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Photo of Dr Wenqian Zhang

Dr Wenqian Zhang

Lecturer in Chinese and Translation Studies

I obtained my PhD in the fields of Translation Studies and Chinese Studies from the University of Leeds in January 2020, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute (March-August 2020). Prior to joining the University of Exeter in September 2022, I taught on the MA Chinese language programme and the MSc Translation Studies programme at the University of Edinburgh (2020-2022). 

Research interests

Research Interests: 
  • the translator’s brand
  • literary translation
  • sociology of translation
  • contemporary Chinese literature and culture
  • translation and media
  • book history and print culture


Research in Progress:

I'm now co-editing an edited volume on the translation, adaptation and dissemination of Chinese Internet literature (CIL) on the global stage. To date, there has been an extensive body of research on CIL in literary, gender, platform and cultural studies in a monolingual stance, but only a handful of scholarly articles delve specifically into its interlingual, intersemiotic and intercultural dissemination. To bridge this gap, this volume will be the first book in English that offers a critical examination of the translation, adaptation and circulation of CIL. As a timely addition to the scholarship on this topic, we aim to provide a contextual 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. This book will be published within the series Routledge Studies in Chinese Translation


  • Literary Translators’ Brand-Building in Contemporary Chinese-English Translation

My PhD research examines the brand-building of the prominent Chinese-English literary translator Howard Goldblatt in international literary exchanges. Building on it, I’m working on a monograph on Literary Translators’ Brand-Building in Contemporary Chinese-English Translation, which will be published within the series Routledge Studies in Literary Translation


  • Literary Translatorship in Digital Contexts

I’m interested in the sociological and human aspects of literary translators, not only in historical contexts but also the digital contexts. Literary translators have taken on multidimensional but normally overlooked roles, not just as the normally perceived translator who merely performs the task of linguistic transfer. For example, they can act as a headhunter to search for foreign authors and titles, act as a middleman in the commission and acquisition of translation projects, mentor young translators in translation workshops/summer schools, take part in the promotional and publicity campaign (book tours, literary festivals, interviews), have great visibility and influence on social media and even have fan clubs. I’m interested in how literary translator studies has been pushing towards the digital, thereby seeking to generate more dialogue and scholarship both across disciplines, and between academia and industry. I’m now co-editing a special issue on “Literary translatorship in digital contexts”, which will be published in spring 2024 with the journal Translation in Society

Research supervision

I am open to PhD supervision enquiries and discussing research proposals on any relevant subject given my research expertise. I am especially happy to consider working with candidates with interests in the following areas:
  • sociology of translation
  • (literary) translator studies
  • translation and publishing in the digital age
  • Chinese Internet literature in translation, adaptation and dissemination

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