Sinologists as Translators in the 17-19th century

When China first had contacts with the West in the 17th century, the huge cultural and linguistic barriers created insurmountable problems for effective communications and mutual understanding, which had a long-term and often quite negative impact on Sino-Western relations. While the Chinese at that time were in general not eager to learn the language of the foreign “barbarians”, some Westerners took up the task of learning the very difficult Chinese language and culture. They also began to translate Chinese works into their own languages and write on China. It was inevitable that these first generations of Sinologists were seriously hindered by their own language, cultural and even political backgrounds, and often made wrong assumptions in their presentation of China to the West. However, their contributions to bridging the gap between China and the West should be valued.

Sinologists as Translators in the 17-19th century Conference (2011)

An International Conference In Celebration of The Fortieth Anniversary of the Research Centre for Translation
Date27–28 October, 2011
Venue2/F Conference Room, East Wing, Art Museum
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
(Campus map and transportation)
OrganizerResearch Centre for Translation, Institute of Chinese Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
SponsorsInstutite of Chinese Studies and Chung Chi College,
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
List of Participants Roland Altenburger (The University of Zürich)
Bernhard Fuehrer (SOAS, University of London)
Uganda Sze Pui Kwan (Nanyang Technological University)
Thierry Meynard (Sun Yat-Sen University)
Feng-Chuan Pan (National Taiwan Normal University)
Patricia Sieber (The Ohio State University)
Richard Smith (Rice University)
Wong Man Kong (Hong Kong Baptist University)
Lawrence Wang-chi Wong (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Thomas Zimmer (University of Cologne)
Programme and AbstractsPlease click here.
The present conference, being one of the activities to commemorate the RCT’s 40th Anniversary, focuses on one particular contribution of the early Sinologists, their translations of works in Chinese. This is in line with the original aim in setting up the Centre in 1971: to promote Chinese literature internationally through translation work and to foster pioneering research in translation studies. We would like to explore why certain works were chosen for translation by the early sinologists in those particular historical moments, how were they interpreted, translated or even manipulated, and what impact, both short and long-term, they made. We would also hope to examine in what ways such translation activities helped to establish the discipline of sinology in certain countries. Our presenters may work on one particular Sinologist, a group of Sinologists, Sinologists from a particular country, or from different countries. They are by invitation only, and the papers will be published by the RCT in collaboration with a reputable international press. Further, should participants agree on the need and merit, they may form a research team to further work on this or another related topic, which could be supported by the RCT Research Programme Fund.

Sinologists as Translators in the 17-19th Centuries Conference (2013): Archives and Context

This is the continuation of the Sinologists as Translators in the 17-19th Centuries Conference (2011).
Date19–21 June 2013
VenueSOAS Vernon Square Campus, Vernon Square, Penton Rise, London WC1X 9EW
OrganizerDepartment of the Languages and Cultures of China and Inner Asia, SOAS and Research Centre for Translation Studies, CUHK
Programme and AbstractsPlease click here