Translation and Research of the journal of a Dutch East Asia Company Envoy to Qing in 18th Century


03.27.2021. second online workshop

(Participant’s note)
While face-to-face workshops are restricted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been working on improving the accuracy of translations by having each of us add modifications or questions to the draft translation prepared by Ms. Morita.
In this workshop, we polished the translation of “Titsingh’s letter to Nederburgh on 26.11.1794” together. We discussed the basic principle of translation in depth, such as how many demonstratives should be preserved as is, or more specific issues of how to phrase the nuances of Dutch sentences missing a subject in Japanese. It was truly inspiring to see Prof. Matsukata, Prof. Daito, Ms. Van Daalen and Ms. Morita who can read Dutch documents freely, progressing in the translation while selecting the words carefully. I personally am struggling to come up with an appropriate Japanese word for the frequently used word “Sjap”.
We can find in “Daicing gurun iuheri kooli bithe(大清會典)” that the Governors and 巡撫 (Grand coordinator and provisional governor) often used “龍牌”, the dragon tablet in courtesy on the “Emperor’s half”, but considering the fact that the term is frequently used in the journal, I do feel that my knowledge is far from being enough including etymological issues. Understanding the true figure of courtesy is always the biggest challenge to those who study Chinese history and there is no doubt that Titsingh depicted the courtesies, big and small, with great interest, so this will definitely be a key that adds color to the translation. I want to work on the translation with better understanding.
This turned out to be a day’s work. Although we could only interact with each other through the computer screen, I felt that our almost-face-to-face debates were very productive and essential to this kind of work. We could discuss the actual preparation that should be done on translation data to use our limited time more efficiently because we need to do our work in this same manner as long as the pandemic continues. It was an important advantage of this workshop. I want to progress a step at a time towards our primary target of publishing the translation.

(Written by: Koji Ono)


25.09.2020. 1st online workshop held. The lineup as follows

Koji Ono (Tohoku University): Bureaucracy in Qing dynasty – Titsingh’s journal
   and Qianlong’s reign
Maya Kumagai (Researcher at Nihon University): Documents of Macartney Embassy

Presentation of the knowledge of Chinese history required to understand the journal of the Titsingh Embassy, and the documents of the British Macartney Embassy, which was sent to China one year prior to the Titsingh Embassy. It was a simple and clear presentation easily understood even by those who do not specialize in this field. I am sure this will contribute a lot to the upcoming translation.

(Written by: Fuyuko Matsukata)