevenson’s title is too negative for a story so full of the goodness in human nature, so he titles his translation he Adventure of David instead.

This paper will introduce this special case of cultural encounter with Stevenson, to examine the way his translator helps Stevenson’s Chinese readers come across many cultural gaps, and to what extent Liang Lin, a stylist prose writer himself, may be influenced by Stevenson, the master of sounds and rhythms, through translating his work.

Categorized as Abstracts

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