Chinese Ideas About Translating from (Approximately) the Fall of Rome to the Coolidge Administration


As Liang Qichao observed in 1920, the first “age of translation” in China occurred with the introduction of Buddhism in the third and fourth centuries of our era; the next such “age” had to wait until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. What did translation mean to Chinese during the long interval between the two “ages”? What was its value, how and by whom was it performed? What are the consequences of living in an “age of translation,” as opposed to an age when this art is deemed secondary or insignificant?