Translator’s Subjectivity in Lin Shu’s Translation

Lihua YANG


Lin Shu translated many foreign works for Chinese readers, but he had to cooperate with his oral interpreters in his translation process because he knew nothing about foreign languages. Translators and reviewers often criticized that what Lin Shu did was to utter his own voice and that he was not a translator but a second-hand story teller. A review of existing studies on Lin Shu’s translation shows that they are mostly value judgments of correctness or adequacy of the translations using traditional perspective linguistic approach, which emphasizes the ‘faithfulness to the original’ principle. In the static text-centered studies, translator’s subjectivity has been almost completely neglected. This paper tries to analyze translator’s subjectivity in Lin’s translation from four aspects: selection of the original, translation purpose, and textual form and translation strategies. It comes to the conclusion that it is due to Lin’s subjectivity that his translations possessed a wide readership and became a great success in the literary translation history of China.


Lin Shu’s translation; Translator’s subjectivity


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