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Durham University

Chinese Studies

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Publication details for Dr Binghan Zheng

2017 (co-authored with Tyulenev, S. & Johnson, P.) 'A Comparative Study of Translation/ Interpreting as a Profession in Russia, China and Spain', Translation and Interpreting Studies 12, pp. 332-354

Author(s) from Durham


In this article, three different cultural and socio-political systems, those of China, Spain, and Russia, are compared in terms of how translation and interpreting are viewed. The principal aim is to propose a tentative model for conducting a synchronic comparative translation and interpreting research study across several regions. Two types of organization have been studied – embassies/consulates and translation bureaus. First, these types of organization routinely commission, use, and assess translations. Second, such organizations are likely to be found in the majority of countries in today’s world (hence, the number of countries to be compared could be increased). The first type, embassies/consulates, provides an ‘external’ view of translation, that is, the view of consumers of translation. The second type, translation agencies, on the other hand, furnishes examples of the ‘internal’ view of translation producers. First, the official requirements for the submission of documents in foreign languages as described on the sites of embassies and consulates are examined. The research questions include: What are the requirements for translating documents in foreign languages? Whose translations are recognized as legitimate? What are the quality assurance mechanisms for the translations? Then the requirements applicants for a job in a translation agency have to fulfill in the three countries are examined. The analysis focused on how translation is perceived and assessed. What is required from translators/interpreters helps us to gauge the status of translation and its level of professionalization in a particular society, while comparing three different societies allows us to compare the degree of professionalization of translation in different countries.