Her Life

Prof Martha Pui-yiu Cheung was born on 17th July, 1953 in Hong Kong. She attended school at Sacred Heart Canossian College and read English Literature and Language at the University of Hong Kong. She had a successful but brief career in public relations before being awarded in 1975 both a Swire Scholarship and a University Higher Degree Studentship for her MPhil study at the University of Hong Kong, which focused on the writings of John Fowles. During her undergraduate and postgraduate years, she was widely recognized for her academic talents, and shone in all aspects of university life. She acted as student representative, participated in fundraising for the University, and attained major achievements in international university sports events representing her University and Hong Kong. Her outstanding academic abilities impressed everyone who worked with her. She was confirmed the position of Lecturer (equivalent to the grade of Assistant Professor) in 1978 and taught in the Department of English Studies and Comparative Literature of her Alma Mater. In 1980 she was awarded a Commonwealth Academic Staff Scholarship to undertake PhD studies in English Literature at the University of Kent at Canterbury, researching into the idea of the Reader of Modern Literature and the works of William Golding. She continued teaching at the University of Hong Kong until 1991, when she was appointed Lecturer by the Department of Translation of The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

In 1995 she moved to the Translation Programme of Hong Kong Baptist University and was appointed Associate Professor in 1996, Associate Director of the Centre for Translation in 1997, Professor in 1998, Head of the Translation Programme in 2003, Director of the Centre for Translation in 2004, and Chair Professor in Translation in 2007. She also served as Programme Director of the MA in Translation and Bilingual Communication from 2007 to 2008, and was University Associate Vice-President from 2008 to 2010.

Prof Martha Cheung also devoted much valuable service to the professional community of Translation Studies outside the University. She served on the editorial boards of a number of prestigious international journals and was Visiting Professor and PhD Supervisor at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, PRC, Visiting Professor at Sichuan International Studies University and the School of Interpreting and Translation Studies of the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, and Distinguished Visiting Professor and Honorary Director of the Centre for the Study of Translation and Globalization, Faculty of Foreign Languages for Economics and Trade, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics. She was Nida Professor of the 2011 Nida School for Translation Studies, and CETRA Professor of the 2009 Doctoral Summer School at the Centre for Translation Studies of The Catholic University of Leuven.

Prof Cheung’s translations from Chinese Literature into English are highly esteemed. They include Han Shaogong’s Homecoming? (1992), Liu Sola’s Blue Sky Green Sea (1993), and numerous works of Hong Kong poets such as Leung Ping Kwan. She co-edited (with Jane C.C. Lai) An Oxford Anthology of Contemporary Chinese Drama (1997) and co-translated (also with Jane C.C. Lai) 100 Excerpts from Zen Buddhist Texts (1997). She was Editor-in-Chief (Chinese translation) of the Oxford Children’s Encyclopedia (9 volumes, 2082 entries, 1998), and Editor-in-Chief (English translation) of An Illustrated Chinese Materia Medica in Hong Kong (506 entries, 2004). She also edited Hong Kong Collage: Contemporary Stories and Writing (1998) and An Anthology of Chinese Discourse on Translation, Volume 1: From Earliest Times to the Buddhist Project (2006).

Prof Cheung was one of the leading international scholars of Translation Studies. Her main research interests included discourse and metadiscourse of translation, the relation between translation theory and the practice of translation, and the changing meanings of the concept of “translation” in different translation traditions. Her groundbreaking work An Anthology of Chinese Discourse on Translation, Volume 1: From Earliest Times to the Buddhist Project (St Jerome Publishing, 2006) is regarded as a key contribution in this regard. She also edited a Special Issue of The Translator on “Chinese Discourses on Translation. Positions and Perspectives” (2009). Her continuous applications of Chinese philosophical concepts such as “pushing hands” (2012) and “jihe” (forthcoming in the published form) have inspired many Chinese and international scholars of Translation Studies.