Soft power from Ningxia to Cairo: Chinese-to-Arabic translation of modern and contemporary literature
Literary translation is a major part of China’s present soft power push. Substantial attention and resources are for the first time directed to the translation of Chinese literature into Arabic, in line with the geopolitical agenda of China’s Going Global ambitions and the Belt and Road Initiative. This article provides a historical overview of Chinese-to-Arabic translation of modern and contemporary literature, with a focus on the growth and transformation of translation in this language pairing over the last decade. However, examination the networks that incentivize and produce such translation show that the crucial element of soft power in this relationship is the performance of cultural exchange in service of a PRC self-representation as benevolent and harmonious power, rather than any substantive cultural or literary interaction via translated texts.