Language, culture, and de-centering of global mobility: Translating Chinese tourists abroad

21/03/2019 (Thursday) 13:00-14:00 E21B-G002

The significant presence of Chinese tourists in Europe, North America, Hong Kong and other destinations in recent years has given rise to widespread reporting of the alleged problems caused by Chinese tourists in various destinations. Expert advice on how to deal with Chinese tourists is available, for example, from the European Travel Commission and commercial organizations like the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI). This need to ‘translate’ Chinese tourists in print, broadcast, online media and trade literature signals a major shift in the traditional patterns and directionality in global tourism. Affluent, western societies that were tourism consumers are now increasingly becoming tourism providers. Following the tenets of Critical Intercultural Communication (e.g. Halaulani and Nakayama, 2010; Piller, 2011), this paper addresses the question of positioning Chinese tourists as the cultural ‘Other’, especially in the context of de- and re-centering of global nodes of wealth and power. My final argument draws on Lawrence Venuti’s distinction between two modes of literary translation: ‘domestication’ and ‘foreignization’. I suggest that English-language ,‘mainstream’ media, for example in Hong Kong and the UK, tend to domesticate Chinese tourist. In contrast, other discourses, such as art projects, appear to favour foreignization, a point that I illustrate with excerpts from Ai Weiwei’s art documentary Fairytale (2007).

Adam Jaworski is Chair Professor of Sociolinguistics in the School of English, University of Hong Kong. He worked previously at Poznań University, Birkbeck (University of London), and Cardiff University. His research interests include discursive and multimodal approaches to tourism, mobility and globalization; display of languages in space; media discourse; nonverbal communication; and text-based art. His most recent book is The Elite Discourse (Routledge, 2018, with Crispin Thurlow). He is member of the editorial board of the following journals: Discourse, Context & Media, Discourse & Society, Journal of Language and Politics, Journal of Sociolinguistics, Language in Society, Linguistic Landscape, The Mouth, Multilingua, and Visual Communication, among others. With Brook Bolander, he co-edits the Oxford University Press book series, Oxford Studies in Sociolinguistics.