Publication details [#10062]

Moser, David. 1991. Sze-chuan Pepper and Coca-Cola: the translation of Gödel, Escher, Bach into Chinese. Babel 37 (2) : 75–95.
Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language
Source language
Target language
Person as a subject
Title as subject
Journal DOI


The present article sheds light on several problems related to the translation into Chinese of Douglas R. Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach. In this book a substantial number of wordplays, auto-references, structural play, acronyms, acrostics is found. The article discusses some translation problems of wordplay in a non-alphabetic writing system. The source text contains innumerable references and examples of American culture, which literal translation cannot be comprehended by a Chinese audience. Therefore the translators have decided to replace them by Chinese equivalent. The article discusses which processes have led to a specific choice. Furthermore the dialogues in this book have an auto-referential character, i.e. its structure is a reflection of the content. This brings along a classical translatological problem: does one have to choose structure over content or the other way round? The article discusses fidelity at the "higher level" (i.e. at the structural level) and at the "lower level" (i.e. explicit details). The author concludes with a discussion of philosophical problems in texts rendered by computer translation.
Source : P. Van Mulken