On the Translation of Manchu’s Entertainment Way: A Case Study of Hawkes’ Translation of Hongloumeng

Chunhua YANG


Translation is not only a transference between two languages but also a communication between two cultures. In literary translation, a translator is expected to take the language features, the artistic style and cultural information of the source text into consideration. In this sense, translation serves as a bridge to introduce Chinese literature to western readers. However, the translation of Chinese classical literature is still at an outset stage. As one of the four great masterpiece of Classical Chinese literature, Hongloumeng has been translated by transaltors both at home and abroad. The most widely recognized English translation of Hongloumeng are Yang Xianyi&Gladys Yang’s version and David Hawkes’ version. As for the influence and acceptance of the two versions, Hawkes’ version is more popular among the western readers for its natural, smooth and idomatic language. However, after a careful comparision with the source text, we find that Hawkes’ version failed to impass part of the China-specific cultural information to the target reader. In this paper, the author will take Hawkes’ translation of Manchu’s entertainment way depicted in Hongloumeng as an example to demonstrate the loss of cultural information in Hawkes’ version. In terms of being responsible for the target reader and faithful to the source text writer, we strongly holds that cultural information should be reproduced in the most faithful way as much as possible.


Hongloumeng; Hawkes;Translation;Cultural information;Manchu;Entertainment way

Full Text:



Hawkes, D. ( 1973-1986). Harmondsworth: Penguin books. Retrieved 2010, May 31 from HJENGLISH.COM. Web site: http://www.hjenglish.com/dl/p10770/

Yang, X. Y., &Yang, G. (2003). A dream of red mansions. Beijing, China: Foreign Lanugage Press.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/n


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