September 2020


Message from the Director

By Prof. Liu Min-hua

Greetings, first time visitors and welcome back long-time supporters and friends! It is my great pleasure to introduce the first issue of the Centre for Translation’s official newsletter. My goal in this newsletter is to disseminate news and ideas coming out of the Centre in order to share what we are doing and to invite and foster collaboration.

Since September 2019, the Centre has been busy at work. We have revamped our website and added a Centre Twitter account to pair with our Facebook page as a way to enhance communication and our international presence. I hope you can check out these sites and add to the discussion. We have also held four Translation Seminars and public talks since February this year – all online and well-attended (with each having over 100 participants, and in one case, over 250) – from all corners of the globe.

We have exciting plans in the works. First, we will continue with the good practices and traditions of the Centre started by our past Centre Directors. For example, the consultancy work we do in the community to help people and promote translation will remain a core element of our efforts. As for what’s new, the Centre will align its vision and future endeavors with the University’s Strategic Plan 2018 – 2028. Our research, seminars and conferences will build on our current strengths and reflect trends in the field including machine-assisted translation, which our Associate Centre Director, Prof. Mark Shuttleworth, specializes in. We also plan to hold our long-standing monthly Translation Seminar Series permanently online, not solely as a response to the current pandemic, but more as a way to reach a wider international audience. In spite of the uncertainties of the future, I hope the Centre for Translation can continue to evolve to meet the needs of Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) and Hong Kong and expand our collaboration with the translation and interpreting scholars of the world. I look forward to your participation and feedback!



Events Go Online!

In view of the unstable social conditions in 2019, followed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, on-campus academic activities at HKBU were suspended for an extended period in the past academic year. The Centre for Translation’s signature monthly Translation Seminar Series was no exception. After a five-month hiatus, the seminars finally resumed in March 2020, but not without changes: they were conducted online for the first time ever. A total of three seminars were held via Zoom, and the turnout was more than encouraging, with attendance triple the usual number. In addition to drawing a larger crowd, the use of technology enabled us to turn our seminar series into a truly global event, with participants from Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North and South America.

Here is a summary of our online events in the academic year 2019/2020:
20/2/2020Public LectureIntroducing Interpreting Studies: Memes ‒ Models ‒ ParadigmsProf. Franz Pöchhacker
(The University of Vienna)
30/3/2020Seminar冷戰下的翻譯:香港與台灣 [Translation during the Cold War: Hong Kong and Taiwan]Prof. Sharon Lai Tzu-yun (賴慈芸)
(National Taiwan Normal University)
30/6/2020SeminarThe Behavioral Economics of Translating World Literature: Translators as Econs, Humans, and QueersProf. Douglas Robinson
30/6/2020SeminarThe Global Shift to Virtual Multilingual Meetings and Remote Simultaneous InterpretationProf. Barry Slaughter Olsen
(Middlebury Institute of International Studies)
Going forward, we will continue to host most of our events online. We endeavour to make our seminar series a monthly highlight for academics and students who engage in translation and interpretation studies, as well as for people interested in the seminar topics.


Our New Website Goes Live!

The Centre for Translation is proud to announce that our new website is now up and running. The newly-launched website features information on ongoing research projects conducted by members of the Centre, an introduction to publications by the Centre and its members, a summary of past activities, announcements about forthcoming events, and much more. Video recordings of our inspiring and thought-provoking Translation Seminars are also archived for translation enthusiasts worldwide. With all the exciting events planned for the academic year ahead, make sure you access often for our latest updates!



