Defining Sillan interpreters in first-millennium East Asian exchanges
New Insights in the History of Interpreting
Interpreting officials are rarely documented in standard histories of imperial China; civilian interpreters are even harder to trace. Surprisingly, however, Japanese monk Ennin’s (794‒864) diary of his China sojourn (838–847) contains thirty-eight references to Sillan interpreters. It is a significant first-hand archive that throws light on Sillan interpreters and interpreting in first-millennium East Asia. Based on a close reading of this diary, I attempt to clarify the idiosyncratic title of “Sillan interpreters”. Using quantitative and qualitative analyses, I outline finer categories of these interpreters, which in turn address questions pertaining to their identities and roles. This chapter demonstrates the value of textual analysis in empirically pursuing the definitions of “interpreter” at a particular place and time.
ISBN of the source publication: 9789027258670
Lung, R. (2016). Defining Sillan interpreters in first-millennium East Asian exchanges. In K. Takeda & J. Baigorri-Jalón (Eds.), New Insights in the History of Interpreting (pp. 1-26). Amsterdam: John Benjamin.