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4 The Birth of a Profession: Translators and Translation in Modern China

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Chapter Summary

Translation has been one of the major occupations of Chinese intellectuals throughout the twentieth century. Translators were at the forefront in defining the direction and the shapes of modernity in China, spearheading the introduction of new ideas and providing models from abroad. This chapter discusses professions and professionalization in Republican China in general. It then turns to the rise of a new breed of translators since the 1930s, follows the career path of Fu Lei 傅雷 (1908-1966), one of the foremost translators of nineteenth-century French fiction, shows how Chinese intellectuals after the 1920s faced increasing occupational competition and were thus forced to specialize in more clearly defined areas. The chapter discusses the translation reforms after 1949 and the effects of the changes on translators and their work.

Keywords: journalism; Professionalism



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