Power and ideology in translation research in twentieth-century China an analysis of three Seminal Works

Martha P Y Cheung*

*Corresponding author for this work

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

3 Citations (Scopus)


The essay is concerned with assertions of difference and resistance to dominant ideology in translation research. It argues that the emphasis on historicization and contextualization that has characterized recent work in translation history, can be applied to the relation between translation studies and prevailing sociopolitical and ideological structures. I consider three twentieth-century Chinese essays on Chinese translation history. Hu Shi's 'The Translated Literature of Buddhism' (Parts 1 and 2) of 1928 championed translations into the vernacular at a time when neither translations nor literature in the vernacular (baihua) formed part of the canon. Qian Zhongshu's 'The Translations of Lin Shu' (1964), with its emphasis on Lin Shu's creativity as a translator, challenged the prescriptive insistence on accuracy which was the orthodoxy of the day. Luo Xinzhang's 'A System of its Own - Our Country's Translation Theories' (1983) emphasizes the uniqueness of the Chinese translation tradition and is thus an exercise in identity construction, but an identity markedly different from that propagated by the state at the time. In all these cases it is the agency of the translation researcher as a political subject which is at stake.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCrosscultural Transgressions
Subtitle of host publicationResearch Models in Translation: Historical and Ideological Issues
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781317640691
ISBN (Print)9781315759944
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2014

Scopus Subject Areas

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


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