Chinese discourse on translation has always been a site for negotiating cultural politics, and for heated debates about the perennial problem of China's relation with the world. Traditional Chinese discourse on translation has been criticized for being impressionistic, unscientific, anecdotal and unsystematic, and more or less consigned to oblivion, while contemporary Chinese discourse on translation became almost synonymous with Chinese translations, explications and/or application of imported translation theories. In the mid 1980s, however, there was a wave of critical self-reflection on this state of affairs. Alarmed by the loss of ability to tap into the power of discourse and to exercise the right of discourse, and by the muting of the Chinese voice to mere echoes of the voice of the West, there has been, in the field of translation studies as in other fields, a series of movements to rediscover the roots of Chinese culture, to reconstruct a Chinese tradition, to regain a Chinese voice, and to re-establish a Chinese system of learning. A similar process of critical self-reflection has also unfolded in the Anglo-American world. The impact of postcolonial thinking has produced some sharp critiques of Eurocentrism in different academic disciplines, including translation studies, and there have been attempts at borrowing and learning from other discourses on translation in order to produce new models or conduct new theoretical explorations.
Chinese Discourses on Translation sets out to address these issues from the perspectives of Chinese and non-Chinese scholars of translation, and to bring contemporary Chinese discourses on translation to the attention of a wider readership.