2014 Beijing Book Fair: English-language Guide to Literary Events

August 25 Update: Now Complete & Online — Full Official BIBF Schedule of Literary Events in English (Aug 27-31) Or, if you want it in Chinese, click 活动手册

Sino-Russia Literary Forum (9:00 -17:00, Aug 28, 29)

All day event featuring various Russian and Chinese writers making presentations and engaging in round-table discussions. Russian writers: Irina Barmetova, Ivor Volgin,Sergey Esin, Olga Slavnikova, Igor Egorov, Alexander Girgorenko, Alexander Arhangelski, Valeria Putsovaya,Maxin Amelin, Aleksey Varlamov. Chinese writers: He Jianming, Liang Hongying, Zhaomei, Qiu Huadong, Li Er, Qiao Ye, Zhang Qinghua, Qiao Liang Wang Hongjia.

Yi Poet Jidi Majia (吉狄马加) Launches Poetry Book 《我,雪豹》

  • Time/venue: 14:30-15:30, August 29 at the Foreign Language and Teaching Research Press booth (W1.A35), in Shunyi New Hall of the China International Exhibition Center (顺义新国展 W1.A35 外研社数字展台)

Beijing Int’l Book Fair Evening Literary Events (Aug 28-Sep 1)

  • Chinese authors Xu Zechen and Wang Gang, Russian poet Maxim Amelia, Chinese and Swedish illustrators, and more . See details here. 

Qingdao to Host Translation Conference in Run-up to Beijing Int’l Book Fair

  • Sponsored by China Publishing Group. Aug 24-25. Details here.

Turkey-related Events at the Fair

  • Turkey is the “Country of Honor.” The Turkey pavilion will display more than 3,000 books, and sponsor a series of seminars and events featuring Turkish writers such as novelist Mario Levi, Orhan Kemal’s Chinese translator, and more. Click here for the schedule of events.

Follow the Fair in Chinese on Weibo

Awards at the Fair [Read more...]

Ethnic ChinaLit Quote of the Week: Wolfgang Kubin Critiques German Readers of Chinese Literature

不少欧洲汉学家把中国当代文学看成社会资料。通过作品他们希望能多了解中国的情况。原来我也是这么一个汉学家。到了2000年前后我的研究方式发生了很大的变化。从那个时候我多写作,开始出版我的文学著作,经常跟作家见面谈谈文学的本身。因此我十年来越来越多地从美学,而少从社会来看中国当代文学的价值。不过,德语国家的读者恐怕他们还是老样子。德国读者大部分是女的。她们想多了解中国妇女的情况。因此所谓的美女作家在德国非常成功。

(German Sinologist Wolfgang Kubin in Aug 2014 interview with 文化广场)

 

 

“Daur Epic Narratives”: New Approach Aims to Capture Original Daur Flavor

达斡尔英雄叙事A few years ago, oral epics of non-Han peoples in China — if ever published — tended to be presented in Chinese (translation). To the uninitiated, this implied that these tales existed just in Chinese.

More recently, bilingual versions have occasionally appeared, i.e., with the original language printed in IPA or a script familiar only to scholars, and a fluent translation provided in Chinese.

Daur Epic Narratives (达斡尔英雄叙事) goes a step further by providing the full tale in Daur (written in Latin letters), a word-by-word literal translation in Chinese characters on the facing page, and then a full, fluent translation of the entire text in modern Chinese. This should allow the reader — be s/he Daur or anyone fluent in written Chinese — to get a better feeling of how the original was told, and how Daur idioms differ from Chinese.

Daur is a Mongolic language. According to Wikipedia (Daur), during the Qing Dynasty, it was written with the Manchu alphabet, but currently “There is no written standard in use, although a Pinyin-based orthography has been devised; instead the Daur make use of Mongolian or Chinese, as most speakers know these languages as well.”

Aug 21 Update: Qingdao to Host Translation Conference in Run-up to Beijing Int’l Book Fair

Qingdao will be the venue for an international translation conference (“中国出版翻译恳谈会”) during Aug 24-25, 2014. It is sponsored by the state-run China Publishing Group (中国出版集团公司).  The press release positions the event as “affiliated” with the Beijing Int’l Book Fair (“BIBF 的分会场和重要活动之一”).

The organizers have provided me with an impressive list of 26 international Sinologists and translators who will be taking part from Austria, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and the U.S. They include German Sinologist Wolfgang Kubin; Ezra Vogel (author, Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China); Nicoletta Pesaro (Italian translator of Ma Jian and Yu Hua); Turkey’s Giray Fidan (author, Ottoman Firearms and Ottomans in China during the Kanuni Era); France’s Gilles Cabrero (co-translator, Le Périple de Xiang); and Sabaree Mitra of India (Chinese Women Writers and Gender Discourse).

