Shakespeare Starts a New Century Travel in China: A Comparative Analysis of the Two New Chinese Re-Translations of Hamlet

Xiaonong Wang


The two new 21st-century Chinese re-translations of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, one by Hongyin Wang and the other by Guobin Huang, represent continued efforts by Chinese scholars in studying and translating Shakespeare. Compared with those previous translations, these two have realized fresh achievements in such aspects as use of language with characteristics of the times, employment of new para-textual elements, visual arrangement of verse lines, and new treatment of those literary devices in the original work which usually constitute a major challenge to translators of them. And based on the latest academic research achievements with regard to Hamlet, either of them incorporates its translator’s own research findings. The two translations also show some different features. Their main differences lie in that Wang, who translates mainly for the reader, is more concerned with the overall artistic effect by giving full play to the literary and expressive force of Chinese in characterization and uses naturally used Chinese language in characterization. Also, he lifts his translation in a philosophical connotation and a literary conception. Huang’s version, far more annotated, is rendered for the stage and pays much attention to rhythm-rhyming scheme and image correspondence by concise and accurate Chinese, blending elegant and vulgar features according to the characters’ identity. The two translators have made new contribution to the international Shakespeare studies in general and Hamlet studies in particular.

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International Journal of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies

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