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Translation as Innovation in Literature: the case of a Sanskrit Buddhist poem translated into Chinese

Laura Lettere
Published Online: 2015-06-04 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2015-0008


As many other religions have done, Buddhism developed and evolved over the centuries in order to fulfil social needs and to adapt to different cultural backgrounds. Following the commercial routes in Central Asia, from around the second century BCE, Buddhist texts first arrived in China, and consequently a new compelling need to translate them for the use of new followers developed. This paper attempts to describe the many difficulties faced by the first Buddhist translators through the analysis of the translation of a particular poem, the Buddhacarita. The case study aims at pointing out how this translation process involved linguistic, religious and cultural issues.

Keywords: history of linguistic thought; history of translation; ancient translation theories


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About the article

Received: 2015-02-19

Accepted: 2015-03-16

Published Online: 2015-06-04

Citation Information: Open Linguistics, Volume 1, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-9969, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2015-0008.

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© 2015 Laura Lettere. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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