Presenting China’s image through the translation of comments: a case study of the WeChat subscription account of Reference News

Weixin Zeng, Dechao Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Facing the challenges and opportunities brought by the launch of the WeChat subscription account in 2012, Reference News (hereafter RN), a Chinese official news agency publishing selected translated foreign news, has responded quickly, becoming one of the most successful WeChat accounts. Among the various contents produced by RN’s WeChat account, there is a type of news report that quotes social media comments posted by foreign netizens on China-related topics. This study investigates the translation of those comments. Using a dataset containing news articles quoting translated comments published between 1 August 2019 and 31 July 2020, we analysed the selection of news topics and comments and investigated the translated comments by drawing on appraisal theory (Martin & White, 2005) and framing strategies (Baker, 2006). It was found that RN tends to cover more soft news and quotes positive comments towards China. These selected comments were then rendered and reframed to play up the pro-China stance in the original and presented to the readers with screenshots of their source texts. In a highly marketized, digitalised, and competitive social media context, these strategies have facilitated RN’s efforts to represent China’s positive global image among foreign netizens to their WeChat account followers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPerspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2021

Cite this