Analysis on Howard Goldblatt’s Translation of Rice From the Perspective of Translator’ Subjectivity

Xiao QIU


With the emergence of culture turn in the 1980s, translator’s invisible status has been changed. Translation process is no longer considered as a simple conversion process from the original language to the target language, but a process full of creativity.
Rice is the Chinese novelist Su Tong’s second novel which deals with China in the 1930s. He vividly portrays Depression-era China and the characters that populate this novel. Howard Goldblatt devotes himself to the translation of modern and contemporary Chinese novels into English and Rice is one of his numerous works. His impeccable translation does much justice to the flow of the tale. From the study on Goldblatt’s case, inspirations can be drawn on the exercise of translator’s subjectivity in the process of introducing and translating Chinese literature to the world.
Research methods such as exemplification and induction were adopted in this article. Different interpretations of translator’s subjectivity were reviewed at the beginning of the article according to Professor Lü Jun’s division of three paradigms in Chinese translation study. The influential factors on translator’s subjectivity were analyzed on the theoretical basis of manipulation school and functionalist school. The manifestation of Howard Goldblatt’s subjectivity in the translation of Rice was analyzed, followed by reflections on the exercise of translator’s subjectivity.


Translator’s subjectivity; Howard Goldblatt; Translation of Rice

Full Text:



Goldblatt, H. (Trans.). (2000). Rice. London: Simon&Schuster.

Goldblatt, H. (2010). Memory, speak. Chinese Literature Today, (1), 93-96.

Lefevere, A. (2004). Translation, rewriting and the manipulation of literary fame. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press.

Newmark, P. (1982). Approaches to translation. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Robinson, D. (2001). Who translates? Translator subjectivities beyond reason. New York: State University of New York Press.

Su, T. (2005). Mi. Shanghai: Shanghai Literature and Art Publishing House.

Venuti, L. (1995). The translator’s invisibility: A history of translation. London: Routledge.



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