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Department of Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Studies


Academic Staff
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NEATHER, Robert J.

Associate Professor

(852) 3411 2309

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8313-9870



  • Associate Professor, Department of Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Studies
  • Department Head, Department of Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Studies (2013-2022)
  • Director, Centre for Translation (2013-2019)
  • United Nations certified translator and editor (Chinese/French into English)
  • Member, IATIS Executive Council




  • Pg. Dip. in Interpreting and Translating (Chinese), University of Bath (1999)
  • Ph.D. in classical Chinese literature, Queens’ College, University of Cambridge
    Thesis: “The Fu Genre in the Mid-Tang: A Study in Generic Change” (1995)
  • B.A. in Chinese (double First Class), Queens’ College, University of Cambridge (1989)


Honours, Awards and Grants


  • GRF grant (2015 – 2019) for project: “Collaborative Practice in Contemporary Buddhist Translation Communities”.
  • GRF grant (2008 – 2011) for project: “Museums, Language and Cross-Cultural Communication: Bilingual/Multilingual Museum Texts and their Production”
  • UN Competitive Examinations for English Language Translators/Précis-writers (passed 2009)
  • UN Competitive Examinations for English Language Editors (passed 2009)


Download/View CV



RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS (representative selection)



I have taught various courses in translation and interpreting since 1999, first at the University of Bath and then at City University of Hong Kong, before joining HKBU in 2007. I also supervise projects at BA, MA and PhD levels. The courses that I have taught at HKBU include the following:



  • Introduction to Translation
  • Principles and Methods of Translation
  • English for Translators I: Grammar, Structure and Style
  • English for Translators II: Written Genres
  • Communication and Translation
  • Reading Chinese Literature in Translation
  • Research Methods for Translation Studies
  • Translation, Museums and Intercultural Representation



  • Bilingual Writing for Creative Industries
  • Methods and Strategies of Translation



  • Essential Readings
  1. Neather, R.J. (2021) "Museums as Translation Zones", in E. Bielsa and D. Kapsaskis (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Globalization, London and New York: Routledge, 306-319.
  2. Neather, R.J. (2020) "Continuity and Change in Chinese Buddhist Discourse on Translation: Conceptions of Translation in Modern Buddhist Translator Guidelines", Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/1369801X.2020.1854101
  3. Neather, R.J. (2019) “Argumentation and Generic Change in the Mid-Tang Fu: Li Guan’s (766-794) ‘Fu on Suffering the Pitiless Rains’ and the Role of the Shelun Genre”, in N.M. Williams (ed), The Fu Genre of Imperial China: Studies in the Rhapsodic Imagination, Leeds: Arc Humanities Press, and Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 141-168.
  4. Neather, R.J. (2018) “Museums, Material Culture, and Cultural Representations”, in Sue-Ann Harding and Ovidi Carbonell Cortés (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Culture, London and New York: Routledge, 361-378.
  5. Neather, R.J. (2014) “Visual Paratexts in Literary Translation: Intersemiotic Issues in the Translation of Classical Chinese Literature”, in Sandra Bermann and Catherine Porter (eds), A Companion to Translation Studies, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 504-515.
  6. Neather, R.J. (2012) “‘Non-Expert’ Translators in a Professional Community: Identity, Anxiety and Perceptions of Translator Expertise in the Chinese Museum Community”, The Translator 18 (2012), 245-268.
  7. Neather, R.J. (2012) “Intertextuality, Translation and the Semiotics of Museum Presentation: The Case of Bilingual Texts in Chinese Museums”, Semiotica 192 (2012), 197-218.
  8. Neather, R.J. (2009) “Translation in a ‘Non-Translation’ Community: Practices, Ideologies and Conceptualizations of Translation in the PRC Museum Discourse Community”, Translation Quarterly 51&52 (December 2009), 145-176.
  9. Neather, R.J. (2008) “Translating Tea: On the Semiotics of Interlingual Practice in the Hong Kong Museum of Tea Ware”, META: Translators’ Journal 53.1, 218-240.
  10. Neather, R.J. (2003), “The Translation of Generic Designations: The Case of the Fu Genre”, Translation Quarterly 30,1-26.

Research Interests


My research incorporates a strong interest in translation in intersemiotic environments and has focused particularly on the Chinese museum context. I have explored various issues in this area, including verbal/visual interactions in translation and the effects that such interactions have on translation strategy in the museum space; intertextuality in the construction of bilingual museum narratives; and issues of expertise and community identity in the collaborative production of translations, specifically in the Hong Kong/Macau/Guangzhou area. As a next step forward, I hope to move my research into the area of visitor studies, an aspect that has previously seldom been considered in the bilingual or translation context.


A second area of interest is Buddhist translation. After involvement as a consultant in a monastic translation project, I started exploring translation in contemporary Buddhist volunteer translator communities. I am interested in issues such as how the members of such communities interact in producing finalized translation output, questions of authority and hierarchy in community structure, and how democratizing mechanisms foster inclusiveness among novice members. I am also interested in exploring the more theoretical implications of these communities, particularly how they can contribute to the theorization of Communities of Practice (CoP).


Research Specializations


  • Translation in museum and heritage sites
  • Collaborative translation and translation communities
  • Buddhist translation

Professional Translation Work


A wide variety of freelance work undertaken (from 1999) for a variety of clients. Numerous major freelance assignments undertaken for the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG).


Published Translations (selection)


  • Neather, R.J. (co-translator and editor) (2008), Dreaming of a Northern Land (translations of selected essays of Wang Chonglü, with editor/translator’s preface). Shenyang: Liaoning Educational Press, in association with Bertelsmann, Berlin, 164 pages.
  • Poon, Ka-Man, and R.J. Neather (co-translators) (2007), “The Romance of the Rib”. In J. Minford, B. Holton and A. Chan, eds., Islands and Continents: Short Stories by PK Leung. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, pp. 11-19.
  • Poon, Ka-Man, and R.J. Neather (co-translators) (2004), “Kamdu Tea Restaurant”, story by Chan Koon Chung. In The Literary Review (AHCI listed), Summer 2004, vol. 47, issue 4, pp. 138-153.
  • Neather, R.J. (2003), “Cultural Exchange and the Quest for Immortality: the Heavenly Horses of the West and the Divine Dragon of China”, by Huo Wei, in Ex/Change, February 2003, pp. 9-13. (Translation of an unpublished Chinese original).
  • Neather, R.J. (2002), “Yu Qian (Before The Rain)”, by He Qifang. In Zhongguo Fanyi, 23(4), July 2002, pp 95-96. (Translation, with Chinese annotation). Republished in Yang Ping 楊平(ed), Mingzuo Jingyi: Han Yi Ying XuanCui 名作精譯 –《中國翻譯》漢譯英選萃, Qingdao: Qingdao Chubanshe, 2003, pp.362-368.