New Kid on the Block: Chinese-to-English Literary Translator Database

I watch this sort of thing fairly closely, and up until now the only list of international Chinese-to-English literary translators I knew about was at Paper Republic: Translator Directory. But today by accident I discovered another at a Chinese-language site called 中国文化对外翻译与传播网. It’s a much bigger undertaking, and features 2,003 listings under “English,” with the … Continue reading New Kid on the Block: Chinese-to-English Literary Translator Database

Foreign Authors and the Allure of “Special Editions” of their Books for Chinese Eyes

“Please kindly let me know if it is possible for us to cooperate on a special version of your book for its China publication,” read a Shanghai publisher’s letter to Evan Osnos, formerly The New Yorker’s China correspondent. Writing in the May 2 edition of the New York Times (China’s Censored World), Osnos gives us … Continue reading Foreign Authors and the Allure of “Special Editions” of their Books for Chinese Eyes

Mo Yan’s Nobel and Chinese Fiction Exports: Time to “Serve the Reader”?

Resting on translation Professor Xie Tianzhen’s desk is a recent dissertation by one of his students, ‘The Dream of the Red Chamber’: A Century of English Translations. It documents the strong preference of Western readers for David Hawke’s edition, though Chinese specialists consider it flawed compared to the more accurate version by Yang Xianyi and … Continue reading Mo Yan’s Nobel and Chinese Fiction Exports: Time to “Serve the Reader”?

Thoreau’s “Walden”, Translator Li Jihong and the Missing Aliens

As the sun sets here in Antalya, Turkey, by now the controversial English-to-Chinese translator Li Jihong (李继宏, below) should already have delivered his speech today at the Shanghai Book Festival, entitled  " 经典何以需要新译?" (“Why do the classics need new translations?) His spiel was part of the official launch event for his newest translation, 《瓦尔登湖》(Thoreau's Walden).  … Continue reading Thoreau’s “Walden”, Translator Li Jihong and the Missing Aliens

Translator of Best Sellers “Kite Runner” and “Conversations with God” Incenses Fellow English-to-Chinese Decoders

So much for the invisible translator.  With the launch of his Chinese renditions of classics whose copyrights had expired (新译本), such as The Old Man and the Sea (老人遇害) and The Great Gatsby (了不起的的盖茨比), Li Jihong (李继宏) has managed to infuriate a host of fellow translators, hommes de lettres and even would-be readers. Partly due … Continue reading Translator of Best Sellers “Kite Runner” and “Conversations with God” Incenses Fellow English-to-Chinese Decoders

Translator Shortage and Tired Tales of Chinese Exceptionalism

Writes Dong Fangyu at China Daily in Translators Leave China Lost for Words: “. . . many Chinese novels that have won top prizes and been well received in China face delays in getting published abroad due to a lack of good translators. Take the example of the novel Shou Huo (The Joy of Living,[受活]) … Continue reading Translator Shortage and Tired Tales of Chinese Exceptionalism

Are Foreign Devil Translators Hijacking China’s Debut on the Global Literary Stage?

Ever since China was named Guest of Honor at the 2009 Frankfurt Int’l Book Fair, overseas publishers have begun to take an interest in contemporary Chinese literature, and the list of works of fiction and poetry slated for translation and publication into English in 2011 and 2012 is growing quickly. Take a look here for … Continue reading Are Foreign Devil Translators Hijacking China’s Debut on the Global Literary Stage?

Sinologist Wolfgang Kubin: What Makes for “Good Literature” and “Good Language”?

Controversial German Sinologist Wolfgang Kubin was recently in Shenzhen where he spoke at some length on three subjects: What makes for "good literature" (好的文学)? "Good language" (好的语言)? And if a Chinese author writes in a foreign tongue, what sorts of changes occur?   On August 10, China Reading Weekly (中华读书报) published What is Good Chinese Literature … Continue reading Sinologist Wolfgang Kubin: What Makes for “Good Literature” and “Good Language”?

