Constraints in Lin Shu’s Literary Translation: A Social-Cultural Perspective

Lihua Yang


Lin Shu was one of the most famous translators in modern China. He was a monolingual who had to rely heavily on his collaborators in his translation. Therefore, translators or critics often find faults with him, criticizing that Lin Shu seemed to have been more concerned about spinning his own yarn than acting as a faithful intermediary between the original writer and his Chinese reader. Most of these studies on Lin’s translation were carried out through traditional linguistic approach. The traditional translation study focuses on the analysis of linguistic transformation and puts the principle of “faithfulness to the original” on the first place, ignoring the social-cultural factors. Based on Lefevere’s view of constraint, this paper tries to make a detailed analysis of ideological and poetical factors that manipulated Lin Shu. It comes to the conclusion that the ideology and poetics of the target culture are the most important factors that influenced the translator when he selected, understood and reproduced the sour text.

Key words: Lin Shu’s literary translation; Ideological constraint; Poetical constraint


Lin Shu’s literary translation; Ideological constraint; Poetical constraint



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