Forum topics include:

International Transmission of Chinese Culture

Current and Future Status of Contemporary Chinese literary Translation

  • Speakers include Bi Feiyu, author of Three Sisters (winner, Man Asian Literary Prize)

Integrating Contemporary Chinese Literature in the World at Large 

Forum: Translation & International Transmission of Chinese Culture in the Current Digitalized Environment 

  • Speakers include literary agent Toby Eady

Translators and publishing professionals based in China are welcome to attend. For more information, contact: 2603146320@qq.com

Beijing Int’l Book Fair Evening Literary Events (Aug 28-Sep 1)

Here’s the Chinese page for this info: 文学之夜 . We can be reasonably (!) certain there will be simultaneous interpretation . . .

August 28 (Thursday)

Russian novelist Olga Slavnikova and Chinese novelist Wang Gang (English) speak about the stories behind their novels.

  • Time/Venue: 19:00-20:00, Dongcheng Qu, Meishu Guan Dong Jie 22 Hao (北京东城区美术馆东街 22 号)

August 29 (Friday)

With Russian poet Maxim Amelia

  • Time/Venue: 19:00-20:00, Dongcheng Qu, Meishu Guan Dong Jie 22 Hao (北京东城区美术馆东街 22 号)

Time/Venue: 19:30, German Consulate School, Chaoyang Qu, Liangma Qiao Lu Jia 49 Hao (德国领事馆学校朝阳区亮马桥路甲 49 号)

  • With German author David Wagner

August 30 (Saturday) 

Panel on children’s literature with Swedish author and illustrator Per Gustavsson, Chinese illustrator Xiong Liang (熊亮) and writer Yi Aiwa (伊爱娃)

  • Time/Venue: 19:00-20:30, Dongcheng Qu, Meishu Guan Dong Jie 22 Hao (北京东城区美术馆东街 22 号)

September 1 (Sunday)

Author Xu Zechen (Running Through Beijing), translator Huang Liaoyu (黄燎宇) and German author David Wagner talk about translating fiction.

  • Time/Venue: 19:00-20:30,  Dongcheng Qu, Meishu Guan Dong Jie 22 Hao (北京东城区美术馆东街 22 号)

Tungusic Twilight: Languages of Reindeer-herding Evenki and China’s Last Dynasty Threatened with Extinction

The mid-term outlook for the five main Tungusic tongues of the People’s Republic — Manchu, Xibe, Evenki, Elunchun and Hezhen — is frankly bleak, at least insofar as classifying as “living languages.” Such is the impression one gets from China’s linguistic experts who spoke at the “Academic Conference: Tungusic Language & Culture Under Threat,” held on July 28, 2014, at Heilongjiang University.

This post summarizes a Chinese-language news report on the conference published by Chinese Social Sciences Today (抢救临危语言). I’ve also added comments of my own, and done my best to separate the two.

Granted, according to a 2010 census, there are reportedly more than ten million people — over 95 percent Manchu — who claim to belong to one of these five ethnicities, living mainly in Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Jilin, Beijing, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang (Xibe speakers). But only a tiny fraction of them speak the language of their people fluently. For instance, according to fairly recent field research noted at the conference, there are less than 100 native speakers of Manchu in Heilongjiang villages. A study of Hezhen people who live in settlements with other members of their ethnicity found that even there, less than one percent classify as speakers of the language, and they too are over 60. [Read more...]

Literary Translation: The Collaborative Approach

Co-translated by Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-chun Lin

Co-translated by Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-chun Lin

In the Aug 2014 edition of The Art of Empathy: Celebrating Literature in Translation, Chinese-to-literary translators Sylvia Li-chun Lin (native Chinese speaker) and Howard Goldblatt (native English speaker) reveal how they work together:

Sylvia does the first draft, placing emphasis more on conveying the meaning of the original text than on finding the exact words/phrases in the translation. The rough quality of the text, necessitated by speed, is easily compensated for by first-impression impulses that capture meaning beyond the words. Howard takes over then, reading the first draft against the original, marking spots with different interpretations, possible translations, or ambiguities, and checking reference material where necessary.

This is fascinating stuff, and I recommend you read the entire text (see below for the link).

But when both translators are highly fluent in the source language, that doesn’t mean that the first draft is necessarily carried out just by the native speaker of the source text.

For example, here is how Jane Weizhen Pan (native Chinese speaker) and Martin

Co-translated by Martin Merz and Jane Weizhen Pan

Co-translated by Martin Merz and Jane Weizhen Pan

Merz (native English speaker) translated Wang Gang’s English (see full translator Q & A):

Each of us would translate alternate parts of each chapter and swop our raw drafts. Our raw drafts of these parts would be reviewed, changed (sometimes ruthlessly) by the other party. Every day, before working on a new draft or reviewing Martin’s draft, I would read the revised translation done the day before and then the entire chapter again.

