Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (AARSs) attach amino acids to their cognate transfer RNAs (tRNAs) in the first reaction of protein synthesis. This essential reaction occurs in all domains of life, and AARSs enforce the specificity for amino acids and tRNAs in translation by use of additional editing mechanisms. They represent a validated large family of target for anti-infective, anti-cancer agents, many of which are approved medicines. Investigations of AARSs have provided the theoretical and experimental framework for their modification to insert non-canonical amino acids into proteins, a rapidly growing subfield of biotechnology and synthetic biology. Since 2000, the AARS field has additionally been transformed by discoveries of novel regulatory roles in eukaryotic physiology, and the characterization of their intricate relationship to human disease, such as mitochondrial, neurological disorders and cancer. Now for the first time being held in China of Asia, we hope the symposium will provide a platform for rekindling relations between the East and the West. It may help to initiate collaborations among people whose focus ranges over a diverse number of questions spanning the physical, chemical, biological and medical sciences in the academic and industrial settings inspired in part by our common interests in AARSs.