Giles’ Choices in His English Translation of Liao Zhai

Lei Zhu


The paper aims to investigate the issue of ideology and poetics as a form of control over translator which results in the manipulation or rewriting of the source text(s) by analyzing Herbert A. Giles' English translation of Liaozhai. Giles is a great sinologist, who published the first edition of Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio in 1880, during the Victorian era. He left out many stories that were erotic or which were viewed as offensive. He chose to rewrite the sexual descriptions and remove the author's notes after the stories. The choices he made in translating this Chinese classic works is the result of the prevailing political and moral values and predominating poetics standards of the Victoria Age. Translation is a cross-cultural activity which takes place in real socio-political and economic situations where people may have significant interests in the production or reproduction of a specific text in a given community. Translators may face a great deal of pressure in their work in terms of quality standards, faithfulness, ideology and poetics. Therefore, translation may be subjected to several conscious acts of selection, addition or omission.

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English Language and Literature Studies   ISSN 1925-4768 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4776 (Online)   E-mail:

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