My dissertation is a translation and commentary of a Chinese novel with homosexual and cultural elements. By drawing readers’ attention to the foreign elements in source text (ST) and giving a realistic depiction of Chinese homosexuals in source context, I intend to introduce Chinese culture to readers and allow them to have a glimpse about the life of homosexuals in China to raise their understandings towards homosexual issues. Therefore, the focus of my translation will be the representation of a homosexual character and the depiction of Chinese culture in the book.
I will be translating from a gender perspective. Lots of work has been made in discussing the role of gender in translation. However, most researchers focus on feminist translation and there are few studies about LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) and their translations. Furthermore, due to the media censorship of materials containing homosexual content in China, support and information in this field are scarce and it posts difficulties for further research. I hope that despite introducing foreign culture and increasing knowledge and gender-awareness of readers, my dissertation can also contribute useful data to homosexual study and translation, thereby spur further research in this area.
Material & Scope
The ST I have selected is a Chinese novel called “Ba Wang Bie Ji” (Li, 1992), also known as Farewell My Concubine, written by a Hong Kong novelist Li Bi-Hua. The story presents the lives of two performers of Peking Opera and their complicated relationship at a time of political upheaval in China. The title of the book was borrowed from a Peking Opera play based on the historical tale where Hegemon-King Xiang Yu asked his favorite concubine, Consort Yu to leave when he was defeated. She refused and finally committed suicide with Xiang Yu's sword. The novel was well-received in the Chinese societies and was adapted into films in 1993. Its significance as the first book to break the silence and express the experiences of Chinese homosexuals is valuable in providing information and supplementing the history of homosexuals in twentieth-century China and motivates me to translate it for foreign readers who are interested in this field.
Although the book had already been translated, the existing translation (Li and Lingenfelter, 1993) was published to complement the film adaptation screened in the same year. From the literal translation it is perceived that the translation probably serves as a light reading for general audience, which I believe will create great variations linguistically and ideologically since my re-translation will approach from gender perspective and my main concern will be the translation of homosexuality.
Due to time constraints and to avoid scattering the focus of this dissertation, the scope of my translation will be limited to extracts that details the struggle in gender identity and the sufferings of the main homosexual character that...