Project Details
Funding Scheme : General Research Fund
Project Number : 14606721
Project Title(English) : Translation and the Rise of Cinematic Knowledge in Chinese Periodical Press, 1890s-1920s 
Project Title(Chinese) : 翻譯與中文期刊電影知識之興起(1890s-1920s) 
Principal Investigator(English) : Prof YE, Jia 
Principal Investigator(Chinese) : 葉嘉 
Department : Dept of Translation
Institution : The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Co - Investigator(s) :
Panel : Humanities, Social Sciences
Subject Area : Humanities and Arts
Exercise Year : 2021 / 22
Fund Approved : 332,209
Project Status : On-going
Completion Date : 31-12-2024
Abstract as per original application
This project explores the role of translation in the rise of cinematic knowledge in Chinese periodical press in the period 1890s-1920s. By “cinematic knowledge” I refer to forms of understanding ranging from crude facts, raw information, technical expertise to abstract theories of cinema. Current historical studies on early Chinese cinema focus on factual reconstruction of early film screening, production and reception, whereas the intellectual aspect - accumulation and dissemination of initial knowledge about cinema - remains under-studied. To fill this gap, the project surveys translations in periodicals that transmitted cinematic knowledge and outlines the intellectual history of early Chinese cinema. The research idea stems from the assumptions that translation was a pivotal mode of knowledge production at this time and space, and that in China informed discussions about cinema began in newspapers and magazines around 1900, which preceded book-form film scholarship by decades. My inquiry concerns what knowledge about cinema was introduced through translation in periodicals, what circumscribed such happenings, what sources the knowledge possibly came from, and what characterized the translations and translators that transmitted the knowledge. The project adopts analytical frameworks in history of knowledge and translation studies, and engages the use of Chinese periodical databases and network analysis tool(s). The collected translation data undergo several connected analyses. First, I read the translations with concurrent periodical writings to identify relevant knowledge-producing sites (publishers, film studios, etc.) and neighbor knowledge(s) of the cinema (drama, photography, optics and radiography, etc.). Second, I track the sources of translations, compare translations to verified sources to identify textual characteristics, and integrate source-less translations to further describe features in appropriation. Source-less translations – common phenomena back then – are also discussed in connection to the largely anonymous mass of translators to nuance the nature and role of translation. Periodical translators of known identities and high influence are then sampled for focus study to further reveal dynamics between translation, periodical press and the rise in cinematic knowledge. Finally, key translations are contrasted to Chinese film theories up to the 1940s for mapping internal (dis)continuities within Chinese film scholarship. Integrating multi-pronged analyses and exhibiting outcomes in open-access digital repository with a navigable network graph, I demonstrate that in Chinese periodical press in the 1890s-1920s, translation functioned as a dynamic mechanism which on the one hand popularized crowd production of cinematic knowledge and on the other stimulated specialization and theorization of the art and craft of cinema.
本研究探討翻譯在1890至1920年間中文期刊內電影知識之形成階段的角色。「電影知識」泛指一切與電影相關的事實、資訊、技術和理論,不論知識呈粗糙或專精、細碎或完整的型態,均在研究範圍內。現存中國早期電影的歷史研究多聚焦於早期電影放映、製作、接受等方面。早期電影的知識層面——即最原初的電影知識如何累積和傳播的問題——尚未得到充分研究。有鑑於闕,本研究將蒐集所涉期刊中傳播電影知識的翻譯文本,嘗試勾勒早期中國電影的知識史。這一想法,源於兩個過往研究建立的前設:其一,在研究所涉時空內,翻譯是知識生產的主要形式;其二,在中國關於電影的討論,最早可溯至1900年左右的報刊,比成書的電影理論要早幾十年。本研究希望回答以下問題:在研究所涉時段內,電影知識有無及如何經期刊翻譯而得以引入中國?譯事發生的環境條件如何?這些電影知識的來源為何?傳遞知識的譯本和譯者有何特點? 本研究採納知識史和翻譯史的研究框架,取材自各大中文期刊數據庫,亦使用網絡分析工具,整合與電影知識相關的期刊翻譯數據。期刊翻譯數據將分三步進行分析。第一,蒐集所得的翻譯文本,將之置於所在期刊語境來細讀,以找出電影知識的生產場所(例如出版社、電影公司、片場等)以及鄰近知識(例如戲劇、攝影、光學、放射學等)。其二,筆者將追溯譯本的文本來源,對可溯源者進行原文——譯文的對讀,描述譯本特徵;至於不可溯源的譯本,因在當時期刊翻譯十分普遍,亦當視為一種現象,與同樣普遍的匿名或化名期刊譯者一併討論,從而探討期刊翻譯在知識生產和傳播中的複雜性質和作用。身份明確及/或具影響力的期刊譯者,則用作典型樣本,逐一深入研究。其三,在前二步驟中發掘的1890至1920年代的期刊翻譯而來的電影知識,將用於對比1930至1940年代出版的電影理論成書著作,以便觀察兩個時段所組成的電影知識內部史呈現何種的連續或斷裂。以上資料蒐集、整合和分析的結果,將製成一個開放數位資料庫,其中包括一個期刊譯本及譯者出版網絡圖。綜上,本研究希望表明,在1890至1920年間,中文期刊翻譯之於此時的電影知識,作用相當於一個動態而雙重的機制,一方面普及了電影知識的大眾化生產,一方面也促令電影藝術和技術循專精化和理論化的方向發展。
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