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Tuesday, 12 December 2023 12:27

Call for Contributions for an Edited Volume - Translating Chinese Internet Literature: Global Adaptation and Circulation

Publisher: Routledge

Series: Routledge Studies in Chinese Translation

Deadline for abstracts: 15 January 2024

Editors:

• Wenqian Zhang, University of Exeter, UK

• Sui He, Swansea University, UK

Chinese Internet literature (CIL), also known as Chinese online/web/network literature, refers to“Chinese-language writing, either in established literary genres or in innovative literary forms, writtenespecially for publication in an interactive online context and meant to be read on-screen” (Hockx 2015,4). While CIL is commonly equated with Chinese web-based genre fiction known for entertainmentvalue, it encompasses a broader range of genres such as poetry and comic strips, covering realisticthemes prevailing in serious literature (Inwood 2016; Feng 2021). CIL is born-digital, but it differsessentially from ‘electronic literature’ or ‘digital literature’ that originated in the West. While Westerne-literature is “more technology-oriented” (Duan 2018, 670) and usually involves “some sort ofcomputer programming or code” (Hockx 2015, 5–6), CIL is relatively less technologised andexperimental in format. In fact, what makes CIL stand out is its interactive features facilitated byprofessional literary platforms, its underlying profit motive, and mass participation in terms of literarywriting, reading and criticism (Hockx 2015).Over the past three decades, the proliferation of CIL has been fuelled by advancements in internettechnology and formulation of larger social media communities, alongside other key factors such aseconomic growth and the constantly changing ideological and political discourses in and outsidemainland China. One notable landmark in the trajectory of CIL is the implementation of a pay-per-readbusiness model by the literary website Qidian (起点 Starting Points) in 2003 – in this model, Qidiancharges readers for accessing serialised popular novels and their ‘VIP chapters’ (Hockx 2015, 110). Thisstep marks the beginning of the commodification of CIL. It reshapes the literary writing practices andauthor-reader/producer-consumer dynamics in Chinese cyberspace (Schleep 2015, Tian and Adorjan2016). Further developments along this line have enabled CIL to grow into a streamlined industry andmature ecosystem, with a vast number of popular titles being adapted into films, TV/web series, videogames and other types of media products, generating enormous economic value and revenue.

The influence of CIL has travelled across geographical and linguistic borders. Platforms such asWuxiaworld, Webnovel, Chapters and TapRead have made significant contributions to the disseminationof CIL to the global audience. In addition to translations published on authorised literary platforms, fantranslations spread within fan communities form a grey zone for less-regulated consumption of CILaround the world. To lower the cost and shorten the turnaround time of translating CIL, literaryplatforms have shifted their attention to AI-powered translation. For example, Webnovel has integratedLingoCloud (an AI-powered translation extension) into its website. Other practitioners in the industry,such as Funstory.ai Ltd. (推文科技 tuiwen keji), provide the service of “AI-assisted multilingualtranslation and processing, front cover design, booklist creating, book review collecting, chapter-by-chapter performance analysis and localisation” in order to promote online literature overseas(funstory.ai).To date, there has been an extensive body of research on CIL in literary, gender, platform and culturalstudies in a monolingual stance (e.g., Feng 2013; Shao 2016; Ouyang 2018), but only a handful ofscholarly articles delve specifically into its interlingual, intersemiotic and intercultural disseminationon the global stage (e.g., Cao 2021; Chang and Gao 2022; Chen 2023; Li 2021). To bridge this gap, thisvolume will be the first book in English that offers a critical examination of the translation, adaptationand circulation of CIL. As a timely addition to the scholarship on this topic, we aim to provide acontextual background and a framework for navigating the emerging subfield in the literary landscape,approaching its translation and dissemination across national, cultural, medial and linguistic borders.We welcome contributions that explore topics including but not limited to:

o Interdisciplinary attempts for addressing the methodological and theoretical considerations oftranslating CIL (e.g., gender studies, fan studies, literary studies, media studies, cultural studies,marketing studies, digital humanities, human-machine interaction, etc.);

o Theoretical underpinnings in terms of translation studies (e.g., audiovisual translation,multimodality, user-centred translation, collaborative translation, localisation, literarytranslation, etc.);

o Exploring and (re-)defining the terminologies and characteristics associated with the(sub)genres of CIL in light of its interlingual, intersemotic and/or intercultural transmission;and what does CIL mean for how we understand literature and translation;

o Agents involved in the translation, adaptation and dissemination of CIL (e.g., translators,literary websites/platforms, readers, streaming services, governmental bodies, etc.) – either aspractical reflections or research observations;o Social, political and technical infrastructures related to the translation and dissemination of CIL(e.g., state censorship and policies, publishing patterns and models, marketing and promotionalactivities, AI-assisted/machine translation of CIL, etc.);

o The construction of transmedia universe and IPs (e.g., the adaptation of popular literary titlesinto web series, video games, films, manga, animation, etc.);

o Assessment, review and reception of CIL and their translations

To propose a chapter, please submit an abstract (500 words maximum, excluding references) and ashort bio (100 words maximum) to both This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 15January 2024. Please send your email with a subject line in the format of “TransCIL + Author name”.Ideally, abstracts should provide details about the research questions, methodologies, and, if possible,the results


(6) (PDF) Call for Papers | Edited Volume: Translating Chinese Internet Literature: Global Adaptation and Circulation (Routledge, 2025). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/375598118_Call_for_Papers_Edited_Volume_Translating_Chinese_Internet_Literature_Global_Adaptation_and_Circulation_Routledge_2025 [accessed Dec 12 2023].

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