The Shift of Directionality in Translation Activities in China (2011-2020)

Jinjun WANG, Kexiu YIN, Jing LIU


Translation as an intercultural and interlingual activity is in the progress echoing synchronously the social, economic and cultural development of a country. In the long recorded history of China, translation has played an irreplaceable role in political, cultural and economic exchanges between China and other nations. By way of reviewing the long history of translation activities in China from the Han Dynasty to the 21st century, it is found that the directionality of translation from foreign languages into Chinese (FL-C) has kept over thousands of years until the late 10 years have witnessed the reversed directionality in translation. After perusing literature review together with quantified translation works and the comparative study, the four high tides with the dominant FL-C translation are periodized in the span of thousands of years and much focus is given to evidence and justify the shifted directionality of Chinese into foreign languages (C-FL) translation activities from 2011 to 2020. Aided by the quantitative and qualitative analysis, this article makes an in-depth exploration of C-FL translation activities from three major aspects, that is, main fields and target languages in translation industry, the government funded projects for publishing C-FL translation works, and the major publishing houses for C-FL translation works, and it also has a further elaboration of the shifted directionality of translation under the framework of Pierre Bourdieu’s(1984, 1986) sociological theories on the field and the capital.


The shift; Directionality; Translation activities; China; 2011-2020

Full Text:



Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. Routledge.

Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. Richardson (Eds.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education, pp.241-258. Greenwood Press.

Fonseca, N. B. (2015). Directionality in translation: Investigating prototypical patterns in editing procedures. Translation & Interpreting, 7(1), 111-125.

Gang, X., & Glynn,D. (2019). The applicability of polysystem theory to analyzing modern Chinese translated literature. Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences, 2(6), 20-35.

Giovanni, E. & Dirar, U. C. (2015). Reviewing directionality in writing and translation: Notes for a history of translation in the Horn of Africa. Translation Studies, 8(2), 175-190.

Hao, S. (2018). Literature review on translating classical Chinese poetry into English. International Journal of Intelligent Information and Management Science, 7(6), 45-55.

Kelly, L. G. (1979). The true interpreter: A history of translation theory and practice in the west. St Martin’s Press.

Li, N. (2010). Science translation in China from 1949 to 2009. Chinese Translators Journal, 31(1), 27-32.

Lonsdale, A. B. (1998/2004). Direction of translation (directionality). In M. Baker (Ed.), Routledge encyclopedia of translation studies (pp.63-67). Routledge/Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press.

Lu, G. (2019). The international communication competence of the press and publication industry of China and ways of improvement. Chinese Editors Journal, 117(9), 27-32.

Ma, Z. (1998). 中国翻译简史 [A brief history of translation in China]. China Translation & Publishing Corporation.

Ma, Z. (2006). 中国翻译通史·卷三 [A history of translation in China: Volume III]. Hubei Education Press.

Newmark, P. (1988). A textbook of translation. Prentice Hall.

Obdržálková, V. (2018). Directionality in translation: Qualitative aspects of translation from and into English as a non- mother tongue. Sendebar, 29, 35-57.

Pavlović, N. (2007). Directionality in translation and interpreting practice: Report on a questionnaire survey in Croatia. Forum, 5(2), 79-99.

Picken, C. (Ed). (1989). The translator’s handbook. Aslib.

Qin, J. (2020). Göran Malmqvist’s contribution to the translation and canonization of Chinese literature in the West. Chinese Translators’ Journal, 41(1), 70-78.

Riazi, A. M. (2016). The Routledge encyclopedia of research methods in applied linguistics. Routledge.

Shi, C. (2019, December 2). Shanghai translation Grant. Jiefang Daily.

Shi, Y. (2017, September 18). Publication of Xi Jinping: The governance of China. China Net.

State Council Information Office. (2013, April). Achievements of the China book international project. State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China.

Tian, C. (2019). Development of translation market in China over the sixty years (1949-2009). China Social Sciences Press.

Translators Association of China and China Academy of Translation. (2016). China language service industry development report. Foreign Languages Press.

Translators Association of China and Institute of China Translation Development. (2012). China language service industry development report.

Translators Association of China. (2014). Report on China’s translation industry.

Translators Association of China. (2018). China language service industry development report. Foreign Languages Press.

Translators Association of China. (2019). China language service industry development report. Foreign Languages Press.

Translators Association of China. (2020). China language service industry development report.

Xie, T. (2009). 中西翻译简史[A brief history of translation in China and the West]. Foreign Languages Teaching and Education Press.

Xu, J. (2009). 翻译概论[On translation]. Foreign Languages Teaching and Education Press.

Yang, M., & Yu, Q. (2020). Strategies for translating diplomacy-serving metaphors with Chinese characteristics. Chinese Translators’ Journal, 41(1), 151-159.

Zhang, Z., & Peng, F. (2015). A course book of Chinese and western translation theories. Tsinghua University Press.

Zhao, E. (2018, August 15). Issuance of key concepts in Chinese thought and culture (Vol. 6). People’s Daily Online. c1013- 30231143.html.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 Author(s)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


  • How to do online submission to another Journal?
  • If you have already registered in Journal A, then how can you submit another article to Journal B? It takes two steps to make it happen:

1. Register yourself in Journal B as an Author

  • Find the journal you want to submit to in CATEGORIES, click on “VIEW JOURNAL”, “Online Submissions”, “GO TO LOGIN” and “Edit My Profile”. Check “Author” on the “Edit Profile” page, then “Save”.

2. Submission

Online Submission

  • Go to “User Home”, and click on “Author” under the name of Journal B. You may start a New Submission by clicking on “CLICK HERE”.
  • We only use four mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases:;;;

 Articles published in Canadian Social Science are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY).


Canadian Social Science Editorial Office

Address: 1020 Bouvier Street, Suite 400, Quebec City, Quebec, G2K 0K9, Canada.
Telephone: 1-514-558 6138 
Website: Http://; Http://;

Copyright © Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture