Speaker: Prof. Lawrence Wang-chi Wong (Department of Translation)
Date: 21 March 2014 (Fri)
Time: 4:00pm
Venue: Activities Room, 2/F, Art Museum East Wing, Institute of Chinese Studies, CUHK
Language: English
Abstract: Abstract: The talk discussed a long neglected case in Chinese translation history and the history of Sino-British relations in the 18th century, the translation of the Letter of Credence of the Macartney Mission. As the first diplomatic mission sent by the British to China, the Macartney Mission is an important historical event that has drawn much scholarly attention. But all studies on the event neglected one crucial link: the Chinese translation of the Letter of Credence. This neglect constitutes a major flaw in our understanding of the mission, because the Chinese version of the Letter of Credence was the only text from the British side that Qianlong could read directly, and it inevitably affected the Emperor’s conception of the mission. The talk analysed two different Chinese versions of the Letter of Credence, one of which was “unearthed” only recently, and explained the significance of the differences in translation. The case of the Macartney Mission was also used in the talk to illustrate the research project undertaken by the speaker in recent years, “Translation and Sino-British Relations in the 18th and 19th Centuries”.

 

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