[New Publication] The retranslation of Chinese political texts: Ideology, norms, and evolution

By Feng Pan and Tao Li


The past three decades have witnessed an increase in research on retranslation. Drawing on Critical Discourse Analysis, this study examines the retranslation of political texts – specifically Work Reports by the Communist Party of China – as a special genre in its own right. By concentrating on the retranslation of a recurring set of Chinese political concepts, culture-specific items, and preferred usages into English from the early 1990s to the late 2010s, this study shows how and why the retranslations have been carried out, as motivated by the evolving ideologies of the original author – the Communist Party of China. The retranslations are shown to be influenced by the broader social, economic, and political dynamics within China, rather than by prevailing factors within the receiving culture or variables associated with the individual translators, as is commonly suggested in the literature. Our findings add to the existing body of research into retranslation by extending the genres and contexts of retranslation research.