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This paper explores the reasons for the translation boom in the 1990s in mainland China. During this period translated literature flourished in China. Many translations were retranslations of the great classical works of world literature. The major reason for the prospering of retranslations in this period was commercial. After 1978, the year of political opening-up, the monotonous cultural life of the Chinese people was enriched and enthusiasm for reading classical literature reawakened. A surprisingly large readership emerged. Well-established publishers, such as People’s Literature Publishing House and Yilin Publishing House produced many high-quality translations of works included in the world’s literary canons, which fueled and strengthened people’s interest in reading literature. Due to a large market, re-translation and re-publication of foreign masters became a very lucrative business. Some publishers were unqualified for publishing foreign literature and they did not have foreign-language editors. However, in the hope of making a large profit, they began to publish poor-quality retranslations of literary masterworks, even though a canonical translation of the same work had been published by some other publishing house. As a result, the retranslation boom of the 1990s in mainland China became a bedlam.

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