From Social Reform to Knowledge Dissemination

A Case Study of the Chinese (Re)translations of the Science Text Evolution and Ethics and Other Essays


  • Hua Tan Central China Normal University



The translation of non-literary texts, especially science texts, compared to that of literary texts, tends to receive less attention not only from general readers in public, but also from scholars. One phenomenon of such tendency is that non-literary texts are far less retranslated. Different from literary texts, which could have as many as dozens of retranslations, such as the English novel Jane Eyre, which has more than thirty Chinese retranslations, non-literary texts in general have much fewer retranslations, with many of them never retranslated. The reasons for retranslation of non-literary texts differ from those for literary texts. Literary texts are retranslated, as investigated by many researchers, often because of particular consideration of new target reader groups, language, style, aesthetics, commercial interest, and the like; while non-literary texts tend not to be retranslated for that many different purposes, it is commonly agreed that knowledge dissemination is the major motive behind their retranslations.


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