China and Chinese
  • ISSN 1384-6647
  • E-ISSN: 1569-982X
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This article analyzes evidence of translating and interpreting activities (indiscriminately referred to as yi (譯), which also denotes translators or interpreters in classical Chinese) in first-century China between the Latter Han (25–220 AD) Chinese administration and non-Han Chinese minority tribes along the then Southwestern frontier (modern Yunnan and Sichuan provinces). The importance of this archival record to the historical study of translation and interpreting is two-fold. First, it contains crucial details pertinent to translating and interpreting activities in China in antiquity. Second, it documents concepts of yi synchronically, as perceived by three main participants in the interpreting events: the emperor, the frontier inspector, and the frontier clerk cum interpreter. The presentation of what they actually wrote, said, and did in the first-century interpreting setting in China, with close reference to standard histories, objectively depicts the meanings of yi as perceived by these figures at the time.


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