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A Defense of Translationese

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DOI: 10.25236/soshu.2020.141


Cai Lin

Corresponding Author

Cai Lin


Translationese in the Chinese language emerged in the wake of translation practice during the May Fourth Movement period. Many scholars have carried out the study of it. However, most studies in this field are prescriptive which are limited to fierce arguments for or against translationese. To objectively observe this phenomenon, this essay carries out a systemic categorization and description of translationese in modern Chinese language. All these categories are exemplified with examples from People’s Daily and the Chinese language textbooks for primary school, with relevant classical Chinese structures presented for comparison. Focusing on the syntactic structure, word order to be specific, the essay concludes that all the translationese examples discussed were absent in classical Chinese, and they were introduced into China during the May Fourth Movement by translation practice. Contrary to most studies on this topic, this essay argues that translationese enriches the expression of modern Chinese language and become an integral part of Chinese language culture.


Translationese, Modern Chinese Language, Syntax, Word Order, Influence