Cham­pi­oning Chi­nese lit­er­ary lit­er­ary works to to over­seas read­ers across read­er­s­the globe

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By ZHANG KUN in Shang­hai


The Shang­hai mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment re­cently kick­started a new ini­tia­tive to im­prove the qual­ity of trans­lated works as well as pro­mote the city’s pub­li­ca­tions and cul­ture to over­seas au­di­ences.

Start­ing this year, the mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment will set aside a sum amount of money ded­i­cated to help­ing Chi­nese books from Shang­hai pub­lish­ing houses get trans­lated and pub­lished abroad.

Ac­cord­ing to Xu Jiong, di­rec­tor of the Mu­nic­i­pal Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Press and Public­ity, only pub­lish­ers based in Shang­hai are el­i­gi­ble to ap­ply to be a part of this ini­tia­tive. This re­stric­tion has in turn en­cour­aged many au­thors from other parts of China to choose Shang­hai pub­lish­ers for their new books.

Xu said that poorly trans­lated lit­er­ary works have been rec­og­nized as the cul­prit that has ham­pered the pro­lif­er­a­tion of Shang­hai’s lit­er­ary works to over­seas read­ers, and that this new ini­tia­tive seeks to ad­dress the prob­lem.

He added that many coun­tries around the world, in­clud­ing France, Ire­land and Swe­den have had sim­i­lar ini­tia­tives to pro­mote its lit­er­a­ture and cul­ture in for­eign coun­tries.

An­other part of the ini­tia­tive in­volves re­ward­ing well- trans­lated lit­er­ary works with mon­e­tary prizes of up to $10,000 (63,955 yuan).

“Dur­ing copyright ne­go­ti­a­tions, the two par­ties will at times face prob­lems reach­ing agree­ments. The prize money should be able to come in handy and help close the deal,” Xu said.

Four books out of 19 that were en­tered the for this award were se­lected as the win­ners, shar­ing a com­bined prize purse of 230,000 yuan.

The four pub­li­ca­tions are French Con­ces­sion by Xiao Bai (trans­lated to English by Chenxin Jiang), The Old Cat’s Li­brary by Jiang Xiaoyuan ( trans­lated in South Korea), Revo­lu­tion and Forms: on the modernism in Early-age Nov­els by Mao Dun by Chen Jian­hua (trans­lated to English by Car­los Ro­jas) and Be­hind the Singing Masks by Wang Xiaoying (trans­lated to English by Yawt­song Lee).

The com­pany re­spon­si­ble for help­ing sell the copy­rights of French Con­ces­sion for trans­la­tions into seven for­eign lan­guages was Shang­hai 99 Read­ers Cul­ture Co Ltd, and its pres­i­dent Huang Yuhai said that the com­pany will con­tinue to cham­pion con­tem­po­rary Chi­nese au­thors and ti­tles to for­eign pub­lish­ers.

The com­pany has ex­pe­ri­ence sell­ing nu­mer­ous books by ac­claimed Chi­nese au­thors such as Chi Zi­jian, Wang Anyi and Ma Daishu to Euro­pean na­tions such as Spain, Swe­den and France.

As this ini­tia­tive is also meant to fa­cil­i­tate cul­tural ex­change, books en­tered for this award must al­ready be pub­lished abroad in at least one for­eign lan­guage or have an ef­fec­tive pub­lish­ing con­tract with a for­eign pub­lisher.

Judg­ing was based on sev­eral fac­tors, in­clud­ing how es­tab­lished the pub­lisher is and the rep­u­ta­tion of the trans­la­tor in Sino-over­seas ex­changes.

“It may sound cruel, but we pay spe­cial at­ten­tion to the trans­la­tor’s port­fo­lio,” said Xu, who ex­plained that the trans­la­tor’s role in break­ing down the lan­guage bar­ri­ers is vi­tal in help­ing for­eign read­ers understand the nu­ances in Chi­nese lit­er­ary works.

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