A tradução indireta de literatura chinesa contemporânea para português europeu
: o caso de Mo Yan

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This dissertation is a case study on the indirect translation of contemporary Chinese literature into European Portuguese via English and aims to approach the question of indirect translation which, except for its limited visibility in translation studies, plays an important role especially in the translation of Chinese literature into western “peripheral” languages (Heilbronn, 2000: 14; Casanova, 2004: 20).Our study has as its main objective to verify if indirect translation is necessarily distant from the original text. The investigation is focused on textual analysis around examination of the influence level of intermediate texts on indirect translation, thus looking for answers to the main questions underlying our central objective: what does the intermediate translator do in the chain of indirect translation; what is the reason for the existence of indirect translation and what are its merits and effects.The work begins with the contextualization of the elements under study, namely contemporary Chinese literature and its translation; the Chinese worldview and Chinese culture; the author, the translators and the corpus. The second step is a survey of the corpus consisting in two novels by the Chinese writer Mo Yan, 丰乳肥臀 [Big Breasts and Wide Hips] (1996) and 变 [Change] (2010) as well as their Portuguese and English translations. The data collection is carried out through a parallel comparison between originals and translations, and the results are organized according to the categories they belong to, namely, onomatopoeia and reduplications, non-translation, reduction, addition, translation of forms of address and taboo language, translation of cultural references. The articulation is organized by category, starting with the data analysis and focusing on the specifics of indirect translation for each category. Throughout our investigation, several realities of indirect translation are revealed, among which the merits that contribute to the justification of its existence, while the defects may perhaps illuminate the way for its improvement.
Date of Award17 May 2021
Original languagePortuguese
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
  • University of Lisbon
  • NOVA University Lisbon
SupervisorAlexandra Lopes (Supervisor) & Shanpei Zheng (Supervisor)


  • Mo Yan
  • Howard Goldblatt
  • Indirect translation
  • Translation of contemporary Chinese literature
  • Translation strategies
  • Case study
  • Textual analysis
  • Translator’s agency


  • Doutoramento em Estudos de Tradução

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