Footnote Factoids: How Many Needed to Russify Mo Yan?

In 译莫言作品看中国文学, Mo Yan’s principal Russian translator, Igor Aleksandrovich Egorov (Игорь Aлександрович Егоров), reports that his translation of 丰乳肥臀 (Большая грудь, широкий зад, Big Breasts and Wide Hips) has been a best-seller since 2013.

Egorov advocates amply footnoting Mo Yan’s text, because the overwhelming majority of Russian readers are almost totally unfamiliar with either ancient or post-1949 Chinese culture. His count for three novels he has translated:

  • 300+: Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out (生死疲劳, soon to be published)
  • 260:   Большая грудь, широкий зад (丰乳肥臀, Big Breasts and Wide Hips)
  • 200+: Страна вина (酒国, The Republic of Wine)

To learn about Chinese translations of Americana and footnotes, see Stephanie Meyer Red Hot in China: Could it Be the Footnotes? Or take a look here at Footnotes, where Chinese-to-English poetry translator Lucas Klein delves into the subject in greater detail, with 16 meaty comments altogether in the thread.

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