Translating Dung Kai-cheung's The History of the Adventures of Viva and Vera

By Dr. Yau Wai-ping

Translating Dung Kai-cheung is a great way of sharing ideas about Hong Kong and its people. Dung is a unique voice in contemporary Chinese writing as well as one of Hong Kong’s most talented novelists. I am particularly drawn to the ways in which his work weaves together history and fiction to create carefully crafted narratives that explore ideas of identity, time and space and turn quotidian moments into visions of hope and possibility. The History of the Adventures of Vivi and Vera is the first of his longer novels to have been translated into English. Set in the city of V (an obvious reference to Hong Kong), it tells the story of a novelist who recounts his family’s history through objects such as a radio, a lathe and a cassette tape recorder. The strand of family history is woven into the fabric of a rich cultural tapestry in a way that captures individuals’ complex relationships with everyday objects as they are continually appropriated in different contexts. Running parallel to this is a rebellion of oppressed fictional characters breaking the yoke of servile obedience laid upon them by the generic conventions of novel-writing. One of these rebels, Vivi, even meets her creator – the novelist – in the real world. Thus fantasy and realism combine in this work to suggest that crossing boundaries is part of our nature, and that nowhere is this more evident than in novel-writing. My aim as a translator is to create an accurate rendition that speaks to the English reader, and I am grateful to the author for the trust he has placed in me, but above all for the opportunity to set this novel on a journey beyond its original language.

About the book:


Dark Matter, Neurons, Nebulae and Translation

By Prof. Mark Shuttleworth

Since arriving at HKBU in September 2018 my research has been developing in three main directions: the pursuit of my interest in Wikipedia translation and metaphor in translation and my on-going work on the second edition of the Dictionary of Translation Studies.

My work on Wikipedia translation is currently centred around a GRF-funded project entitled ‘Understanding Wikipedia’s dark matter: translation, knowledge and point of view’. In this research we refer to translation as Wikipedia’s ‘dark matter’: we know it must be there but it is often difficult to locate. We use a number of approaches to track it down: identifying the rare cases where its presence is documented, comparing extracts from different parallel articles or digging back into the articles’ history to discover the origin of translated text fragments. We plan to perform a detailed investigation of 2-3 multilingual article sets chronicling major, rapidly-developing news stories relating to Russia and including significant pages in Chinese, Russian and English. Assisted by a range of both existing and home-grown digital tools, we will analyse these to see what links exist between translation and the establishing of an article’s point of view.

Finally, from January 2021 I will be extending my research into metaphor in translation via a second GRFsupported project entitled ‘Neurons and nebulae: probing patterns of metaphor in original popular science texts and their translations’. For this project we will analyse a set of Scientific American articles to see how various configurations of metaphorical expressions emphasise specific aspects of the concepts being discussed. Moving on to the translation angle, we will investigate the corresponding metaphor patterns in the translations that appear in various international editions of the periodical. Up to now, analysis of metaphor in translation has focused almost exclusively on isolated expressions, so our approach will hopefully yield a number of interesting new insights.


Change of Centre Directorship

Following Dr. Robert Neather’s seven-year directorship, which enhanced the Centre for Translation’s international visibility and reputation with the organization of some of the most prestigious conferences and symposiums, the helm of the Centre was taken over by Prof. Liu Min-hua, a world-renowned scholar in Interpreting Studies and a professionally qualified conference interpreter, in September 2019. Prof. Liu joined the Department of Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Studies as a full professor in 2015. Building on the solid foundation laid by her predecessors (see table below), Prof. Liu is determined to further strengthen the Centre’s connection with the Hong Kong community, while setting her sights on boosting our presence in the international translation field. She has embarked on a promotional campaign involving social media and online seminars and talks to strengthen the ties with translation experts across the globe and encourage academic collaboration. As a scholar of interpreting, she also aspires to expand the research portfolio of the Centre to cover Interpreting Studies. To advance such an initiative, the Centre is set to hold the Second HKBU International Conference on Interpreting, a proud creation of Prof. Liu and her colleagues, in April 2021.

While the Centre unfolds a new chapter under the leadership of Prof. Liu, the efforts and achievements of previous Directors should not be overlooked.

Former Centre Directors
Prof. Jane C C Lai
Founding Director, 1994 – 2004

Prof. Jane Lai founded the Centre for Translation at HKBU in 1994 after she and Dr. Simon Chau launched the Translation Programme in 1990 under the English Department. The Centre worked in synergy with the Translation Programme and showcased the activities of the translation scholars in the university to the world. She was the Dean of the Arts Faculty (1996-2003), and with the support of the Associate Director Prof. Martha Cheung, the Centre worked closely with the local community and provided translation service to a number of arts projects including poetry festivals, and initiated the first joint staff-student translation project, the 9-volume Oxford Children’s Encyclopedia. The monthly Translation Seminar Series was started in 2001. Prof. Lai is now Professor Emerita of HKBU and Honorary Fellow of the Centre.

