Volume 65, Issue 5
  • ISSN 0521-9744
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9668
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



The notion of narrative is a very productive concept in many disciplines, and it has been introduced and applied effectively in translation studies, where the specific narrative typology and narrative features are drawn and outlined. Based on the understanding of translation and the analysis of narrative features by Baker, this paper examines the issues in translating ancient Chinese legal works. The default narrative features in ancient Chinese legal works are firstly given a detailed explanation, then the challenges to the Western sinologists in re-narrating ancient Chinese legal stories, especially for the purposes of constructing a “moral” world for the Western readers. For the purpose of successful communication, the fundamental elements in Chinese legal tradition should be given more attention. Thus a contextualized narrative strategy is proposed for application in translating ancient Chinese legal works. For successful communication, it requires on the part of the narrator a degree of creative adaptation.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Alford, William P.
    1997 “Why western scholars of Chinese history and society have not had more to say about its law”. Modern China23 (4): 398–419. 10.1177/009770049702300402
    https://doi.org/10.1177/009770049702300402 [Google Scholar]
  2. Baker, Mona
    2005 “Narratives in and of Translation”. SKASE Journal of Translation and Interpretation (1): 4–13.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. 2006Translation and Conflict: A Narrative Account. London: Routledge. 10.4324/9780203099919
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203099919 [Google Scholar]
  4. 2014 “Translation as Re-narration”. InTranslation: A multidisciplinary approach, ed. byHouse, Juliane, 158–177. Houndmills Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/9781137025487_9
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137025487_9 [Google Scholar]
  5. Bruner, Jerome
    1991 “The Narrative Construction of Reality”. Critical Inquiry18 (1): 1–21. 10.1086/448619
    https://doi.org/10.1086/448619 [Google Scholar]
  6. Callahan, Sidney
    2008 “Comment on Confucian family love from a Christian perspective”. Dao7 (2): 145–149. 10.1007/s11712‑008‑9061‑1
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s11712-008-9061-1 [Google Scholar]
  7. Duyvendak, Jan Julius Lodewijk
    (tr.) 1928The Book of Lord Shang. London: Arthur Probsthain.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Gao, Heng
    1974商君书注译 [shāng jun1 shū zhù yì,Notes and Translation of Shang Jun Shu]. Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Graham, Angus
    1989Disputers of the Tao. La Salle (IL): Open Court.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Huang, Dong-hai; and Fan Zhong-xin
    2008 “春秋铸刑书刑鼎究竟昭示了什么巨变” [chūn qiū zhù xíng shū xíng dǐng jiū jìng zhāo shì le shí me –What great changes does the casting of penal books and penal tripods during the Spring and Autumn period bring about?]. Science of Law (2): 53–61.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Jiang Yong-lin
    (tr.) 2005The Great Ming Code. Seattle (WA): University of Washington Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Johnson, Wallace
    (tr.) 1975The T’ang Code. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Kitson, Peter
    2013 “Thomas Percy and the forging of Romantic China”. InForging Romantic China: Sino-British Cultural Exchange 1760–1840, ed. byKitson, Peter J., 26–44. New York (NY): Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9781107053809.002
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107053809.002 [Google Scholar]
  14. Knoblock, John; and Jeffrey, Riegel
    (tr.) 2000The Annals of Lü Buwei. Stanford (CA): Stanford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Legge, James
    (tr.) 1861Chinese Classics, I, Confucian Analects, The Great Learing, and the Doctrine of the Mean. London: Trübner & Co.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Liao Ming-chun
    2013 “《论语》’父子互隐’章新证” (lùn yǔ fù zǐ hù yǐn zhāng xīn zhèng – New Interpretation of “Mutual concealment between father and sons” in Analects 13.18). Journal of Hunan University2: 5–13.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Liao, Wen Kwei
    (tr.) 1939The Complete Works of Han Fei Tzu. London: Arthur Probsthain.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Liu, Charles Chao
    2001 “China’s Lawyer System: Dawning upon the World through a Tortuous Process”. Whittier Law Review23: 1037–1054.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Loewe, Michael
    1993Early Chinese Texts: A bibliographical guide. Berkeley (CA): University of California (Institute of East Asian Studies).
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Pines, Yuri
    (tr.) 2017The book of Lord Shang: apologetics of state power in early China. New York (NY): Columbia University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Schwartz, Benjamin
    1985The World of Thought in Ancient China. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Somers, Margaret R.
    1992 “Narrativity, Narrative Identity, and Social Action: Rethinking English Working- Class Formation”. Social Science History16 (4): 591–630. 10.1017/S0145553200016679
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0145553200016679 [Google Scholar]
  23. 1997 “Deconstructing and Reconstructing Class Formation Theory: Narrativity, Relational Analysis, and Social Theory”. InReworking Class, ed. byJohn R. Hall, 73–105. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Somers, Margaret R.; and Gloria D. Gibson
    1994 “Reclaiming the Epistemological ‘Other’: Narrative and the Social Constitution of Identity”. InSocial Theory and the Politics of Identity, ed. ByCraig Calhoun, 37–99. Oxford: Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Staunton, George Leonard
    (tr.) 1810Ta-Tsing-Lue-Lee. London: T. Cadell and W. Davies.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. T’ung-Tsu Ch’ü
    2011Law and Society in Traditional China. Beijing: Commercial Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Turner, Karen
    1993 “War, Punishment, and The Law of Nature in Early Chinese Concepts of The State”. Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies53 (2): 285–324. 10.2307/2719452
    https://doi.org/10.2307/2719452 [Google Scholar]
  28. Wang Erh-min
    1975A Bibliography of Western translation of Chinese Works. Taipei: The Commercial Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Xiong De-mi
    2018 “A critical Study on translation of ancient legal classics” (gǔ dài fǎ lǜ diǎn jí wài yì jíqí pīpíng yán jiū古代法律典籍外译及其批评研究). www.cssn.cn/djch/djch_djchhg/gxwy/201810/t20181019_4719482.shtml
  30. Yuan Hui
    2009 “讲述中国古代法自己的‘故事’” [jiǎng shù zhōng guó gǔ dài fǎ zì jǐ de “gù shì” –Retell the ancient Chinese legal stories on its own]. Legal Information (6): 32–36.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Zhang Jin-fan
    2013 “Ancient China’s Legal Tradition and Legal Thought”. Social Sciences in China34 (2): 134–151. 10.1080/02529203.2013.787226
    https://doi.org/10.1080/02529203.2013.787226 [Google Scholar]
  32. Zhang Jue
    1992韩非子全译 [hán fēi zǐ quán yì – The Complete Modern Chinese Translation of Han Fei Tzu]. Guiyang: Guizhou People’s Publishing House.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Zhang Xi-ping
    2014 “中国文化外译的主体当是国外汉学家” [zhōng guó wén huà wài yì de zhǔ tǐ dāng shì guó wài hàn xué jiā, – The main force of translating Chinese culture is foreign sinologists]. Sino-foreign Cultural Exchanges2: 86–88.
    [Google Scholar]
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error