CIOL Hong Kong Society's Annual Luncheon, Keynote Address & AGM:
12:00pm (Annual General Meeting, for members only)
1:00pm Lunch buffet
1:30pm Keynote Speech by Prof. Rachel Lung
Fee per person: HK$200 (CIOL members), HK$300 (non-member)
Keynote address: "Auspicious Connotations of Interpreting in Ancient Chinese Texts", Prof. Rachel Lung
Textual archival references to linguistic mediation are crucial sources for studying the cultural meanings and significance of interpreting in ancient times. Rare even in the Chinese archives, these earlier texts cast light on the agents and act of interpreting during a time when written records were scarce. This talk presents data culled from classical writings about interpreting in China's standard histories and political treatises. An examination of 180 passages pertaining to interpreting shows that eight display an interesting similarity: They all depict 'diplomatic visits to Sinitic China through relay interpreters' as an event corroborating an auspicious sign in Nature observed years earlier. In these texts, 'relay interpreting' is documented not because of its practical communicative function in diplomatic contexts. Instead, the documentation has an unmistakably auspicious connotation, which goes beyond its linguistic purpose. The elevation of an interpreting act to a cultural icon is unique in the Chinese tradition.
This talk aims at identifying the symbolic and ideological significances in this conceptual link, so consciously drawn in the rhetoric of these archives, between diplomatic interpreters and a promising upbeat future for the host country. The present study is significant in three regards. First, it examines the epistemology and values of classical textual references to 'interpreters' and 'interpreting'. Second, it explores the ideological significance of interpreting in ancient China, which in turn casts light on the characteristics of its interpreting tradition. Third, it identifies a rhetorical pattern denoting the link between auspiciousness and interpreting across the eight examples. These results can then be taken as points of reference for comparative studies of the conceptualization of 'interpreting' within other cultural traditions.
Keywords: Interpreting in ancient China, culture and ideology, auspicious signs, Chinese mythology
Rachel Lung is Professor in the Department of Translation of Lingnan University, Hong Kong, China. She earned her doctoral degree in English Language and Linguistics at Essex University, England. For the past decade, her research interests have been in the historical study of translation and interpreting in imperial China. She is particularly interested in identifying and analyzing archival evidence pertaining to
interpreters and interpreting, which is a valuable means to unveil what inter-lingual mediation and being an interpreter were like one or two millennia ago. Using this empirical approach, she has published over a dozen journal articles on this topic since 2005, together with a research monograph, Interpreters in Early Imperial China, [Benjamins Translation Library series 96], published by John Benjamins in 2011.
Her more recent research goes beyond imperial China to examine the roles of Sillan (ancient Korean) interpreters in East Asian civilian and commercial exchanges in the second half of the first millennium. Her recent publications include: “Sillan interpreters in 9th-century East Asian exchanges”. META: Translators' Journal, Vol. 60, No.2, 2015, pp. 238-255; “Defining Sillan interpreters in first-millennium East Asian exchanges”, in New Insights in the History of Interpreting, Takeda, Kayoko and Jeśus Baigorri-Jalon (eds.) [Benjamins Translation Library series 122], John Benjamins Publishing Co., Philadelphia / Amsterdam, 2016, pp. 1-26; and “The Jiangnan Arsenal: A microcosm of translation and ideological transformation in 19th-century China”, META: Translators' Journal, Vol. 61, No.4, 2016, pp. 35-50.
Deadline for registration: 6 November 2017