Time: 10:00-12:00, 14:00-16:00, 14 Dec 2016
Venue: University of Nottingham Ningbo China
Topic: Translating Chinese Literature: Capturing One Side of the Statue
The workshop will consist of two parts. First, William Spence will talk about some translation theory with some
practical questions. Second, he will talk about his own experience of translating Talking Love by Xinran, relating
the discussions back to the theory discussed in the morning. He will make the discussion as interactive as possible.
Session 1: Talking Translation
1. Short self-introduction and overview of Chinese translation into English. Why is so little Chinese work
translated into English? If you don’t care about China, will you care about Chinese literature? What are
our motivations for reading anything?
2. The question as old as translation itself – feeling or meaning?
3. Is anything untranslatable?
4. Translating poetry – ‘One side of the statue…’ / Is it a burden to know the language too well?
5. Finding the right voice – can Wang Shuo’s characters be rendered as cockneys?
6. Translations change while texts don’t – why?
7. The present and future of Chinese-English translation.
Session 2: Talking Love
1. Short overview of William Spence’s experience of translating Talking Love.
2. Go through some passages to discuss feeling/meaning translations.
3. The problems William Spence had with footnotes, and breaking the ‘Fourth Wall of translation’.
4. Go through some of the poems in Talking Love.
5. The many voices of Talking Love.
6. How much Chinese should we NOT translate? E.g. Ying and Yang; gaokao; hukou etc. How has this
changed over the past 20/30/40 years?
7. How does William Spence reflect on his own translation?
Speaker：William Spence has a BA in English Literature from Leeds University in the UK. He has recently finished translating Talking Love, the eighth book written by bestselling Chinese-British author Xinran (at present honorary professor of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China). It is his first
published translation. William also works for strategic consultancy NICG in London and Beijing, advising UK
companies on their China operations. He previously lived in Beijing for 3 years, working as a journalist, editor and
translator on the international desk of Caixin Media, where he still contributes as a guest writer.