Magic On Rose I Love You Analysis

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Howard Goldblatt’s Magic on Rose, Rose, I Love You
Translation is a compromise, especially when it comes to books with complicated historical backgrounds and various languages. Rose, Rose, I Love You (玫瑰玫瑰我愛你) (1994:1998) by Wang Chen-Ho is one of those challenging materials for translators. This novel took place in Hualien, Taiwan during the 1960s. At the time, around 300 American GIs came from Vietnam to Hualien for a weekend visit. Accordingly, Councilman Qian started to select prostitutes for Dong Siwen, a fat English teacher, to train. Selected prostitutes were expected to know American culture, speak simple English, and pay attention to their personal hygiene. Therefore, a ‘crash course’ in a Christian church was held for ‘bar girls to
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Rose, Rose, I Love You was published by Columbia University Press in 1988 with the help of the “Modern Chinese Literature from Taiwan” translation project, which was conducted by Pang-Yuan Chi and David Der-Wei Wang. Because Chiang Ching-Kuo, the president of the Republic of China as well as the leader of CCKF at the time, believed that Taiwan is part of China, he against the idea that Taiwan is an independent region (Shan 2012: 259). His ideology influenced translation projects sponsored by the CCKF. Rose, Rose, I Love You is a good example to show the ideological issue. For instance, there is a sentence says that “大同大同國貨好,大同產品最可靠” (Wang 1994: 146), which was translated as “Datong, Datong, China’s best buy, on Datong products we all rely” (Wang and Goldblatt 1998: 101). To begin with, in Taiwan the brand name spelled like “Tatung” rather than “Datong”. Goldblatt purposely applied Hanyu Pinyin, the system China used to have, for the ideological effect. Also, instead of translating 國貨 literally into “national product”, Goldblatt made it “China’s best buy”. By mentioning China explicitly, it is clear that Goldblatt made a choice of not mentioning Taiwan already. However, in terms of “光復遊行” (Wang 1994: 97), Goldblatt translated it into “some parade to celebrate Taiwan’s restoration” (Wang and Goldblatt…show more content…
There are five languages—Taiwanese, Hakka, Japanese, Mandarin, and English—involved in this masterpiece. Therefore, some compromises must be made in the translating process. Howard Goldblatt, a translator who lived in Taiwan, tried his best to translate this novel. He dealt with Taiwanese proverbs, idioms, and slangs, Mandarin and Hakka wordplays as well as English-style Mandarin with techniques like literal translation, generalization, description, substitution, sound representation, and recreation. Though he faced difficulties once in a while, his translation made target readers know about Taiwan’s history and culture. He also tried his best to recreate puns in between languages and add some humorous elements to reflect Taiwan’s local flavors. Unfortunately, Goldblatt’s translation was influenced by the sponsor’s ideology. Yet, instead of just being limited by Chiang’s ideology, he tried to reflect Taiwan’s history and culture with his best efforts in his translation because he wanted target readers to really get the spirits of Wang’s writing. All in all, Wang Chen-Ho’s humorous and fascinating writing togethers with Howard Goldblatt’s excellent translating skills made the English version of this novel beyond

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