Film translation into ethnic minority languages in China: a historical perspective

Haina Jin (2019) Film translation into ethnic minority languages in China: a historical perspective, Perspectives, DOI: 10.1080/0907676X.2019.1600562

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The article analyses the history of translating film into ethnic minority languages in China. Using such sources as official regulations, newspapers, quantitative data, memoirs and oral history, the author examines China’s film translation policies, translation institutions, and modes of translation with respect to minority languages. It will also shed light on the evolution of these trends of film translation into ethnic minority languages in China over time. It provides an overview of major events in the development of the practice of translating films into minority languages in China, from the 1950s to the present day. This overview can be divided into three periods based on the technological developments that shaped these practices: 1950s to 1965, 1965–2009, and 2009 to the present day. The first period is defined by the use of dubbing by major film studios and oral interpretation by mobile projectionists. The second period is defined by centralized production of magnetic dubbing tracks by film translation centres located in the regions where ethnic minorities live. The third period is defined by digital dubbing carried out by a coordinated national network of 11 film translation centres for ethnic minority languages.