Using two plays and their translations as texts, this article explores how heterolingualism is treated in Chinese–English and English–Chinese literary translation in Singapore. It is observed that the ways in which heterolingualism is negotiated between source and target texts are asymmetric between the two translation directions. Specifically, while traces of code-switching tend to be effaced in Chinese–English translation, such traces tend to be increased in the reverse translation direction. By locating this finding within the reception contexts of the original and translated plays, and on the basis of Bakhtin's conceptualisation of linguistic varieties in discourse as social voices, it is hypothesised that the treatment of heterolingualism in literary translation is contingent on the extent to which one language lends itself to code-switching in another language, which is in turn indexical of the relative power of these languages. Textual choices in translation are thus subject to the influence of language ideological factors.