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Plagiarism, irony and incense stick: A sketch of Thai translation traditions

Centre for Translation (January 22, 2015)

SEMINAR SERIES : Translation seminar series

MAJOR SPEAKER : Chittiphalangsri, Phrae
LENGTH : 93 min.
ACCESS : Open to all
SUMMARY : In the light of current translation studies scholarship, Southeast Asia is largely underresearched compared to other parts of Asia. Translation traditions in a region so diverse in politics, geographies and cultures such as this cannot easily be accommodated by established notions of literal vs free, domestication vs foreignisation, or the post-colonial pattern of appropriation, resistance and hybridity. Thailand, known for its absence of colonial past, is an interesting case of translation tradition that does not directly deal with colonialism and its consequences, but shows the different practices of translation that are problematic, ironic and even unimaginable. In this lecture, I will discuss three key events in Thai translation history in order to provide the audience with a glimpse into my ongoing project on Thai translation traditions. First, I will discuss the case of "Lak Wittaya", a journal of which the name can be translated as "plagiarism", as the major outlet for translation of western literary works, and a conceptual benchmark for the practice of translation in the early period of prose translation. Second, I will look into the Thai translations of Anna and the King of Siam using what Theo Hermans calls "irony's echo." The lecture will be concluded with the discussion of the Bangkok-based Butterfly publishing house and contemporary leading figures in literary translation whose ethos of fidelity can be likened to the ceremonial practice of lighting incense sticks.  [Go to the full record in the library's catalogue]

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