Publication details [#794]

Wang, Kefei (王克非) and Shouyi Fan. 1999. Translation in China: a motivating force. Meta 44 (1) : 7–26.


Four waves of translation activities have marked China's 5,000-year-long history. The first wave began with the translation of Buddhist classics by Indian and Central Asian Buddhist monks as well as Chinese monks conversant in both the doctrines and Sanskrit. The translation of Buddhist scriptures began in the late Han Dynasty and continued for more than 1,000 years, leaving a permanent influence on China's religion, philosophy and social life. The second wave of translating started in the late Ming Dynasty of the 16th century, when the Jesuit missionaries from the West came to China to spread Catholicism and teach science and technology. The signing, at gunpoint, of the Treaty of Nanking ushered in a third wave of translation activity, which focused on works of social sciences, military sciences, and literature. The fourth wave of translation activity began in the late 1950s, was interrupted by the outbreak of the cultural revolution, but resumed its momentum in the late 1970s. In a sense, translation in China has served as a sort of motivating force, giving impetus to the country's progress.
Source : Based on abstract in journal