Prof. Martha P Y Cheung
Director, 2004 – 2013;
Associate Director, 1997 – 2004

The late Prof. Martha Cheung, appointed as Chair Professor in Translation in 2007, was one of the leading international scholars of Translation Studies. Under her leadership, the Centre further strengthened its ties with overseas institutions and ran the Translation Research Summer School in Hong Kong jointly with the University of Manchester, University College London and the University of Edinburgh during 2009-2013. It was the first time the Summer School was held outside the United Kingdom. During this period, the Centre organized its first regional symposium, apart from the monthly seminars and public lectures by prominent scholars and practitioners in the field.

Dr. Robert J Neather
Director, 2013 – 2019;
Associate Director, 2009 – 2013

Dr. Robert Neather, a scholar specializing in museum translation and Buddhist translation, further promoted the Centre’s visibility by encouraging regional and international conferences and symposiums organized by the Centre’s Research Fellows on a more regular basis. He brought the Centre to the international stage by successfully leading his team in hosting and organizing the 6th International Association of Translation and Intercultural Studies (IATIS) Conference in July 2018. The conference, commissioned by IATIS – one of the largest scholarly associations in Translation Studies, attracted over 300 participants from around the world. Dr. Neather is now Head of the Department of Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Studies, and Research Fellow of the Centre.

Former Centre Associate Directors
Dr. Jessica Yeung, 2004 – 2009
Dr. Yau Wai-ping, 2013 – 2018


History of the Centre

The book series the Centre co-published with The Commercial Press during 19961997. Dr. Simon Chau and Prof. Jane Lai are the authors.

The Centre for Translation dates back to 1994, when it was founded by Prof. Jane Lai to give prominence to translation as an academic discipline and a profession. Such an effort was evidenced by the Centre’s publication of a series of four books on translation pedagogy and criticism with The Commercial Press just two years after the Centre’s establishment. Since then, the Centre has provided support to numerous translation-related research projects conducted by its members, highlighted by “A History of Translation in Hong Kong” (2005-2006) and “Translation Theories in China: From the Earliest Times to the Revolution of 1911” (1999-2004; 2007-2010) by Prof. Martha Cheung and Dr. Ester Leung’s knowledge transfer project “Improving the Medical Interpreting Services in Hong Kong” (2012), which was a pioneering endeavor involving the training of medical interpreters from minority communities in Hong Kong. Another book series “Tongtianta Series on Translation Studies”, co-published with Hunan People’s Publishing House, was also released during 2011-2013. Prominent Chinese scholars in the field of translation were featured in the series.

The booklet the Centre published in 2004 to celebrate its 10th Anniversary.

The Centre has also been delivering quality translation services to meet the ever-growing demand from inside and outside HKBU. A wide range of book publication /translation projects were initiated, including An Oxford Anthology of Contemporary Chinese Drama (Oxford University Press, 1997), and 21 drama play-scripts translated into Cantonese for stage performance (2005, 2006, 2010).

The Centre has strong ties with the local literary circles and has been invited to collaborate in a number of cultural events, such as the Hong Kong International Poetry Festival: Poetry and Translation in 1997 and the Asian Cultural Cooperation Forum “Asian Arts, Culture and Modernity” in 2006. Since 2003, the Centre has provided translation and simultaneous interpreting services for the Children’s Council, an annual project jointly organized by the Hong Kong Committee on Children’s Rights and Against Child Abuse.



2nd HKBU International Conference on Interpreting: Cognitive Approaches

Date: 8-9 April 2021
Call for Papers. Details at
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Translation Seminars

Three online Translation Seminars are planned for September – December 2020:

  • 24 September 2020 (Thur): “Translator Ethics: From Cooperation to Risk and Trust”, by Prof. Anthony Pym (The University of Melbourne)
  • 5 November 2020 (Thur): Prof. Alice Deignan (University of Leeds)
  • 3 December 2020 (Thur): Prof. Brenda Nicodemus (Gallaudet University)
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