Chinese fiction in English translation
Eva Kneissl, who successfully completed the MA in Publishing at Oxford Brookes University in 2007, has recently had an article published in the trade journal LOGOS. The article, which is adapted from Kneissl's Masters thesis, examines the challenges faced in translating Chinese fiction into English and reaching larger Western audiences.
In the article Kneissl discusses three sub-genres of Chinese fiction popular in the west; the ‘misery memoir' of which Wild Swans (1991) by Jung Chang was the first big commercial success; a Chinese version of popular women's fiction demonstrated by Mian Mian's Candy (2000) and finally political fiction about the Cultural Revolution exemplified by To Live (2003) by Yu Hua.
The various difficulties in translating fiction from Chinese, including issues of readability, vocabulary and political and economic allusions, are examined by Kneissl before she discusses the different literary traditions between China and the West. Finally Kneissl points to two new ways of publishing literature in China: ‘One is the so called "second channel" - privately funded publishing which is, however, a legally insecure grey area'. The third option is the internet which, as Kneissl notes, ‘ignores both borders and legislation.'
Kneissl's full article can be read in LOGOS (Vol. 18 No. 4, 2007).
Eva Kneissl graduated from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich in July 2006 with a Masters degree in Sinology, Economics and Political Science. During her time at the university she spent half a year each in Taipei (2003) and Shanghai (2005) improving her Chinese while working in international publishing and media distribution companies. In September 2007 Kneissl was awarded a Masters in Publishing from Oxford Brookes University and she currently lives and works in Munich.