Erasing the translators: A history of pirated translation in Taiwan, 1949-1987

Sharon Tzu Yun Lai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In the period of Taiwan's martial law (1949-1987), it was illegal to publish translations penned by translators living in Communist China. Fifty years of Japanese colonial rule (1895-1945) had only recently come to an end; the local population lacked familiarity with Modern Chinese, the new official language. As a result, few local translators were versed in Chinese; thus, many of the translations circulating in Taiwan came via Hong Kong, pirated from versions published in China. In total, some 600 translated titles from China were pirated in Taiwan with the names of at least 380 translators being erased. This paper aims to describe the political and linguistic reasons for this large-scale, decades-long piratic practice in translation, as well as the consequences thereof.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiverse Voices in Translation Studies in East Asia
PublisherPeter Lang AG
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781788740234
ISBN (Print)9781788740241
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Nov 7

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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