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Title:

Despre o traducere în franceză a Jurnalului de Călătorie în China al lui Nicolae Milescu (Spătarul)

Author:
Publication: Studii de traductologie românească. I. Discurs traductiv, discurs metatraductiv. In honorem professoris Ileana Oancea, p. 115-134
ISBN:978-973-125-525-5
Editors:Georgiana Lungu-Badea, Nadia Obrocea
Publisher:Editura Universității de Vest
Place:Timișoara
Year:
Abstract:The journals Atelier de Traduction, Translationes, and Rielma have already established the concepts of “cultureme” (Lungu-Badea 2009) and “cultural dimension of translations” (Constantinescu 2014). Such concepts justify the critical valorisation of a text such as the Journal of a Journey to China by Nicolae Milescu (Spatharus). This account of a journey taken between 1675 and 1677 was written in Russian by a Moldavian, discovered by B. P. Hasdeu in 1866, introduced in French in 1833 by Emile Picot’s monography (reedited in 2012), and translated into Romanian three times by Gh. Sion (1888), Em. C. Grigoraș (1926) and Corneliu Bărbulescu (1974). As such, it is a document that has to be accompanied by a study of other national works of the same period. The “retranslations” (another concept explored nowadays) of this text led to the discovery of the symbolic value of an author who, according to NicolaeIorga in 1929, combined the history of China with the history of Decebal, the Dacian. The tsarist power employed Nicolae Milescu, this polyglot Latinist competent in Christian and political terminology, to try to mediate between Russia and China.
Milescu’s book will be examined based on the originality of the travel account, attested by scholars. Corneliu Bărbulescu underscores the fact that the Journal can, in fact, be seen as the beginning of Russian ethnography. For example, the description of the Ostyak represents the first (Russian ethnographic) document mentioning them. The present paper will highlight the documentary virtues of the text. When he records new information on Siberia, Nicolae Milescu corrects some of the errors of older geographers. The account of the actual diplomatic mission in China is rich in observations regarding the language and rituals regarding foreigners as observed by emissaries, translators, linguists. For example, the verbal exchanges regarding the commercial relations with the Russians who had come to China are explained through the fact that they could speak Chinese and Mongolian. The text mentions a Mongolian translator, a translator called Solomon but also the Jesuits Adam Schall and, in particular, Ferdinand Verbiest, whose rank is alihahava in Chinese. Milescu’s narrative is always aware of communicational methods (the spoken language is rendered in writing, some letters are translated from Chinese into Latin, etc.) and a lot of the verbal exchanges rendered in it unfold following the model of Verbiest, who spoke Latin. Of most interest to both parties (Western and Chinese) are the information regarding customs, sciences (the passion of the Chinese for astrology explains why the Jesuits competent in calendars were left alone), even musical/poetic performances. Danube, Danube, performed in front of the askaniamaI, forces two linguists to sing in Chinese. The descriptions of the Great Wall, of the city of Tianjin, of the imperial city of Pekin are all of great literary and historical interest.
If one of the aims of the Romanian translation and translation studies is that of translating/presenting into French and in France an author unknown or little known by the Western public, despite his expedition whose scope was comparable to that of Marco Polo, the prior study of the “Romanian translation ideas and meta-ideas from the sixteenth to the twenty-first century” (Lungu-Badea 2013) is indispensable.
How could this account by Nicolae Milescu become as attractive, useful, and pleasant as the Histoire du Prince Dracula, published by Matei Cazacu (1988)? The translation into French – a project we are currently working on and an excerpt of which – the first known description of the Baikal Lake in Siberia – will soon be finalised – could provide an opening towards a wider reception of Milescu. The discussion of the translation difficulties and their provisional and then final solutions will contribute to the overall definition of the translation studies research done in Romania.
Key words:cultureme, Nicolae Milescu, retranslation, French critical edition
Language: Romanian
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Citations to this publication: 2

References in this publication: 1

23Georgiana Lungu-BadeaIdei și metaidei traductive românești
Secolele XVI-XXI
Editura Eurostampa; Editura Universității de Vest2013; 2015

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