Transadvertising of Western pharmaceutical products in The Chinese Mail (1895–1910)

Bo LI*

*Corresponding author for this work

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


This study investigates how English advertisements for Western pharmaceutical products were appropriated to meet the expectations of local consumers in The Chinese Mail, one of the major Chinese newspapers in Hong Kong, between 1895 and 1910. The Chinese advertisements for these foreign medical products are compared to their English counterparts, and the adaptation of brand names and advertising content to the discourse of Traditional Chinese Medicine is analysed. This study reveals that the Western pharmaceutical products marketed in Hong Kong were closely related to the bubonic plague of 1894 and the prostitution industry and that the juxtaposition of Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine discourses in Chinese advertising highlights the discrepancy between these two medical discourses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-359
Number of pages15
JournalPerspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice
Issue number2
Early online date2 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work was fully supported by a grant from the Research Grant Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China: [Project No. CityU 21601417].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • The Chinese Mail
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
  • Transadvertising
  • translation
  • Western pharmaceutical products


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