Shortage of Mongolian-to-Mandarin Literary Translators

In the wake of the recent announcement of the winners of the Duorina Mongolian Literature Prize, Ye Erda (叶尔达), professor of Mongolian language and literature at Beijing’s Central Nationalities University, notes that the current crop of talented Mongolian-to-Mandarin literary translators still far from meets growing demand. Salhinhee (哈森) took home the top award for her … Continue reading Shortage of Mongolian-to-Mandarin Literary Translators

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