'To translate' means 'to exchange'? A new interpretation of the earliest Chinese attempts to define translation ('fanyi')

Martha P Y CHEUNG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper analyzes several terms used in ancient China to refer to the activity/activities now called 'fanyi' in Chinese, or 'translation in English. By tracing the pattern behind the semantic and ideological jogging amongst these terms, the paper offers a new interpretation of the earliest Chinese attempts to define translation ('fanyi'). The purpose is to highlight the constructed nature of the prevailing notion of 'fanyi' and unsettle its established meaning, the better to provoke theoretical discussions on and about 'fanyi'. The final purpose is to provide a response to the recent call for a non-Eurocentric, international Translation Studies by advocating for a concerted effort to study the conceptualisations of 'translation' as they evolved in different cultures, with the view to eventually developing a generai theory of translation that truly has generai relevance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-48
Number of pages22
JournalTarget
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

User-Defined Keywords

  • 'Exchange'
  • Chinese discourse on translation
  • Fanyi'
  • Ideology
  • Metaphors of translation

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