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Qiu Xiaolong’s Death of a Red Heroine in Chinese Translation

A Macro-Polysystemic Analysis

Paolo Magagnin    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia    



Despite the literature available on the linguistic specificity of the works by Chinese authors writing in languages other than their native language, the observable phenomena in the Chinese translations of such works remain generally unexplored. In fact, the analysis of such Chinese-language renditions reveals complex phenomena at the level of linguistic hybridity, translation norms, and political and ideological interference, calling for a more in-depth description of the recontextualization undergone by the prototexts, and for a comprehensive analysis of the ‘external politics’ involved in the translation process. A brief outline of such factors, as exemplified by Hong ying zhi si (2003) – the Chinese translation of Shanghai-born writer Qiu Xiaolong’s first English-language detective novel, Death of a Red Heroine (2000) – will be herein attempted. To do so, a representative range of linguistic and extra-linguistic features observable in Hong ying zhi si will be described and the relevant translation strategies will be commented upon. Finally, by adopting a macro-polysystemic model, a preliminary attempt will be made to reconstruct the network in which the Chinese translation of Qiu’s novel is situated.

June 24, 2015
Copyright: © 2015 Paolo Magagnin. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.