Translating Western musicals into Chinese: texts, networks, consumers

  • Stella Lanxing Sorby

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


When translating musicals from one culture to another, a translator’s role is to convert the text for its stage representation in a different context. However, during the process from this translated text to it finally being performed on stage, changes are inevitable. Issues surrounding the nature of such changes, the reasons for which they are made, and their resulting effects, have hitherto been little researched. The present study seeks to explore such issues through an examination of the ways in which the development of the translated text is shaped by interactions between the various stakeholders including professional translators, fans and production team members, i.e. the director and actors, as well as the audience themselves. Employing some of the major concepts of Actor Network Theory as the principal theoretical framework, together with a case study approach combining textual analysis and empirical studies, this project focuses on Putonghua translations of Western musicals on the Chinese mainland. More specifically, through investigating three of the most recent and professionally translated and performed Western musicals: I love you, you’re perfect, now change (USA), Spin (Finland), and Mamma Mia! (UK), it intends to show how differing stakeholder perspectives on issues of performability and reception are negotiated to produce a commercially successful translation product.

Date of Award2014
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRobert John NEATHER (Supervisor)

User-Defined Keywords

  • English drama
  • Musicals
  • translations into Chinese

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