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Translation Processes and Cultural Critique in My Annotated Chinese Translation of Huckleberry Finn


My annotated Chinese translation of Huckleberry Finn 《赫克歷險記》, published in 2012 in Taiwan and based on UC Berkeley’s 2002 scholarly edition, is so far the most complete in Chinese, with one hundred and eighty-seven illustrations, three hundred and eighty-six annotated footnotes, plus a critical introduction of the novel’s reception history and research about it. I present my translation process and strategy, my experience of teaching American literature in Taiwan for more than thirty years, my modest contribution to Mark Twain studies, and an interpretation of my translation of the book as a cultural critique or Menippean satire. Since my intended readers are those in Taiwan, I translate the book using a “domestication” rather than a “foreignization” strategy to suit Taiwanese language habits and social culture. My translation includes the restored Raftsmen Passage, because it makes the whole book structurally and thematically consistent, and because most Chinese readers are used to reading the 1885 edition without it. Huckleberry Finn is a book of “double text”: On the surface it is a book about Huck’s adventurous journey down the Mississippi River, while in reality it exposes conflicting value systems and subverts dominant authority. Told through Huck’s eyes, the cultural systems are reevaluated and the taken-for-granted beliefs are challenged.


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