Chinese translation in the 21st century

Authored by: Weixiao Wei , Chris Shei

The Routledge Handbook of Chinese Applied Linguistics

Print publication date:  March  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138650732
eBook ISBN: 9781315625157
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter reviews the theory and practice of Chinese translation focusing on translating between Chinese and English. First a historical perspective of Chinese translation is offered, including the past contributions of translation to the Chinese world, and how inadequately it had been conceptualized as an academic discipline. We then examine how the characteristics of the Chinese language create specific problems for translating between Chinese and another language, notably English. Linguistic problems are approached from the lexical, phraseological, syntactic and pragmatic levels with possible solutions. In the second half of the article, we discuss the role and function of translation in Chinese societies now and in the past and probably in the future. Specifically, we examine the socio-cultural factors of Chinese translation, touching upon the sociology of translation, political translation and translation activism. We conclude by reiterating the importance of linguistic issues in Chinese translation and the role translation can play in introducing further refinement to Chinese societies.

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