Mo Yan’s “Frog” Reviewed: Call for Diversity among Chinese-to-English Translators

In Literary Prowess Lost, we have one of the first coherent --- and highly critical --- reviews of a modern novel translated from the Chinese in which the reviewer knows the source language and doesn't shirk from calling out the translator on several points: Without multiple translations of the same work, it’s impossible to adequately … Continue reading Mo Yan’s “Frog” Reviewed: Call for Diversity among Chinese-to-English Translators

“Most Influential” Chinese Literature in Translation: 2014 Ranking by International Library Purchases

A list of this year’s 20 so-called “most influential” Chinese literary works in translation has been published by Xi’an Daily (西安日报), and widely republished on the Chinese Internet. What follows are a few factoids I’ve gleaned from this version (影响力最大) at Chinanews.com. The full top 20 for 2014 can be found in Chinese here. The … Continue reading “Most Influential” Chinese Literature in Translation: 2014 Ranking by International Library Purchases

Literary Translation: The Collaborative Approach

In the Aug 2014 edition of The Art of Empathy: Celebrating Literature in Translation, Chinese-to-literary translators Sylvia Li-chun Lin (native Chinese speaker) and Howard Goldblatt (native English speaker) reveal how they work together: Sylvia does the first draft, placing emphasis more on conveying the meaning of the original text than on finding the exact words/phrases … Continue reading Literary Translation: The Collaborative Approach

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

Chinese Fiction in Translation: Novels/Novellas with “Ethnic” Theme

Over the last few months a number of reporters have e-mailed to ask about the state of Chinese literature in translation, particularly in light of Mo Yan's winning the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature. But most cite just a handful of authors and works in their questions--- and Shanghai Baby, translated by yours truly over a … Continue reading Chinese Fiction in Translation: Novels/Novellas with “Ethnic” Theme

“The Shepherd’s Dream”: An Excerpt from Alai’s “King Gesar”

Several years ago, UK publisher Canongate commissioned contemporary ethnic Tibetan writer Alai to pen his own creative version of the King Gesar saga. The plan: to launch Alai's King Gesar (格萨尔王, 阿来著)  as part of its global Myth Series, joining other creatively re-told tales including The Penelopiad (Margaret Atwood’s take on Penelope of The Odyssey), Baba Yaga Laid an Egg (Baba Yaga as … Continue reading “The Shepherd’s Dream”: An Excerpt from Alai’s “King Gesar”

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