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Author ORCID Identifier


Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Comparative Literature

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Edwin Gentzler

Subject Categories

Chinese Studies | Comparative Literature | Translation Studies


In the West, many modern translation theories, based, as most Western languages are, on the use of alphabetic writing systems, have seen dramatic changes in their evolution and differ from Chinese translation theories, which are based on the Chinese ideographic writing system, and whose characters have remained largely unchanged for over two millennia. In this dissertation, I explore those differences between the writing systems and suggest how they might affect modes and conceptualization of translation. The goal and intention of the research is to then try to tease out larger implications of such different conceptualizations and to see how they may impact wider definitions for the field of translation studies. With regard to the Chinese language, my research demonstrates, on the one hand, how the consistent usage of characters has enabled a rich history and vocabulary of terms for translating and interpreting that far exceed what the contemporary term fanyi (translation)implies; and, on the other hand, as a result of the complexity of the characters and the writing system, how the act of commentating/interpreting/translating is not only necessary but has turned into a critical vehicle for learning, change, creativity, and growth.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.