The Research Centre for Translation centers itself around the idea of translation, our two principal endeavours being translating Chinese literature into English and research in translation studies. Our logo represents the scope of our work, signifying cultural exchange: the three horizontal stripes stand for the standard form of printed English, with the vertical stripes corresponding to that of Chinese. The letters RCT represent the Research Centre for Translation, with the vermilion background meant to call to mind the colour of seals used to validate traditional Chinese texts.


RCT was founded in 1971 as the Centre for Translation Projects, the brainchild of the late Mr Stephen C. Soong (1919–1996), a prolific writer and translator, and an active figure in the promotion of translation education and research. Work in the early years focused on establishing a quality publishing base for Chinese literature in English translation. The Centre’s flagship journal Renditions was successfully launched in 1973 by the Chinese-American translator George Kao (1912–2008), then a visiting senior fellow at RCT. The journal’s success paved the way for more publications, including the launch of the hardcover Renditions Books series in 1976. 

With its reputation and long-term viability ensured, the Centre then turned its attention to research in Chinese literature, translation studies and comparative literature. Additional restructuring in 1983 further strengthened RCT as a research centre for Chinese literature and translation studies. The present name, the Research Centre for Translation (RCT), was adopted at this time.

Mr. Stephen C. Soong (1919–1996)
Mr. Geroge Kao (1912–2008)
The early years: teachers and students at a graduation dinner of an Advanced Diploma in translation organized by the centre in 1970s.

The period between the middle and late 1980s saw remarkable growth in literary creativity in mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, which inspired an increase in translating and publishing activity at the Centre, including the launch of the Renditions Paperbacks series in 1986.

Since the 1990s, the emphasis of the Centre’s work has gradually shifted towards translation studies, especially in relation to the historical and cultural contexts of China. The Translation Studies Research Series, initiated by RCT, represents some of the Centre’s research work in this area. In recent years, additional activities have been organized by RCT to promote translation studies, particularly the influence of translation in Asian history and culture. 

These include the biennial Young Researchers’ Conference on Chinese Translation Studies and the Summer School on Chinese Translation History, both of which aim to provide a platform for young scholars worldwide to be actively engaged in translation studies. Since 2011, the Centre had launched the inaugural issue of the Chinese journal Studies in Translation History (Fanyishi yanjiu). The publication of this journal marks another important milestone for RCT in furthering its mission to cultivate high-level research in this area.


Founding of Centre for Translation Projects


Philip S.Y. Sun became Centre Director

Inaugural issue of journal Renditions and Stephen C. Soong became Centre Director
Launch of the hardcover Renditions Books series

The first Renditions Book: Chinese Classical Prose: The Eight Masters of the T’ang-Sung Period

Centre restructured and renamed to Comparative Literature and Translation Centre
Five Seasons of a Golden Year won Association of American University Presses Design Award

Stephen C. Soong with a copy of Five Seasons of a Golden Year

Renamed centre to Research Centre for Translation (RCT)


John Minford became Centre Director


The first three titles of the Renditions Paperbacks

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Launch of the Renditions Paperbacks series


Eva W. Y. Hung became Centre Director


Establishment of Renditions Fellowship programme

Vignettes from the Chinese won Merit Book award of the Hong Kong Print Awards

Lecture Series


Renowned scholars, Gideon Toury, Tejaswini Niranjana, Eugene Eoyang, Andre Lefevere and Susan Bassnett, gave lectures in Renditions 21st Anniversary Lecture Series

Establishment of the Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards


Mrs Mae Soong presenting an award certificate to Dr. Chu Chiyu

Launch of the Translation Studies Research Series


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Launch of electronically-based Renditions CD-ROM Series and Renditions PDA Series
Inauguration of Young Researchers’ Conference on Chinese Translation Studies series

Lawrence Wang-chi Wong became Centre Director

The Carving of Insects won the 2007 Literary Award for Translation at the 17th Annual PEN USA Literary Awards Festival

