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The “Invisible” Source: On the Role of English-Japanese Integrated Readers in Zhou Zuoren’s Early Translations by Examining His Translation of The Gold Bug

Zhou Min

Zhou Zuoren’s translations before 1906 are believed to be madedirectly from English texts, and especially Yu Chong Yuan (玉虫缘), his translation of The Gold Bug by Edgar Allen Poe, was considered as an example of literal translation in Zhou’s early translations. However, the original source text of Yu Chong Yuan was not presented purely in English but from the English-Japanese integrated reader Studies on English Literature (英文學研究) compiled by a Japanese scholar Yamagata Isoo (山縣五十雄) as the fourth volume titled Digging Nuggets(寳ほり). Not only did the translation strategy called “rewriting via testing” promoted by Yamagata cast a direct impact on Zhou’s translation of The Gold Bug, but the deliberate organisation of texts in Digging Nuggets, which anatomised the process of translation as separated actions by arranging the English text, annotations of the corresponding translation in Japanese, the literary introduction, notes from the translator and the translated texts in order, did inspire Zhou Zuoren to a great extent in his early translation practices. An analysis of Yamagata’s translation strategy by comparison with Chen Diexian’s translation of The Gold-Bug into Ku Lou Chong(骷髅虫)in 1918 has revealed the ideal of Zhou Zuoren’s early translation that was carried in the features offered by the English-Japanese texts as the source of his translation.