Interpretation and translation in Guy Delisle’s Shenzhen

Jonathan Evans

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As a piece of travel writing describing Guy Delisle’s trip to China as an animator, Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China (2006) is readable in relation to translation as a practice and as a metaphor. The text can be read as a form of cultural translation (Asad 1986), representing elements of Chinese culture to a Western audience. In this article, I am interested in how the text shows interpreting – or the translation of spoken utterances – taking place in the narrative. I focus on scenes where the process is made visible by being called into question. Throughout the text, there are moments when the narrator (called Delisle in the story [Delisle, 2006, 28]) has Chinese speech or text translated for him. As he remarks, although he knows his co-workers, ‘without a translator [sic], we cannot communicate’ (67, 2).
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2012


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