SEIS Academic Forum Series (No. 747)
Forum on Translation Studies
Translation as a Double Act of Communication
Speaker: Prof. Han Jing, Western Sydney University
Date: November 18, 2019 (Monday)
Venue: Seminar Hall, Third Floor, BFSU Library
Different approaches to the definition of translation and translation proper determine how translation is accounted for and how translation is studied, taught and practised. When translation is seen as a product, it is based on the assumption that everything in one language can be translated as is into another language and the translated text as an end product, regardless who does it, should be the same. Therefore in practice, fidelity, accuracy and absolute equivalence are pursued. When translation is regarded as a process, it claims that the sameness in two languages does not exist; that there are limits of translatability and that it is not possible to translate without interventions and manipulations. The focus in practice is hence shifted on the transfer process as a negotiation, mediation and above all, decision-making process.
Scholars such as House (2009, 2018) and Katan (2004, 2012) approach translation as a form of cross-cultural and intercultural communication. Languages are seen to both express and shape cultural reality and linguistic meaning must be understood within the cultural context. Translation act is explored as translating cultures. Although Gutt (1991, 2000) also sees translation as communication, he takes a fundamentally different stand and approach. Translation is accounted for as an act of communication, hence translation process must obey the rules of communication. Gutt introduces and applies the relevance theory to translation studies. The relevance theory (Sperber and Wilson: 1986, 1995) focuses on the inferential nature of human communication. It believes that to achieve successful communication, we need to go beyond understanding sentences in their linguistic form but more importantly, to be able to interpret utterances, which is context-dependent.
Translator as a communicator needs to understand how communication occurs, how to interpret utterances in the source language AND how to communicate successfully the interpreted version of the source text to the target language audiences, ensuring that relevant contextual information and inferences are provided to guide the target language audiences in their comprehension process. Dr Jing Han, an international leading expert in translation practice and teaching, will use telling examples from her publicly tested translations to illustrate how translation should be approached and how translation takes places as a double act of communication.
About the speaker:
Professor Jing Han is a leading expert in translating Chinese culture, intercultural communication, audiovisual translation and media accessibility. She is highly regarded for her significant and original contributions to the field and industry. Jing is also known for her strong leadership and intercultural competence.
Jing received her PhD in English literature from the University of Sydney in 1995. In 1996 she joined the public broadcaster SBS TV Australia as Mandarin subtitler. Since 2006 she has been the Chief Subtitler and Head of the SBS Subtitling Department, leading the Department to a great international success and fame. Over the last 23 years, Jing has subtitled over 300 Chinese films and documentaries including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Lust, Caution, Wedding Banquet, Hero, Under the Hawthorn Tree, Not One Less, Ash Is The Purest White, I Am Not Madam Bovary, Let the Bullet Fly, Sacrifice, The Blue Kite, Crazy Stone, Shanghai Dream, A World without Thieves, Springtime in a Small Town, Beijing Bicyle etc. In the last six years, Jing has been the leading subtitler of the most popular Chinese TV show If You Are The One. Her critically acclaimed English subtitles have played a key role in creating a cult following in Australian audiences and setting the record of the longest showing non-English series in Australian broadcasting history. The show’s cultural impact and influence on Australian audiences is also unprecedented. So far Jing has subtitled over 400 episodes of the show as well as other Chinese TV series. Jing has been frequently invited to speak at conferences and has delivered lectures at over 30 universities across the world. In recognition of her outstanding contributions to the cultural exchange between Australia and China, she was included in the 45 Stories published by the Australian government. She is the executive producer of the English edition of 100-episode documentary series A History of China commissioned by CGTV China.
Jing joined Western Sydney University in 2006 and has been a key faculty member in its flagship program, Translation & Interpreting, in the School of Humanities and Communication Art. She has designed and taught a range of translation and interpreting courses including Audiovisual Translation and Literary Translation for postgraduates. She is a PhD supervisor, supervising PhD candidates in a range of research areas including translation and interpreting studies, multimodality and media studies, Chinese culture and literature translation, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) translation and intercultural communication. Jing has been Associate Dean for International at School of Humanities and Communication Arts and played a pivotal role in establishing partnerships with many universities in mainland China, Taiwan and Europe. Jing is the English translator of a modern Chinese classic Educated Youth by multi-award winning author Ye Xin, published by Giramondo in 2016. She is also a highly accomplished professional interpreter for live interpreting at significant cultural and literary events.