Translating classical Chinese poetry into English
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In this thesis, my argument is twofold: first, the inadequacy of translating Chinese poems into English is inherent and unavoidable; second, the inadequacy of poetical translation can only be compensated by means beyond translation. I use the translation of Li Po’s poem—玉阶怨 (Grievance on Jaded Steps)—as a case study to demonstrate the complexity of translation. Three translations of this poem are presented for comparison and analysis. The analysis is followed by a discussion of the causes of the inherent insufficiencies in translating classical Chinese poetry into English. I maintain that differences at both the linguistic and aesthetic levels pose challenges for poetical translation. I conclude the thesis by suggesting a possible way to compensate for the inherent inadequacy of translating classical Chinese poems into English.