In Crowdsourcing Boosts Translation Works, we learn that Yeeyan’s “Project Gutenberg”:
. . . has already translated and published around 200 e-books from different languages [into Chinese], with 300 more titles to go. More than 20 books have also been published in print, and many are scheduled to hit bookstores in the coming months.
Among them are Charles Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle (小猎犬号科学考察纪).
Draft translations are completed by various freelance translators, and then edited for publication by a small team of editors.
But literary translators have their doubts:
“Maybe it works for technical translation,” says Liu Wenfei, a famous translator of Russian books into Chinese. “I will never read literary works translated by multiple translators.”
Whatever. Of course, Liu isn’t exactly your typical target reader, nor is he unbiased.
His opinion obscures two simple points:
- The quality of current literary translation into Chinese is miserable, so any new approach might find favor with a still rather undiscerning readership;
- Demand for a wide selection of translated writing from the West, from “pure” literature to management know-how, is so great that well edited, crowdsourced translations is an inevitable trend.
In fact, I’d expect crowdsourced translations from the Chinese to become popular soon — including contemporary literature. Personally, I think the concept of the “lone translator” as the only authentic interpreter of a given work of fiction is overrated . . .