Skip to main content

Professor Binghan Zheng

Professor in Chinese Translation

Professor in Chinese Translation in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures+44 (0) 191 33 43445
Professor in Chinese Translation in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Associate Fellow in the Institute of Advanced Study 


My research interests lie in translation and interpreting studies (TIS), with particular emphasis on cognitive translation studies, translation process research and neuroscience of translation. My research is interdisciplinary, comprising elements from translation studies, psycholinguistics, and cognitive neuroscience. My first monograph, developed from my PhD research and titled Choice-making in the Process of English-to-Chinese Translation: An Empirical Study (2012), is regarded as a seminal work in translation process research. My recent co-edited book, Empirical Studies of Translation and Interpreting: The Post-structuralist Approach (2021) published by Routledge, showcases some of the latest empirical TIS from a post-structuralist approach, and is characterised by a rejection of essentialist claims and traditional positivist concepts such as equivalence and fidelity, and challenges the stasis of earlier linguistic-based models. I have published a long list of research articles in world leading translation and linguistics journals, and have been rated in some scientometric studies as one of the most prolific authors, with articles published in core and indexed TIS journals (i.e., SSCI and/or A&HCI).


At the heart of my current research are two projects. The first project, “Types of Stress in Translation and the Cognitive Psychology of Translation”, was funded by the National Social Science Fund of China (20BYY014) in 2020. The aim of this project is to explore thestress level of translators from macro, meso and micro perspectives. The macro perspective will be investigated through a critical review and survey concerning the social context of translators, such as the translators’ occupational stress and career crisis brought about by the AI era; the meso perspective will be researched by both survey and interview concerning the psycho-social status of translators, such as the reward and recognition they receive, and the motivations behind their work; and the micro perspectives will be examined through applied cognitive, psychological and physiological methods (i.e., eye-tracking, translog, STAI, GSR, etc.), in order to quantify the translators’ stress posed by time pressure and absence of external support.


The second project, “Timothy Richard and His Translation A Mission to Heaven”, is funded by the Department of Education, Shanxi Province in 2020, under the “100 Talent Plan” on Overseas High-Level Talent. This project examines A Mission to Heaven (1913), the first English version of Journey to the West translated by the Welsh Baptist missionary Timothy Richard (1845-1919) from the sociological, cultural and historical perspectives. A detailed comparative analysis will be conducted between the identified version of Journey to the West (as the source text) and Timothy’s translated book A Mission to Heaven (as the target text).


I have extensive experience collaborating with internal and external scholars, on both research and editorial projects. Over the years I have collaborated intensively with external colleagues Adolfo García (Universidad del Aconcagua), Su Li (Cambridge) and Dong Yanping (Zhejiang University) on a project entitled “Neuro-Cognitive Studies of Translation and Interpreting”, and published collaborative articles in Brain and Cognition, and Target. I am now also working with Han Cao (Xiamen University) on a project entitled Cognitive Inquiries of Interpreting Assessment, which will be the first systematic research on interpreting evaluation from the cognitive perspective using eye-tracking methodology.

Together with Sergey Tyulenev (Durham University) we have edited a special issue of Translation and Interpreting Studies (published by John Benjamins). This issue is the first to attempt to discuss the possibility of developing a comparative branch of Translation Studies. In collaboration with Kobus Marais (UFS) and Sergey Tyulenev, we are now editing a special issue of Translation Studies (published by Routledge). This issue attempts to go beyond the narrow conceptualisation of traditional lingual types of translation, inquiring into, and taking account of, non-lingual types of translation.


At Durham University I have directed the Centre for Intercultural Mediation since 2015, and lead Durham University’s scholarship on translation and intercultural studies through organising high-profile international and national conferences, annual postgraduate colloquia and invited lecture series, developing international networks and expanding emerging research fields. I have received two sources of internal funding (RIS, Durham) to establish the eye-tracking lab, and to purchase and upgrade facilities including three models of Tobii eye-trackers (TX300; Fusion 250 and Pro Glasses 2) and one Empatica E4 Wristband. 


Externally, I chaired the British Chinese Language Teaching Society from 2012 to 2016, and helped develop a global reputation for the Society in the area of International Chinese Education. I am a founding member for the World Interpreter and Translator Training Association (WITTA) and International Association of Translation, Interpreting and Cognition (IATIC), promoting translation education and cognitive translation studies. I have worked as the Deputy Chair of the Universities’ China Committee in London (UCCL) and I am a Member of the Peer Review College for UK Research and Innovation Council, assessing and evaluating research projects within my broad research fields. In 2020, I was awarded the title of Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (HonFCIL), in recognition of my important “contribution to the language learning and research, distinction as a role model and ambassador for linguists, and distinguished service to language professions”.


Before coming to Durham University, I was a PhD student, and then a Lecturer in Chinese Translation at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. In 2014-15, I was a by-fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge University. 

Postgraduate Supervision

I have supervised to completion more than ten PhD students working on a range of topics in translation and interpreting studies, and have an excellent track record of supervising PhDs funded by AHRC Northern-Bridge Scholarship, CSC-Durham Scholarship and Durham Doctoral Scholarship. I have established my research team on Cognitive Translation Studies and built an eye-tracking research lab. I would welcome enquiries from students who wish to pursue PhDs in areas of translation process research, empirical translation/interpreting studies, and cognitive neuroscience of translation/interpreting.

Research interests

  • Translation Process Research
  • Empirical Translation/Interpreting Studies
  • Cognitive Neuroscience of Translation
  • Contemporary Translation Theories
  • Comparative Translation/Interpreting Studies

Esteem Indicators

  • 2021: Review Editor: Frontiers in Psychology (SSCI)
  • 2021: Member of Editorial Board: Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice (SSCI, A&HCI)
  • 2021: Visiting Professor: Dalian University of Technology (2021-24)
  • 2020: Threlford Lecturer: The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL)
  • 2020: Honorary Fellowship: The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL)
  • 2019: Member of Editorial Committee: Translation Quarterly, the Journal of Hong Kong Translation Society
  • 2019: Deputy Chair: Universities’ China Committee in London (2019-21)
  • 2017: Member of Editorial Committee: Journal of Translation Studies
  • 2017: Visiting Professor: Nankai University 
  • 2016: Chair:  Communication and Collaboration Committee, The World Interpreter and Translator Training Association (2016-2021)
  • 2016: Member of Executive Committee: Universities’ China Committee in London (2016- )
  • 2015: Visiting Professor: University of International Business and Economics, China
  • 2014: By-fellow:  Churchill College, Cambridge University (2014-2015)
  • 2014: Visiting Professor:  Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China (2014-2017, 2019-2023)
  • 2014: Research Fellow: Communication University of China (2014-2017)
  • 2014: Keynote Speaker: International Symposium on Comparative & Translation Studies Between English & Chinese,Tsinghua University
  • 2012: Chair: The British Chinese Language Teaching Society (2012-2016)


Authored book

Book review

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

Supervision students