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A Chinese Translation of Finnegans Wake: The Work in Progress

From: James Joyce Quarterly
Volume 47, Number 4, Summer 2010
pp. 579-588 | 10.1353/jjq.2010.0006



Because more papers on Finnegans Wake appear regularly in China now, a Chinese translation of the whole work is in great demand. I began my Wake translation in 2006 and expect to publish Book I of it this year. Eventually I plan two translated versions—the first will include only one of the many possible meanings of words in the text, while the second will create new Chinese characters or words in a way similar to Joyce’s strategy in the Wake. Although the first one will be easier, there are still many inherent difficulties such as which meaning to choose and how to retain the uncertainty and multiplicity of the original text. Strict publishing requirements for academics in China make the act of translation more difficult, and, of course, translating the Wake is even more demanding. Fortunately, I have received much encouragement, and Wakean serendipitous coincidences have made it possible to continue.