Translating as Narrating? A Narrative Approach to Translation Studies

Ling XUE


Mona Baker presents with her Translation and Conflict: A Narrative Account, a narrative perspective for translation studies, believing that translation functions as re-narration and translators/interpreters should circulate discourses that “promote peace”. Promising and inspiring as her initiative may sound, the narrative course charted for translation studies would be problematic on both ontological and ethical grounds. Valuable lessons could be drawn from Chinese historical narratives, in which censure of historians and discourses of facts are meticulously balanced under the guidance of two seemingly paradoxical regularities, namely “to narrate but not make history” (述而不作) and “subtle words carry profound meanings” (春秋大义). Being faithful to the historical truth while appreciative of the subjectivity of historians, the Chinese narratives tradition might thus suggest a hermeneutical route that integrating narrative theories with translation.


Narratives; Translation studies; Re-narration; Chinese historiography

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