I was invited to the “2015 Sino-foreign Literature Translation & Publishing Workshop” (2015 中外文学翻译研修班) that just ended in Beijing, but didn’t make it. It looks like it was a major happening with more than 50 translation and publishing professionals attending from 30+ countries. Check out the site here. Most of it is in Chinese, but the bios of the participants are in English too. Just click on the pix.
I suggested beforehand to the organizers that they discuss how to increase the overseas profile of China’s non-Han authors, and apparently they did. For a full-length news item on the discussion, read 少数民族文学 “走出去”步伐极须加快.
Since 2013, the China Writers Association has subsidized an ongoing project to enable translation and publication of
fiction by ethnic writers (当代少数民族文学对外翻译工程), according to Li Jingze, Secretary of the China Writers Association, who is cited in the news item. Some 54 “projects” were undertaken in 2013-14, and “almost half have been published.”
The report mentioned just a handful of translators and their works, including translations of various books about Muslim culture and literature in China into Arabic by Egyptian Shaimaa Kamal, and a book by Hui writer Ye Duoduo (叶多多), rendered in Spanish by Adriana Martínez González.
Several suggestions on how to better package ethnic fiction for an international readership were summarized in the news item. This included the need for China to cultivate “externally oriented” editors and publishing and sales managers.
Ironically, this is painfully obvious from the marketing of a collection of short pieces about the Lahu, entitled La vida cotidiana de las mujeres Lahu de Lancang (澜沧拉祜女子日常生活) published by Five Continents Press (五洲传播出版社) in 2015. I should note that it’s not clear from the report whether this particular book was financed via a grant from the China Writers Association.