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Partner Event: Is Dao Translatable?

Partner events
Wednesday 1 May 2024, 14:00 - 16:00
Michael Sadler Building, LG10

The East Asian Translation Research satellite launches on 1 May with a research talk from Professor XIONG Wei, visiting from Wuhan University in China.


“Dao” is the core concept of traditional Chinese thought. The original meaning of “Dao” is the “way” or “path” taken by people, and when extended it also means “rule”, “law”, “ontology”, “origin”, etc. Confucianism, Taoism and Chan Buddhism together constitute the overall structure of traditional Chinese thought, but they have very different interpretations of “Dao”. The Confucian Dao is the Way of Society; the Taoist Dao, the Way of nature; the Chan’s Dao, the Way of the mind. The extensive and elusive “Dao” creates a huge obstacle for translation.

This presentation will first discuss the different connotations of “Dao” in Confucianism, Taoism and Chan Buddhism, then analyze some examples of “Dao” in various English translations of Chinese classics, and then explore the intercultural understanding and interpretation of “Dao”. Hopefully this presentation may help participants reconsider the issue of the translation of “Dao”, and on this basis, have a further understanding in the translation of Chinese culture.

Speaker Bio

XIONG Wei is Professor of Translation Studies and chair of the Department of Translation and Interpreting Studies at Wuhan University in China. He is also a member of the International Discourse Research Committee of the Translators Association of China (TAC), standing council member of the Translators Association of Hubei and vice-president of the Translators Association of Wuhan. He has been granted Chinese Academic Translation Project of the National Social Science Foundation two times (2018, 2023). His key translations include On the Wisdom of China (American Academic Press, 2021). His research interests focus on critical translation studies, language and intercultural communication, and translation of Chinese traditional philosophy.