, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 601–621 | Cite as

World literature in and through translation

  • Yifeng SunEmail author


World literature has continued to draw attention in humanities research. Since the possibility of world literature rests on international circulation, translation has a pivotal role to play. However, in recent years, serious doubt has been cast on the meaningfulness of this role, foregrounding the chronic issue of untranslatability that is seen to undermine the chance of world literature. There is no denying that if the role of cross-cultural communication is played inadequately or unsatisfactorily, the circulation of national literatures is impeded to become world literature. Through the heterogeneity of different context dimensions, cross-cultural interpretations and forms of mediating cultures in various manifestations are brought to the fore about the essential need for further investigation and research. This paper attempts to frontally address the issues raised by scholars working in the field of world literature in relation to renewed challenges to translation and for that matter, Translation Studies. Translation happens at a specific location and time, which in turn govern and determine what happens to and in translation. The quality, or rather acceptability, of translation for the purpose of enabling the circulation of literary texts across national boundaries will be re-examined in connection with world literature, the success of which necessitates cross-cultural transformation as exemplified in inscribing the putative literary value into translation.


Translation World literature International circulation Literary value 



Funding was provided by University of Macau (UM) (Grant No. SRG2018-00120-FAH).


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of English (E21-4066), Faculty of Arts and HumanitiesUniversity of MacauTaipaChina

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