Authors: Chu Shiao and Ying Sharon
Abstract: This paper is part of my research on classical Chinese poetry and its translations analyzed from the ‘argumentative’ perspective. Employing the notion of ‘argument’ in literary studies and a comparative approach, I try to demonstrate how different translations can be perceived as sharing underlying assumptions of poetic argumentation, which explains the consistencies as much as flexibilities in their translation strategies. Through presenting the translations considered as examples of transference of the poetic argument to the target text, I argue that for all the freedom that translators can manipulate in translating poems, the criteria of poetry translation are quintessentially the same as those of translation in general, i.e. that it should be clear and faithful. Adopting the argumentative perspective is therefore ‘putting old wine in a new bottle’, and at the same time ‘putting new wine in an old bottle’, but without the slightly derogatory sense in both, because the argumentative perspective should enable one to see things in a new light regarding the nature and approach of poetry translation.
Keywords: translation; classical Chinese poetry; argument; metaphor