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Research Article |

Paratexts in The Wisdom of Laotse Translated and Edited by Lin Yutang: Types and Functions Investigated

Paratext is of great significance in analyzing translators’ decisions and motivations in intercultural communication. As an outstanding editor-translator-author, Lin Yutang was good at using paratexts in foreign dissemination of traditional Chinese culture, and the extensive paratexts in The Wisdom of Laotse translated and edited by him have left a deep impression on readers. Yet few current studies have comprehensively examined the paratexts in it. This article focuses on the peritext in this book to examine what categories of paratexts Lin Yutang employed in translating Chinese philosophical classics, and how they functioned in contributing to the success of this translation. With a textual close reading and comparison, it is found that Lin mainly employed four types of paratexts: introductions, footnotes, translator’s comments, and various headings or titles. They share similarities in function though used in different contexts. Overall, Lin’s adoption of those paratexts aimed to achieve three intended functions: clarifying textual meaning, bridging cultural gaps, and communicating personal thoughts. The first two functions are indispensable for translating philosophical texts, while the third is optional, not only reflecting Lin’s subjectivity but also helping to construct his cultural identity and make the translation more interesting. Regardless of the specific functions, Lin Yutang’s ultimate goal was to eliminate cultural barriers and promote the acceptance of his translation.

The Wisdom of Laotse, Editor-Translator, Paratexts, Lin Yutang, Dao De Jing

APA Style

Wang, W. (2023). Paratexts in The Wisdom of Laotse Translated and Edited by Lin Yutang: Types and Functions Investigated. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and Translation, 9(4), 138-143.

ACS Style

Wang, W. Paratexts in The Wisdom of Laotse Translated and Edited by Lin Yutang: Types and Functions Investigated. Int. J. Appl. Linguist. Transl. 2023, 9(4), 138-143. doi: 10.11648/j.ijalt.20230904.15

AMA Style

Wang W. Paratexts in The Wisdom of Laotse Translated and Edited by Lin Yutang: Types and Functions Investigated. Int J Appl Linguist Transl. 2023;9(4):138-143. doi: 10.11648/j.ijalt.20230904.15

Copyright © 2023 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

1. 2020 Social Science Fund Project of Jiangxi Province, China: “A Study of Lin Yutang’s Foreign Translation Mode from the Perspective of Translation Ethics”, grant number UID:20YY20
2. 2019 Colleges and Universities Humanities and Social Science Research Project of Jiangxi Province, China:A Study of Lin Yutang’s Foreign Translation Mode under the Perspective of Translation Ethics—Taking Famous Chinese Short Stories and The Importance of Understanding as an example”, grant number UID:YY19218
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