China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
The practice of translation has for centuries helped shape political and cultural life in China, mediating relations between the Han majority and China’s other communities. The papers presented here consider the practice of translation across several centuries of Chinese history, from the Qing to the Mao era to the present day, examining texts in languages from Uyghur to Tibetan to Manchu. Sarah Bramao-Ramos will look at Manchu-language translations of Chinese fiction, contextualizing the work of the prominent Manchu translator Jakdan and indicating the richness and variety of this under-studied practice. Joshua Freeman will discuss the career of Abdukérim Khojaev, a translator and poet born into a Uyghur family and educated in Chinese-language schools. As one of the few individuals in 1950s China bilingual in Uyghur and Chinese, Khojaev parlayed his mediating role as a translator into substantial political power. Christopher Peacock will present on a Tibetan translation of a short story by the Chinese science-fiction writer Tong Enzheng. The translation, undertaken by the pioneering Tibetan author Döndrup Gyel, speaks to the lasting influence that modern Chinese literary and sociological discourses of scientism, progress, and iconoclasm have played in the formation of modern Tibetan literature. Mutallip Anwar will analyze the official Chinese narrative of a 2014 violent incident in Xinjiang and its subsequent translation into English and Uyghur. By comparing multiple discourses on a single incident, his paper will examine discursive strategies employed by journalist-translators to construct a particular understanding of violent incidents involving Uyghurs.