Translating Myself

Source: Chinese Translation Blog
translating myself into English
as if I were a language
but am I not Chinese
am I not that ancient language that
resembles myself, is myself, is the birthmark on my face that
makes you comment to your friends without even looking
that he is Chinese
or dismiss him
as a bloody Chink or Chow
or burst into Ching Chong Chinaman rhyme…

translating myself is a problem
I mean how can I turn myself into another language
without surrendering myself
without betraying myself
without forgetting myself
without forgiving myself
without even losing myself in a different con/text

I mean how can English be so transparent
as not be able even to hide my china-skinned identity
I mean how can a language be so indestructible that
it remains itself while being turned into another

or is this body of mine really two bodies
one English
the other Chinese
translating myself is but re/creating
myself with languages or bodies
a discourse between two knowing halves
or wholes
each the interpreter of the other

this awareness of what is being written in another language
this awareness of what is being concealed in
what is being translated
given up for
gained or lost or both
this helpless feeling of subjection to a bilingual force
moving in between

translating myself I get double paid
by imagination and twice removed from the original
in the mind and on paper

doing a simultaneous translation of myself
as if having a simultaneous orgasm
both in your body and in your head
is easy in the mirror
except for the awareness of the thing in between

I translate myself
from Chinese into English
disappear into appearance of
another existence looking back across
the barrier of tied tongues

at the concealed image of the other body

~ Yu Ouyang

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