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To Pierce the Material Screen: An Anthology of 20th-century Hong Kong Literature launched during the Hong Kong International Literature Festival

Inauguration of the Summer School on Chinese Translation History


Inaugural issue of journal Studies in Translation History


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Prof Howard Goldblatt as the first speaker
Establishment of Renditions Distinguished Lecture Series on Literary Translation

Inauguration of the International Conference on Chinese Translation History series


Organised Lecture Series on Studies in Translation History in Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the RCT


Past Conferences

21-23 April 2022

"Chinese Culture in Translation: Sinologists as Translators” Conference

Co-organised by the Department of Oriental Studies, Sapienza University of Rome and RCT, CUHK.

29-31 May 2013

Translation and Modernization in East Asia in the 19th and Early 20th Century Conference 十九至二十世紀初翻譯與東亞現代化國際研討會

This conference was held at CUHK on 29–31 May 2013. It aimed to study the role played by translation in the modernization process of the East Asian countries in the 19th and early 20th century, a project at RCT, supported by the University’s Focused Investment Scheme and the RCT Research Programme Fund.

1-2 November 2012

"From Late Ming to Late Qing: Literature, Translation, and the Construction of Knowledge” Conference

Co-organised by the RCT, CUHK and the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy, Academia Sinica, Taiwan.

27 September 2012

"Translation and Colonial Rule in Taiwan" Workshop 【日治時期的譯者與譯事活動】工作坊

Jointly organised by the RCT, CUHK and Cultural History Research Group of the Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica Taiwan.

27-28 October 2011

Sinologists as translators in the 17–19th Century Conference

This is an international conference organised at The Chinese University of Hong Kong on 27–28 October 2011 in Celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the RCT.

15-17 December 2010

The Fourth Asian Translation Tradition Conference

Co-organised the "Fourth Asian Translation Traditions Conference" (ATT4) with the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. The event was held at The Chinese University of Hong Kong on 15–17 December 2010.

It was a sequel to three previous conferences held at AHRB Centre for Asian and African Literatures in London (2004), the Adivasi Academy in Tejgadh, India (2005), and Boğaziçi University in Istanbul (2008). Like the previous conferences, the fourth conference aimed to explore the Eurocentric bias of Translation Studies by exploring the richness and diversity of non-Western discourses and practices of translation. The focus was on translational exchanges among non-Western languages and change and continuity in Asian translation traditions.

Conference report published by Compilation and Translation Review.

19-21 May 2004

The International Conference on Asian Translation Traditions

Co-organised with the AHRB Centre at UCL and SOAS, London University, 19–21 May 2004. Conference papers are collected in Asian Translation Traditions, edited by Eva Hung and Judy Wakabayashi, published by St. Jerome Publishing.

25–28 August 1999

International Conference on Culture and Translation

Co-organised with Dept. of English, Peking University

2–5 December 1998

4th Language International Conference on Translation & Interpreting: Building Bridges

Co-organised with Academy of Social Sciences, Shanghai International Studies University.

2–5 December 1998

International Conference on Translation in Asia: Past & Present

Co-organised with GITIS, Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan.
Conference papers are collected in the book Translation in Asia: Past and Present, edited by Eva Hung and Yang Cheng-shu, published by Peking University Press.

3–5 March 1998

Working Conference on Translation Movements in China

3–6 January, 1996

International Conference on Early Modern Chinese Literature: Translation and Creation

Conference papers are collected in the books:
Translation and Creation (English, edited by David Pollard, published by John Benjamins Publishing Company)
and Translation and Creation: on early modern Chinese translation of foreign fiction (Chinese, edited by Lawrence Wang-chi Wong, published by Peking University Press).

5–8 December 1988

International Conference on Hong Kong Literature

Co-organised with Dept. of Chinese, CUHK and Joint Publishing Co. Ltd..

24 May 1986

Symposium on the Teaching of Translation in Hong Kong