Translation has a long history in China. Down the centuries translators, interpreters, Buddhist monks, Jesuit priests, Protestant missionaries, writers, historians, linguists, and even ministers and emperors have all written about translation, and from an amazing array of perspectives. Such an exciting diversity of views, reflections and theoretical thinking about the art and business of translating is now brought together in a two-volume anthology. The first volume covers a time-frame from roughly the 5th century BCE to the twelfth century CE. It deals with translation in the civil and government context, and with the monumental project of Buddhist sutra translation. The second volume spans the 13th century CE to the Revolution of 1911, which brought an end to feudal China. It deals with the transmission of Western learning to China - a translation venture that changed the epistemological horizon and even the mindset of Chinese people.
Comprising over 250 passages, most of which are translated into English for the first time here, the anthology is the first major source book to appear in English. It carries valuable primary material, allowing access into the minds of translators working in a time and space markedly different from ours, and in ways foreign or even inconceivable to us. The topics these writers discussed are familiar. But rather than a comfortable trip on well-trodden ground, the anthology invites us on an exciting journey of the imagination.