Thursday, 13 December 2012

Consistency in Tangut translations

Consistency in Tangut translations of Chinese military texts

This is an article that came out recently:
Galambos, Imre. “Consistency in Tangut Translations of Chinese Military Texts“. In: Irina Popova ed., Tanguty v Tsentral’noj Azii: Sbornik stat’ej v chest’ 80-letija prof. E. I. Kychanova [Tanguts in Central Asia: a collection of articles marking the 80th anniversary of Prof. E. I. Kychanov]. Moscow: Oriental Literature. 84-96.
This is a paper about how consistently terms and names used in Chinese military texts (e.g. Sunzi 孫子, Litao 六韜) appeared in Tangut translations of these texts. I argue that in a specialized genre such as Chinese works on military strategy, the shared terminology and the quotes and references between the texts works as a corpus builder, creating an intertextual network. In Tangut translations, however, we find very little evidence for such intertextuality because the terminology lacks consistency and even quotations from the Sunzi are translated diffently each time they appear. The reason for this is that there was no authoritative or standard translation in existence and when the Tangut translator came across a name or quote, he just translated it as part of the rest of the text, without looking up how this has been translated by others before, thereby severing the connections that held the Chinese corpus together.

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