(Re)Framing Gay Literature through Translations, Reprints and Cross-Medium Retranslations

With Reference to Pai Hsien-yung’s Crystal Boys


  • Bo Li City University of Hong Kong




Homosexuality has always been a sensitive topic, a taboo in many social contexts. Recent literature has witnessed burgeoning academic attention in the translation of gay literature in the past two decades, while the translation of Chinese gay literature has remained largely unattended. This paper aims to study the translations, reprints and cross-medium retranslations of the modern Chinese founding works of gay literature, Nie Zi (Crystal Boys). The Chinese literary piece has been translated into English and reprints of the translation have appeared in U.S.A. and Hong Kong over the last three decades. It has also been adapted into film production, TV series and a stage performance. With the modern technology, these adaptation productions have been translated and fansubbed for the international audience. This paper will look at the translation of the title, the cover design, the back blurbs and the textual nuances as well for the book translation and its reprints. The fansubbed subtitle translations will also be scrutinized within the framework of retranslation. The English translation, reprints, cross-medium retranslation of Nie Zi proves to be a supporting case of what Harvey calls “gayed translation”, through labelling strategies and other non-linguistic resources proposed by Mona Baker.


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