Institutional Patronage: The Religious Tract Society and the Translation of Christian Tracts in Nineteenth-Century China

John T. P. Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper attempts to scrutinize a lesser-known, yet hugely influential, Protestant institution – the Religious Tract Society, London (RTS, founded in 1799) – which played a predominant role in sponsoring the global enterprise of translating Christian tracts in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The RTS introduced, if not imposed, its principles and identity on the publication of Chinese tracts by offering grants to the China missions. As long as they were issued under RTS patronage, all Chinese tracts had to fall in line with its dominant ideology – to be both interdenominational and evangelical in character. The paper investigates the role of institutional patronage in the translation of Christian tracts into Chinese, especially the policies of tract societies that came into play in terms of text selection and ideological censorship. Also explored in depth are the issues surrounding the transplantation of RTS ideology onto Chinese soil, and institution-individual power relations in the process of cross-cultural translation activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-61
Number of pages23
JournalTranslator
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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