Translating ancient Chinese legal works
A contextualized narrative approach
The notion of narrative is a very productive concept in many disciplines, and it has been introduced and applied effectively in translation studies, where the specific narrative typology and narrative features are drawn and outlined. Based on the understanding of translation and the analysis of narrative features by Baker, this paper examines the issues in translating ancient Chinese legal works. The default narrative features in ancient Chinese legal works are firstly given a detailed explanation, then the challenges to the Western sinologists in re-narrating ancient Chinese legal stories, especially for the purposes of constructing a “moral” world for the Western readers. For the purpose of successful communication, the fundamental elements in Chinese legal tradition should be given more attention. Thus a contextualized narrative strategy is proposed for application in translating ancient Chinese legal works. For successful communication, it requires on the part of the narrator a degree of creative adaptation.