International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Usurping or Enchanting: Re-examining Ethical Duties of Arthur Waley as a Scholar-cum-translator in Translating Dunhuang Bianwen
Peng Yin

The assessment of translators’ ethical duties lies in the hands of the professionals, and it seemingly has nothing to do with translator’s own educational and academic trajectory. However, some specialists translate works in their expertise, how do their academic trajectory and standings affect the evaluation of their ethical duties? This paper, through a case study on Arthur Waley’s translation of Dunhuang Bianwen敦煌变文, investigates how Waley’s academic perspectives play a role in implementing his translation ethics. The paper finds that Waley, instead of merely assuming the ethical duties to the target readers, attempted to make ethical commitments to the source and target texts alike. The paper finally suggests that the translators’ academic trajectory and standings should be given due attention in making ethical judgments to scholar-cum-translators such as Arthur Waley in this case.

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