Surviving in Violent Conflicts: Chinese Interpreters in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1931-1945)

Dr Ting Guo is also currently working on a book project on the history of interpreting in international conflicts. In this project, she argues that interpreting history in China has been simplified and idealized to fit the larger cultural discourse of nationalism. The book focuses on interpreters in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1931-1945). By analyzing information collected from a range of sources such as archives, personal interviews and personal memoirs, the project revisits this important and previously unresearched area and explores how different political and military powers (i.e. the Chinese Nationalist Government, the Chinese Communist Party and the Japanese Army) organised and managed their interpreting resources. It employs a sociological approach and questions the effectiveness of the dominant model of professional interpreting by conceptualizing and analyzing interpreting practices during wartime, highlighting individual interpreters’ active positioning and border-crossing when they were situated at the nexus of national and international conflicting power relationships and facing extreme violence in their daily lives. This project contributes to the emerging body of scholarship on translation and conflict in disciplines such as translation studies and cultural studies and fills an important gap in the study of interpreting history. Dr Guo has published articles based on this research in journals such as Translation Quarterly (2012) and Translation Studies (forthcoming).