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A Journey to the Translation of Verse in the Five English Versions of Xiyouji
Journey to the West
texts in verse
Regarded as one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese Literature, Xiyouji has been one of the most popular Chinese novels ever since it was first published in the 16th Century. As many of the characters and stories from this novel have been known to and loved by the general Chinese readers for nearly five centuries, it can be said with great confidence that Xiyouji is indeed a timeless masterpiece of Chinese literature. The first translation of Xiyouji was into Japanese in the 18th Century; however, its first English translation did not appear until 1913. Two of the most prominent English translations of Xiyouji are abridgements, one translated by Welsh missionary Timothy Richard (1845-1919) and the other by British translator Arthur Waley (1889-1966). Two complete English translations of the entire 100 chapters of the novel have also been published, first by literary scholar Anthony C. Yu (1938-2015) and later by English sinologist W.J.F. Jenner (1940-). Last but not least, an adaptation retelling the story written by Armenian-American writer David Kherdian (1931-) is also available. Although reviews and critiques of individual translation have been conducted, a more concentrated comparison between the different versions is still necessary. This research will focus on the strategies implemented in the process of translating Xiyouji’s verses into English, the various techniques used to solve translation problems, as well as comparisons of the distinct styles among the translators. It is hoped that through this research, a better understanding of the processes of cultural transition and differences in perspectives involved in translating the classical Chinese novel of Xiyouji into English may be achieved.
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