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Ink Dances in LimboGao Xingjian's Writing as Cultural Translation$
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Jessica Yeung

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9789622099210

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622099210.001.0001

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Reading across Culture

Reading across Culture

Chapter:
(p.156) (p.157) 8 Reading across Culture
Source:
Ink Dances in Limbo
Author(s):

Jessica Yeung

Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789622099210.003.0008

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

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