Chinese translation market

Lung Jan, Andy CHAN

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsBook ChapterResearchpeer-review


This chapter aims to describe and analyse the Chinese translation market in recent years. It starts with definitions of some key terms in order to highlight the focus of this discussion. A microeconomic framework of ‘market’ is then put forward and explanations of important concepts such as ‘supply’, ‘demand’ and ‘market price’ provided. Using this microeconomic framework, the supply and demand sides of the Chinese translation market are discussed based on the existing data and statistics, market reports and other information available to the author. Compared with other existing research in translation studies (TS), relatively few academic papers in TS journals are cited, and there is a reason for this. Chesterman (1997: 96), a scholar interested in the sociology of translators, pointed out that ‘Translation Studies ... [is] not concerned enough with the real problems at the messy grassroots of life in a big translation company’. This statement can describe the Chinese translation market as well: there have not been enough (not to mention in-depth and comprehensive) studies on the real problems in the Chinese translation market. In fact, this chapter attempts to fill this gap, to a certain extent. For example, based on publicly available data, information on the salaries or translation rates for in-house translators in governments and private enterprises as well as freelance translators working for agencies in the Chinese market is provided. In addition, there is a brief comparison of the pay of Chinese and Western translators, to highlight the status of translators in the Chinese translation market. This chapter ends by pointing out key opportunities and threats in the Chinese translation market and recommendations for further reading.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge handbook of Chinese translation
EditorsChris SHEI, Zhao-Ming GAO
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781315675725
ISBN (Print)9781138938267
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


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