Distinguished Lecture Series: “Translation and modern Chinese history: from the Chinese translation of the Letter of Credence of the Macartney Mission” by Prof. Lawrence Wong


Date:

8 Apr 2015

Venue:

E21-G049

Description:

Abstract:

Undoubtedly, the 1793 Macartney (George Lord Macartney, 1737-1806) Mission plays a significant role in the history of Sino-British relations. Numerous scholars have conducted research on this major historical event, but the translation issues in relation to the event have long been ignored. One of the topics that are worth in-depth exploration concerns the Chinese translation of the letter of credence written by King George III to Emperor Qian Long, which was carried by Macartney. Since it was the information directly addressing Qian Long by the British, it was definitely able to influence his perception of the Mission and even of the UK.

This paper explores some untapped or previously unnoticed historical material – i.e., a Chinese translation of the letter of credence stored in the archives of the British Foreign Ministry – and thoroughly discusses several important issues surrounding the Chinese translation of the King’s Letter of Credence: what the process of translating the letter of credence was, who produced the Chinese translation, what the earliest version of the Chinese translation looked like, how it differed from the “Translated Letter of Credence of the Great Britain” (譯出英吉利國表文) stored in the file of edicts of the Grand Council in the Forbidden City in the past, and what significance lies in the differences. We attempt a more precise and deeper understanding of the Macartney Mission by answering these questions.

Finally, the paper aims to use this case study to demonstrate the important role that translation played in modern Chinese history, and proposes how we can strengthen translation studies on modern Chinese history and promote a more precise and more comprehensive understanding of modern Chinese history.

Biography:

王宏志,香港大學文學士及哲學碩士,英國倫敦大學亞非學院哲學博士,主修翻譯及現代中國文學。現任香港中文大學人文學科講座教授、翻譯系主任、翻譯研究中心主任、上海復旦大學中文系及上海外國語大學高級翻譯學院兼職教授及博導。曾任新加坡南洋理工大學文學院院長、人文與社會科學院院長、人文學科研究所所長、香港中文大學文學院副院長、人文學科研究所所長、中國文化研究所副所長、香港文化研究中心主任、國際交換處副處長。

Audience:

All are Welcome

Language:

Chinese

Enquiry:

Department of English
Tel: (+853) 8822 8201
Email: fah.english@um.edu.mo