The first lecture, "Author and Translator: A Mutually Rewarding yet Uneasy and Sometimes Fragile Relationship", was given by Professor Howard Goldblatt, the foremost translator of modern and contemporary Chinese fiction. He spoke about how he entered the field of translation, his views on translation theories, the issue of being "faithful" and of domestication and foreignisation, his views on translating into non-mother-tongue languages, the past, present and future of literary translation and the relationship between author, translator and editor. The lecture was exceptionally illuminating. Best known as the English translator of the Nobel Laureate Mo Yan, Professor Goldblatt talked about his interesting experiences working with this literary giant, and offered young translators a unique insight into the world of literary translation.
The second of the inaugural lectures, "From Sinology to Translation and Back Again", was given by Professor David Pollard, a leading translator of Chinese classical and modern prose. Professor Pollard, now retired, was Professor of Chinese at SOAS, University of London, and later Professor of Translation at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. His rich experience in both sinology and translation studies enabled him to link these fields, and through the story of his long career, the audience was able to gain insights into the beginnings, changes and developments of both fields and how they have influenced each other. Professor Pollard also shared his views of and experiences in literary translation, explaining that the aim of translation and the motivation for many translators is to eliminate language barriers and to share positive cultural characteristics with the rest of humanity.
The success of the Renditions Distinguished Lecture Series on Literary Translation lies in the fact that it allows translators and those interested in the practice to reflect, in a very casual and comfortable setting, on issues and experiences they have common, or that they can learn from. Literary translation is a lonely art that requires each person to discover and perfect their own interest, ability, style and method. It is extremely beneficial for any translator to have the opportunity to find out how others have succeeded before them. The RCT hopes that the annual lecture series will provide motivation and inspiration for many.
For those who missed the lectures, videos of both have been uploaded to http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/rct/renditions/public%20lectures.html. Please visit our website to find out the Centre's latest efforts in translating Chinese literature and promoting historical translation studies.