USIS-funded literary translation in Hong Kong in the Cultural Cold War: a study of literary translations in World Today (1949-1952)

Bo LI*

*Corresponding author for this work

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

1 Citation (Scopus)


Recent scholarship has witnessed a burgeoning interest in the interwoven relationship between Cold War Studies and Translation Studies. However, Hong Kong during the Cold War remains largely neglected. Hong Kong in the 1950s had a political significance from a temporal and spatial perspective and was the scene where the British colonizer, the United States Information Services (USIS) and Communist China fought a hidden battle. World Today, a less studied but major periodical that was sponsored by the USIS in Hong Kong, was published between 1949 and the 1980s. This paper investigates the literary translations in World Today from 1949 to 1952, and finds that they were part of the US propaganda and cultural war against Communist China. These foreign literary works, chiefly American literature and writings on the US, were characterized by appropriation and mediation through the purposeful selection of translated literary works from the outset and selective manipulation within the text via omissions and alterations thereafter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)941-956
Number of pages16
JournalPerspectives: Studies in Translatology
Issue number6
Early online date11 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their insightful suggestions and careful reading of the manuscript. I am particularly grateful to my PhD student, Miss Meilong Liu, for her help with the preparation of the manuscript.

The work described in this paper was fully supported by the General Research Fund from the Research Grant Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China: [Project No. 11604420).

Funding Information:
This paper intends to start bridging this research gap by discussing the translations funded by the USIS in Hong Kong against the background of the Cultural Cold War in the early 1950s. It focuses on literary translations in Hong Kong periodicals, with special reference to those that were commissioned by the USIS, endeavoring to delineate how translators applied self-censorship and manipulated the texts in the translation process. We reveal their attempt to picture the US as a beautiful paradise against the backdrop of the Cultural Cold War. We have particularly placed our attention on the literary translations published in World Today (今日世界, former name America Today:今日美國; hereinafter referred to as WT) from 1949 to 1952 (See and ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Cultural Cold War
  • The United States Information Services
  • World Today
  • literary translation
  • periodical translation


Dive into the research topics of 'USIS-funded literary translation in Hong Kong in the Cultural Cold War: a study of literary translations in World Today (1949-1952)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this