This INDIVIDUAL PAPER may be viewed by clicking the blue VIEW PRESENTATION button (located across from the presenter's name/below the title) OR the View Presentation in the footer of this pop-up.
China and Inner Asia
Thinking Taiwanese, Speaking Japanese: Plurilingualism and Taiwan’s 20th century nontranslation history
Individual Paper Presenter(s)
University of Oxford, United Kingdom
In his writing on nontranslation, Brian Lennon (2010) argues for the reconceptualization of translation as a procedure steeped in plurilingual possibilities. He contends that translated texts signpost the language of their source material – acts of nontranslation that range from leaving words untranslated to devising entirely new lexicons. This paper presents a ‘nontranslation’ study of translation practices in 1990s Taiwan. It explores how translators and authors use plurilingualism to capture and comment on Taiwan’s history of what Shu-mei Shih (2013) terms ‘layered colonialism’, and on the period of Japanese Rule (1895-1945) specifically. The paper is divided into two parts. The first examines the translations that appeared post-1979 of Japanese language literature written by Taiwanese authors between 1936 and 1945. This section highlights translation work by Taiwanese author Ye Shitao in his 1996 journal A Collection of Taiwanese Literature: Selected works in Japanese. It shows how Ye uses plurilingual writing and nontranslation to realize his vision of Taiwan's literature as a body of writing 'not restricted by language or race' that simply 'takes Taiwan as its centre' (1977). The paper’s second section moves to redefine Zhu Tianxin's 1997 novella The Ancient Capital (Gudu) as a translational text. This section diverges from established readings of Zhu's work that focus on its spatial politics, instead pinpointing its various moments of nontranslation as integral to the novel’s commentary on Taiwan’s long history of linguistic colonialism. In its concluding remarks, the paper highlights the potential for a study of postcolonial translation in Japan’s former colonies, in particular Taiwan and Korea.