Warriors of Light – Translators in Modern China: Literature and Predestined Affinity 翻译与文学因缘

In this major lecture, John Minford, one of the leading translators and sinologists in modern times, considers the special case of translation in modern China and the plight of the literary translator in China over the past hundred years.

He discusses the increasingly important role that translation has played during that period of dramatic change, and the often fraught and perilous circumstances in which Chinese translators have worked. In particular, he pays tribute to four great figures (Lin Shu, Yan Fu, Fou Lei and Mu Dan), conveying through their stories something of the powerful and illuminating contribution that translation has made and will continue to make to the evolution of Chinese culture and society.

It may be in some ways a harrowing tale, but it also offers a glimpse of hope and inspiration for the future, for, in his words, “I believe firmly that translators, in China as elsewhere, are, today as they were a hundred years ago, ultimately ‘warriors of light’, dedicated to the quest for the Universal Heart-and-Mind, through the underground preservation and cultivation of the purity and strength, the sincerity and integrity of language and of the true Tao. They have been and are guerilla fighters in this cause, in this new interpretation of the age-old Chinese creed of using literature to transmit the Way, wenyi zaidao 文以载道.”

TranslateSingapore 2016

TranslateSingapore is back this September to celebrate the cultural and linguistic richness of Singapore! Based on the theme “Mari Kita Berbual-bual” (“Let’s Talk”), the festival will present a full line-up of programmes, including the main forum that looks at the cultural interflows between Chinese and Malay; an opening lecture by Dr Henry Liu, president of the International Federation of Translators; translating Shakespeare workshops; Malay language class; storytelling session for children, book launches and more!

On 30 September, we celebrate International Translation Day with special events and the launch of the October edition of Words Without Borders. Guest-edited by The Select Centre, the respected international literature journal will feature new translations of works by Singapore writers Kanagalatha, KTM Iqbal, Kuo Pao Kun, Masuri S.N., Sa’eda Buang and Wong Koi Tet.

To check out more events under TranslateSingapore, please click here. For more information, please email programmes@selectcentre.org or visit www.selectcentre.org.

About John Minford

John Minford is a sinologist and literary translator. He was educated at Winchester College and Balliol College, Oxford, where he graduated in 1968 with a First Class Honours degree in Chinese Studies. Over the subsequent 15 years he worked closely with David Hawkes on the Penguin Classics version of the 18th-century novel The Story of the Stone 红楼梦, translating the last 40 chapters. He went to Canberra in 1977 and studied for his PhD under the late Liu Ts’unyan 柳存仁. He went on to translate for Penguin a selection from Pu Songling’s Strange Tales 聊斋志异 and Sunzi’s The Art of War 孙子兵法. Since 2006, he has been Professor of Chinese at the School of Culture, History and Language in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. John's most recent work, a translation of the famous Chinese divination text, the I Ching, was published in October 2014 by Penguin Books.
Event Timeline
Fri Sep 30, 2016
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM SGT
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Auditorium, National Gallery Singapore
Regular $10.00
Concession (students and senior citizens) $8.00
Venue Address
1 St Andrew's Rd, Singapore 178957 Singapore
TranslateSingapore 2016: Mari Kita Berbual-bual