This article examines the earliest extant translations from Chinese in the period of the first systematic encounters between Chinese and Europeans in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It argues that agents of the Spanish and Portuguese empires in the context of early modern colonialism devised practical and effective social and linguistic approaches for translating Chinese. The article investigates three such approaches: the use of Chinese interpreters who learned European languages; the use of oral translation in the collaboration between Chinese and European interpreters; and the use of Europeans fluent in Chinese translating themselves.
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- history of translation
- cultural history of translation
- Chinese translation
- China and the West
- social history of translation