Babette Bernhardt, M.A.
Chinese literature in the German Democratic Republic (GDR)
The relationship between the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the People’s Republic
of China started in 1949 and was based on a broad ideological consensus, political sympathy
and solidarity. An essential part of the cultural relations was the exchange of literature.
Although the literature of China was one of the most important intermediaries of Chinese
culture in former East Germany, only little is known about the function of literature in the
bilateral exchange to the present day. Given the fact that the act of literary translation is
influenced by the political, economic and socio-cultural context, the Chinese literature in East
Germany will be examined using a transdisciplinary approach. The main focus will be the
analysis of the historical framework and its influence on the publication and translation
processes. Special attention will be given to the life and work of the Chinese translators as this
has been almost completely neglected in research so far. As a result, the PhD project aims at
conducting a comprehensive overview of the history of Chinese literature in the GDR. It is
intended to not only contribute to the understanding of the relationship between the GDR and
the PR China, but also to focus on the role of literature and translation in socio-political contexts
in general and their importance in the Sino-East German relationship in particular. Moreover,
aspects of translation politics and culture will be examined using the example of Chinese
translators in order to further complete the picture of literary translators in the GDR.
- Sino-German cultural relations
- translation history
- translation policy
- translation culture
- literary translation
- translation in the GDR
Babette Bernhardt, M.A., has studied translation, transcultural communication and
communication science at the University of Vienna and the University of Leipzig. In 2015 she
graduated with a Master of Arts in Translation with a special focus on English and Chinese
technical translation. During her B.A. studies she participated in an exchange programme with
the Peking University in China and did internships at the Representation of the European
Commission in Vienna and the German Chamber of Commerce in Beijing for several months.
She is working as a freelance translator since 2016. Since March 2017 she is doing her PhD
as a scholarship holder at the University of Hamburg.