Centre for Translation and Interpreting Studies

Thick Translation of Chin Ping Mei by David Roy: Type, Function and Features


  • 4.30pm-6.00pm, Thursday 8 February 2018
  • Physics Building, Lecture Theatre B, University of Leicester
  • Contact: Dr Anna Milsom
  • Speaker: Professor Xiuying Wen (Heriot-Watt University)

About the event

Chin Ping Mei - The Plum in the Golden Vase or The Golden Lotus - is a Chinese novel composed in vernacular Chinese during the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

The novel was ranked as a milestone in the history of Chinese literature by critics such as the translator David Tod Roy, and it is also taken as an encyclopaedia of Chinese politics, economy, religion, society, history, art, customs, etc.

It began to draw Western scholars’ attention at the beginning of the 20th century, and so far, four versions have been produced, two abridged versions and two full versions. The first full version was done by Clement Egerton with the help of the celebrated Chinese novelist Lao She in 1939. The second full version (five volumes, 3500 pages) was done by David Tod Roy (Professor Emeritus in Chinese Literature, East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago) from 1993 to 2013.

The study, carried out from the perspective of thick translation (or thick contextualization), which was advanced by K. A. Appiah and developed by Theo Hermans, analyses the types, functions and features of thick translation in Roy’s version through textual analysis, in the hope of finding out the practical value and theoretical significance of thick translation in literary classics translation.


Professor Xiuying Wen is Deputy Head of School of Humanities, Tianjin University of Finance & Economics and Co-director of Scottish Confucius Institute for Business and Communication at Heriot-Watt University. Executive Director of Tianjin Translators Association and Deputy Secretary-General of Tianjin International Studies Association. Professor of translation studies, Professor Wen’s research focuses on literary translation criticism, and English translation of Chinese literary classics. He is the author of more than 40 journal papers and 1 monograph; chief-editor of 7 and editor of 10 textbooks; and translator of 5 books and more than 30 essays.

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