The Unsavory Side of Translated Fiction Publishing in China

In Book Publishers Scramble for Chinese Readers at the NY Times today, one China publisher in particular---Horizon Media---is featured as particularly savvy in recognizing early on the huge demand of Chinese readers for fiction from the West, and for picking winners that it brought to the market efficiently: Wang Ling, Horizon’s chief literature editor, cites as … Continue reading The Unsavory Side of Translated Fiction Publishing in China

《蒙古往事》及其汉化的蒙古语

我正在读冉平写的《蒙古往事》,也发现了经常出现蒙古人的一些有意思的说法。至少,作者在故事里告诉读者这些说法是来自蒙古语。 我在琢磨:作者会蒙古语吗?“拼法” 标准吗?科学吗?哪些是音译?如果蒙古语为母语的人看到了,认得出来吗? 无论如何,这些说法增加了《蒙古往事》的色彩和可读性,也值得去欣赏和研究。在这里先做点笔记,然后慢慢地加上一些想法和链接。下面的页数以新星出版社的 2010 版为参考。 长生天 (5) 蒙古人将腾格里称为 “Mongke Tengri”,意为 “长生天”,作为最高信仰 。(维基百科) 巴特(6) 《蒙古往事》编辑注释:“巴特,也称把阿秃,即蒙古语中勇士、英雄之意”。其实,好像 “巴特尔” 更正确,因为网上许多地方指 bataar 为蒙古语 “英雄” 之意。“乌兰巴托” (Ulan Bator)的意思是 “红色的英雄”。 苏鲁锭(7) 苏鲁锭的蒙语意思是“长矛”,也就是战旗。安答(20)《蒙古往事》编辑注释:“安答,即结拜的盟兄弟,生死之交”。帖卜腾格里(24) 《蒙古往事》编辑注释:“蒙古语:通天的人”。维基百科:腾格里(Tengri),是古代阿尔泰语系一些游牧民族对于天的称呼,是萨满教腾格里信仰的中心神灵。在中国古代典籍中,“腾格里” 一此最早出于匈奴,协作 “撑犁”,其君主单于的全称即 “撑犁孤涂单于”,意为 “天子般伟大”。其后,鲜卑、柔然、突厥以至蒙古等草原民族均继承了腾格里信仰。与突厥同族的敕勒发展出了 “苍天” (Koke Tengri)的概念,而蒙古人将腾格里成为 “Mongke Tengri”,以为 长生天,作为最高信仰。在之后,由于受到佛教、印度教等影响,腾格里被加上了各种称呼,分裂成为众多神灵, 17 世纪后甚至出现了 “九十腾格里” 的说法。今日土耳其语中,“神” 一词为腾格里转化而来的 “Tann”,其穆斯林信众不但以此词称呼基督教的上帝,甚至还在非正式的场合代替来自阿拉伯语的安拉之名。在欧洲可萨人与保加尔人,阿瓦尔人也曾信仰腾格里。 薛禅(48) 《蒙古往事》内文:“薛禅的意思在古代蒙古语里代表贤哲,就是有见识、有学问的人”。 虎不斯(59) 《蒙古往事》编辑注释:“虎不斯,蒙古古代的琴”。 纳可(59) 《蒙古往事》编辑注释:“纳可,伙伴、随从的意思”。 固姑冠(60) 《老年世界》:“也叫固姑帽,起源于蒙古草原,随着蒙古人入主中原而流传到内地。它是蒙古妇女的著名头饰。。。13 世纪访问蒙古草原的柏朗嘉宾和鲁布鲁克等人所写游记,也都谈到固姑冠的美丽及其造型与风格特色。《鲁布鲁克东行记》说:波克头饰,用树皮制成,它大如两手合掐,高有一腕尺多,阔如柱头。并把它用贵重的丝绢包起来,里面是空的。在柱头顶,即在顶面,插上也有一腕尺多长的一簇羽茎或细枝”。 《蒙古往事》编辑注释:“固姑冠,象征身份、地位的头饰”。 海青(77) 内文:“他们[铁木真等]把鹰叫做海青”。 … Continue reading 《蒙古往事》及其汉化的蒙古语