The Research Project

This website is the outcome of the project Hong Kong and its Literature through a Double Lens: English and French Anthologies of Translated Literature, funded by the University Grants Committee of Hong Kong (Early Career Scheme, HKBU22610218, Principal Investigator: Maialen Marin-Lacarta). The website has been developed thanks to the Faculty of Arts and the Digital Scholarship Service at Hong Kong Baptist University.

The project starts from the premise that while several monographs focus on the uniqueness of Hong Kong culture, often restricted to cinema, little attention has been paid to how Hong Kong literature is presented to international readers. However, literature has the ability to create powerful images of cultures that are globally transmitted through translation. By focusing on translation anthologies of Sinophone Hong Kong literature, this project investigates the translators’ agency and the way their choices shape the representation of Hong Kong and its literature. The project therefore broadens the understanding of Hong Kong literary identity and the agency of translators, contributing to both Hong Kong literature studies and socially situated translation studies.

Translation anthologies are an especially pertinent site for the study of intercultural representation because they can be considered a double rewriting: anthologising involves selection, structuring and presentation, while translations are marked by the choices of translators. In addition, translation anthologies are typically used in comparative literature courses, influencing students’ understanding of other literatures and cultures. The study of multi-authored translation anthologies in English and French helps us examine both the image of the Self and the representation of the Other. The macro-level analysis (paratexts, content and reviews) has been followed by a detailed micro-level reading and translation comparison of three of these anthologies.

The postcolonial context in which these anthologies were produced and the marginalised position of Hong Kong literature make the object of study uniquely interesting. The analysis of the paratextual elements (prefaces, notes, book covers) and reviews informs us about the translators’ intervention at the discursive level, the way they depict Hong Kong and its literature, and the way this literature is received. The detailed analysis of a selection of translations helps us understand the decision-making of each translator. The translators’ stance is examined in other sources, such as interviews, articles, prefaces and accounts of their own work. The outcomes of the project include two articles (currently in progress) and this website, which gives global visibility to Hong Kong literature both as an exceptional field of research and as a literature worth reading and translating.