A Space for Their Voices: (Un)apologies for Translation in the May Fourth Journal New Tide
The study argues that translation in the frame space of the student journal New Tide (新潮 1919-22), was a mode of writing that legitimated the new-versus-old polarity in the May Fourth discourse. The analysis focuses on two sets of translation marginalia. One set presents the translators’ habitual apologies for the imperfection of their works. In contrast, the other set of materials shows unapologetic appropriations of foreign sources, which reveal the use of translation for the dual purposes of criticising the students’ concurrent traditional-minded Chinese intellectuals, and of validating – hence canonizing – the tenets of May Fourth.