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Translation Quarterly

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Zhang Ailing, in her self-translation of The Rice-Sprout Song from English to Chinese, made a special effort to adopt a Chinese narrative style. This style includes the Chinese way of depicting events, an emphasis on the narration of non-events, the addition and highlighting of the technique of irony, a strong lyrical tone, a simple and straightforward way of portraying characters, and the tailoring of narrative structure. Nevertheless, Zhang did not make her Chinese translation depart significantly from her "original" English writing, except for the last chapter, which was changed for other reasons. Rather, she made the changes in a subtle way in her Chinese translation. By adopting a translation strategy that favors the narrative style of the target system, Zhang made her self-translation a literary product well-recognized alongside her Chinese creative writings. In this way, Zhang challenged herself and accomplished her goal in both translation and narrative. While translation allowed Zhang to practice her narrative skill using another language, she added a new narrative dimension to her translation at the same time. Because narrative has not often been studied as a topic in relation to translation theory and practice, I think that Zhang's self-translation makes a noteworthy contribution.


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