Perceptions of translating/interpreting in first-century China

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)Researchpeer-review

Abstract

This article analyzes evidence of translating and interpreting activities (indiscriminately referred to as yi, which also denotes translators or interpreters in classical Chinese) in first-century China between the Latter Han (25–220 AD) Chinese administration and non-Han Chinese minority tribes along the then Southwestern frontier (modern Yunnan and Sichuan provinces). The importance of this archival record to the historical study of translation and interpreting is two-fold. First, it contains crucial details pertinent to translating and interpreting activities in China in antiquity. Second, it documents concepts of yi synchronically, as perceived by three main participants in the interpreting events: the emperor, the frontier inspector, and the frontier clerk cum interpreter. The presentation of what they actually wrote, said, and did in the first-century interpreting setting in China, with close reference to standard histories, objectively depicts the meanings of yi as perceived by these figures at the time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-136
Number of pages18
JournalInterpreting
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2009

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interpreter
China
translator
antiquity
ethnic group
minority
event
history
evidence
Translating
Interpreter
time

Bibliographical note

Reprinted in Interpreting Chinese, Interpreting China, Robin Setton (ed.), Benjamins Current Topics 29, 2011, 11-28.

Cite this

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title = "Perceptions of translating/interpreting in first-century China",
abstract = "This article analyzes evidence of translating and interpreting activities (indiscriminately referred to as yi, which also denotes translators or interpreters in classical Chinese) in first-century China between the Latter Han (25–220 AD) Chinese administration and non-Han Chinese minority tribes along the then Southwestern frontier (modern Yunnan and Sichuan provinces). The importance of this archival record to the historical study of translation and interpreting is two-fold. First, it contains crucial details pertinent to translating and interpreting activities in China in antiquity. Second, it documents concepts of yi synchronically, as perceived by three main participants in the interpreting events: the emperor, the frontier inspector, and the frontier clerk cum interpreter. The presentation of what they actually wrote, said, and did in the first-century interpreting setting in China, with close reference to standard histories, objectively depicts the meanings of yi as perceived by these figures at the time.",
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Perceptions of translating/interpreting in first-century China. / LUNG, Wai Chu, Rachel.

In: Interpreting, Vol. 11, No. 2, 01.09.2009, p. 119-136.

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)Researchpeer-review

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AB - This article analyzes evidence of translating and interpreting activities (indiscriminately referred to as yi, which also denotes translators or interpreters in classical Chinese) in first-century China between the Latter Han (25–220 AD) Chinese administration and non-Han Chinese minority tribes along the then Southwestern frontier (modern Yunnan and Sichuan provinces). The importance of this archival record to the historical study of translation and interpreting is two-fold. First, it contains crucial details pertinent to translating and interpreting activities in China in antiquity. Second, it documents concepts of yi synchronically, as perceived by three main participants in the interpreting events: the emperor, the frontier inspector, and the frontier clerk cum interpreter. The presentation of what they actually wrote, said, and did in the first-century interpreting setting in China, with close reference to standard histories, objectively depicts the meanings of yi as perceived by these figures at the time.

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