Surviving in Violent Conflicts

Chinese Interpreters in the Second Sino-Japanese War 1931–1945

  • Ting Guo

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Languages at War book series (PASLW)

About this book


This book examines the relatively little-known history of interpreting in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1931-45). Chapters within explore how Chinese interpreters were trained and deployed as an important military and political asset by competing domestic and international powers, including the Chinese Nationalist Government (Kuomingtang), the Chinese Communist Party and Japanese forces. Drawing from a wide range of sources, including archives in mainland China and Taiwan, memoirs and interviews with former military interpreters, it discusses how the interpreting profession was affected by shifts of foreign policy and how interpreters’ professional habitus was formed through their training and interaction with other social agents and institutions. By investigating individual interpreters’ career development and border-crossing strategies, it questions the assumption of interpreting as an exclusive profession and highlights interpreters’ active position-taking as a strategy of self-protection, a route to power, or just a chance of a better life.

Ting Guo is Lecturer in the Department of Modern Languages, University of Exeter, UK. A specialist in translation history, she has written widely on the roles of Chinese translators and interpreters in twentieth century China. She has published articles in journals such as Literature CompassTranslation Studies, and Translation Quarterly. 


role of interpreter political power translation Beijing foreign policy social practice Asia Asian history Chinese conflicts history interpret Interpreter Japan Japanese literature military modern history

Authors and affiliations

  • Ting Guo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Modern LanguagesUniversity of ExeterExeterUnited Kingdom

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