Mapping concepts: From 'theory' to 'discourse': The making of a translation anthology

Martha P Y Cheung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


How translatable across cultures are concepts? How do translated concepts interact with the receiving culture's repertoire of concepts and influence its prevailing mode of thinking? How do translated concepts, specifically concepts of categories of knowledge such as 'science', 'philosophy' or 'religion', produce an impact on the receiving culture's already existent body of knowledge? This paper explores the above questions with reference to an anthology the author is compiling. It is an anthology, in English translation, of texts on Chinese thinking about translation. The initial title was An Anthology of Chinese Translation Theories: from Ancient Times to the Revolution of 1911; this was changed to An Anthology of Chinese Thought on Translation before the present title, An Anthology of Chinese Discourse on Translation. By analyzing, in a self-reflective manner, the decisions involved in the movement from 'theory' to 'thought' to 'discourse', I hope to throw some light on the epistemological impact produced by translated concepts in the receiving culture. The impact is analyzed in terms of the disciplining of knowledge that could be effected by translated concepts - disciplining in the sense of organizing, ordering, hierarchizing, including/excluding, centering/decentering, aligning and re-aligning material deemed to constitute knowledge in the receiving culture, for the purpose of mono-cultural, cross-cultural or intercultural study. As the use of translated concepts (e.g. 'science', 'philosophy', 'religion') to name bodies of knowledge in ancient China is a common, though not uncontroversial practice, the issue of the disciplining of knowledge dealt with in this paper should have relevance, not only to translation scholars, but also for Sinologists and Chinese scholars the world over.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTranslating Others
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781315759869
ISBN (Print)9781138172524
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2014

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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