Since I was in Australia and he in Hong Kong, we went back and forth over these changes and

commented on each other’s translation over Skype. We then left it to “brew” while working on the other parts of the chapter. The “revised version” would be reviewed again once we finished translating that entire chapter. We reviewed our translation of the entire book twice before sending to the editor.

The Art of Empathy: Celebrating Literature in Translation is published by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington D.C. For the full text of The Collaborative Approach, click here, and look for The Collaborative Approach in the Contents Page.

Tungusic Languages Under Threat: Statistics, Research Projects, Strategies for Protection

Following a conference on the dire straits of Tungusic languages in China — virtually all of which are under threat — four very informative articles have just appeared on the Institute of Ethnic Literature site.  Since they are in Chinese, I hope to summarize the best parts later, but for now, I site some basic statistics here, and follow with a brief description of the articles and list their URLs.

Tungusic languages in China: Hezhen, Evenki, Elunchun (Oroqen), Manchu and Xibe

Distribution: Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Jilin, Beijing, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang

Populations (2010 census): 10.6 million total, of which 10,387,958 Manchu; 190,481 Xibe; 30,875 Evenki; 8,679 Elunchun; and 5,354 Hezhen

Used as mother tongue: 30,000 persons

大经费投入培养后背高层次人才(赵阿平)

  • Proposals for measures such as bilingual education and establishment of a “linguistic and cultural eco-protection zone” for threatened Tungusic tongues.

不放过田野记忆中任何一个原始符号(朝克)

探访满语“活化石”:黑龙江三家子村考察记(曾红、郝欣)

  • History of field research in San Jia Village since the 1960s, famous for its population of native — but aging — Manchu speakers.

抢救临危语言就是抢救人类文化(郝欣、曾红)

  • Details of discussion at the conference by experts in various Tungusic languages, including up-to-date assessments of the state of each of the major languages, and proposals on how to address the threat of extinction.

Review: “The Emperor Far Away: Travels at the Edge of China”

The Emperor Far AwayIn Antidote to Illusion, Larry Rohter reviews David Eimer’s newly published The Emperor Far Away: Travels at the Edge of China:

“We say China is a country vast in territory, rich in resources and large in population,” Mao Zedong said in a 1956 speech buried deep in the fifth volume of his selected works but cited by Mr. Eimer as a likely explanation for Chinese expansionism. “As a matter of fact, it is the Han nationality whose population is large and the minority nationalities whose territory is vast and whose resources are rich.”

Turkey-related Events at Beijing Int’l Book Fair (Aug 27-31)

Turkey is the “Country of Honor” at the upcoming Beijing Int’l Book Fair (Aug 27-31), and with the help of the BIBF’s Mr. Xiao Guanglu and Ms. Tütengül Küçüker at Istanbul’s Kalem Agency, I now have a full (draft) schedule of related events.

Attention:

Details such as time, venue and specific participants may change!

At the Turkish Pavilion (Hall W2)

  • Frequent “mini-concerts” of Turkish music during entire book fair
  • All-day Exhibitions: “Ottoman Empire through Chinese Eyes” (photos); “Cultural destinations in Turkey” (3D photos); “Domes” (holograms); and illustrations by Turkish artists; and Anatolian folk toys
  • 3,000 books on display. Based on my own research, only a few dozen will be in Chinese, mind you. If translators met their deadlines, they could include a handful of contemporary novels newly rendered in Chinese such as The Lost Word by Oya Boydar, who spent several years in exile in Germany, and touches here on the sensitive topic of the Kurdish struggle for a separate homeland; Istanbul Was a Fairy Tale, by Mario Levi, descendant of a family of Sephardic Jews; two novels by Hande Altaylı (Maraz, and Aska Şeytan Karışır); Reha Çamuroğlu (Bir Anlık Gecikme); Çiler Ilhan (Sürgün); Emrah Polat (Köpek Adamlar); Ahmet Ümit (Istanbul Hatırası); Ece Vahapoğlu (Öteki); and — hopefully — what is widely regarded as the most outstanding Turkish novel of the 20th century, The Time Regulation Institute by Ahmet Tanpınar. For a fuller list of Turkish novels already or soon to be out in Chinese, including works by Elif Şafak, Orhan Pamuk, Canan Tan and Ayşe Kulin, see Translation Crunch.

Workshops: Traditional Turkish Arts (E1 BO2, all day)

  • Calligraphy, Marbling and Illumination

Turkey’s Translation & Publication Grant Program  [Read more...]