As a renowned poet and translator of China in the 1930s, Dai Wang-Shu (戴望舒) is particularly reputed for his Chinese translation of French poets. Among them, Paul Verlaine, celebrated French symbolist poet, is claimed by literary critics to have found his genuine poetic echo in Dai’s Chinese rendition. Chen Bing-Ying (陳丙瑩) contends that Dai’s poetic translation has successfully rendered the profound implications and the rich, subtle musicality of Western poetry. Zhou Ning (周寧) claims that Dai is the only translator who manages to make Verlaine’s French muse sing in the Chinese language. However, as Robert Frost states, “Poetry is that which gets lost in translation.” The essay investigates the original poetic aspects of Verlaine’s symbolist poems that have got lost in Dai’s Chinese translation. It critically compares the poetic aspects of Verlaine’s “le ciel est par-dessus le toit” and “il pleure dans mon coeur” with their Chinese counterparts in Dai’s translation. Comparing Dai’s renditions with those done by other French-Chinese translation scholars, it points out the merits and demerits of Dai’s translated works, which leads the study to the exploration of a proper translation strategy between domestication and foreignization.
Asia Pacific Translation and Intercultural Studies,Volume 5 , pp.21-37