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

Chen Zhongshi’s “White Deer Plain”: Censored to Win Coveted Mao Dun Literary Prize

White Deer Plain, a newly launched movie based on Chen Zhongshi's novel of the same name (白鹿原, 陈忠实著), has aroused controversy both as a book and as a film. The novel tells the tale of two families, Bai and Lu, living through the fall of the Qing Dynasty, the beginning of the Republic and the rise of … Continue reading Chen Zhongshi’s “White Deer Plain”: Censored to Win Coveted Mao Dun Literary Prize

“Pamir Kyrgyz Traditional Song Conference” Held in Xinjiang’s Akto County

Just a few weeks after 40 Uyghur masters of the rhymed epic tales known as dastan gathered in Hami to stage and talk about their threatened art form (Dastan Training Session), some 60-plus performers of traditional Kyrgyz songs have gathered for a similar get-together in Xinjiang’s Akto County (阿克陶县) bordering on Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. According … Continue reading “Pamir Kyrgyz Traditional Song Conference” Held in Xinjiang’s Akto County

Quote of the Week (Jun 26, 2012): Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o on Mother Tongue

For to deny a child, any child, their right to mother tongue, to bring up such a child as a monolingual English speaker in a society where the majority speak African languages, to alienate that child from a public they may be called to serve, is nothing short of child abuse. (Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Kenyan author, … Continue reading Quote of the Week (Jun 26, 2012): Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o on Mother Tongue

Oddly Monolingual Manchu Emperors and “New Qing History”

In The Charms of Qing TV, The Economist takes a closer look at the popular Qing historical dramas that are so popular on China’s video-sharing sites. Is Mark Elliot—author of “The Manchu Way”, one of the first studies to use Manchu sources in the research of Qing history—bothered by Chinese TV’s monolingual Manchus? “I’d say … Continue reading Oddly Monolingual Manchu Emperors and “New Qing History”

Translation of Century-old French-Buyi Dictionary Dogged by Concerns over Political Correctness

Published in 1908, a rare dictionary of the Buyi language---Essai de dictionnaire dioi-français reproduisant la langue parlée par les tribus Thai de la Haute rivière de l'Ouest (布法辞典)---compiled by two French missionaries (Joseph Esquirol & Gustave Williatte) has long been slated for translation into Chinese. Attempts were made to complete the project in the late 1970s and again in 1989, … Continue reading Translation of Century-old French-Buyi Dictionary Dogged by Concerns over Political Correctness

“Follow Me in Dai!” Soon to be Published

Two textbooks aimed at pupils in Yunnan have been approved and will soon be published (傣文教材出炉): Dai Reader IV for Xishuangbanna Elementary School Students (西双版纳傣文小学教材第四册) and Follow Me in Dai! (跟我学傣文).  The Dai Reader consists of 30 texts, 19 traditonal Dai pieces and 11 translations (I assume from Chinese). Follow Me in Dai! will be … Continue reading “Follow Me in Dai!” Soon to be Published

Tibetan, Daur, Evenki and Oroqen Databases Appraised by Experts

According to China’s Ministry of Education (数据库), several minority language projects underway during the current 12th Five-year Plan (2011-15) have been appraised and approved by experts. They are: Database of Modern Tibetan Grammar Research (现代藏语语法信息辞典数据库研究) Database of Daur, Evenki and Oroqen Voice Acoustic Parameters (达斡尔、鄂温克和鄂伦春语语音声学参数数据库) Undertaken by the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology under the … Continue reading Tibetan, Daur, Evenki and Oroqen Databases Appraised by Experts

China Ethnic Dictionary Project: Yunnan’s Lahu Next in Line

The compilation of a Chinese-Lahu dictionary officially began in Kunming on April 14, according to a report on the Institute of Ethnic Literature site (编篡工作在昆明启动). Some 100 Lahu scholars met to discuss the reference book, scheduled for publication in 2015, that will comprise over two million words of text. The Lāhù (拉祜族) are one of the 56 peoples … Continue reading China Ethnic Dictionary Project: Yunnan’s Lahu Next in Line

Tibetan Epic “King Gesar” Published in 8-volume Chinese-language Edition

A comprehensive 8-volume, 2-million word translation of the Tibetan classic “King Gesar” (格萨尔王传) has just been published in Chinese by Higher Education Press (高等教育出版社), according to a report carried on China Ethnic Literature Network (中国民族文学网). The traditional Epic of King Gesar (Tibetan: གེ་སར་རྒྱལ་པོ), believed to date from the 12th century, relates the heroic deeds of Gesar, … Continue reading Tibetan Epic “King Gesar” Published in 8-volume Chinese-language Edition