Cooperation between Chinese and Foreign Publishers in Translating Chinese Literature and Culture into English in the 21st century – A Case Study on CPG China Library

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In the 21st century, with China playing a more important role in the international arena, there is a tendency that more Chinese works will be translated into foreign languages, as evidenced by several big translation projects patronized by governmental organizations. To translate Chinese literary and cultural products into foreign languages – particularly into English, the global lingua franca – is to some extent to ‘export’ her symbolic and cultural capital to the outside world. As it is generally agreed that the translations solely patronized by Chinese governmental organizations in the past were not quite successful, there is a tendency that a translation project will be under the patronage of a Chinese institution and a foreign publisher at the same time in this world of globalization. In this paper, we will explore the cooperation between Chinese and foreign patrons through a case study on the most ambitious ChineseEnglish translation project so far, namely the CPG China Library (中国现当代文化经典文库), which, initiated by China Publishing Group Corp. (CPG) in 2014, involves the translation of 500 scholarly/literary Chinese works with the cooperation of foreign publishers. Ranked No.14 among the 2014 top 50 world publishing groups, CPG is the largest and most influential publishing group in China and its partner publishers include world leading publishers in USA and UK. Through collecting first-hand materials and interviewing publishers, we will try to explore such a new form of joint patronage in translating Chinese works to the English world, and investigate issues including how such a new form of patronage works, what advantages or disadvantages it has, the possible clashes of ideologies, poetics, and habitus, and whether it is a most effective way to translate Chinese literature and culture to the outside world.


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