University of Nottingham Ningbo China
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Gender in translating the female body: A case in the second sex

04 December 2013 (16:00-17:30)

The School of International Communications is pleased to invite you to our research seminar series.

About the seminar

'Do men and women translate in the same way?' is a question that deserves a great deal of reflection (Santaemilia 2011: 22). This talk intends to give an answer by comparing four Chinese translations of The Second Sex by translators of different gender identities. Research has found that the body is never a natural phenomenon since it is entrenched in a specific cultural language (Butler 1986: 45-46), and that '[i]n contemporary patriarchal culture, a panoptical, male connoisseur resides within the consciousness of most women: They stand perpetually before his gaze and under his judgment.' (Bartky 1997: 140). In Le Deuxième Sexe (The Second Sex) (1949), Beauvoir discusses the development and changes of the female body from childhood through old age, which often result in confusion, shame, depression or pride in women in different ages, as women often 'imagine themselves in response to being imagined' (Felstiner 1980: 250). This presentation looks into how the Chinese translators deal with the descriptions of women's physical appearance and women's psychology of their bodies. It will demonstrate the role gender plays in translating the female body in The Second Sex in the Chinese context.

Speaker biography

Lily Yu is an assistant professor in Translation Studies at The University of Nottingham Ningbo China. She previously taught in universities in the UK and in China (where she worked as an associate professor of English). She is the author of peer reviewed articles, textbooks, dictionary, and co-translator of an economic book. Her present research interests include gender and translation, translation of women's writing, literary translation, sci-tech translation, translation teaching, and comparative literature. She gained MSc in Translation Studies at the University of Edinburgh, and PhD in Translation and Intercultural Studies at the University of Manchester.