New22-volume collectiongathersthe completeworksofchina’s mostfamousrussian-tochinesetranslator Monumental achievement
the Cao Ying Study, establishing the Cao Ying Foundation and Translation Literature Award, and publishing The Complete Translations of Cao Ying. The previous two have been completed, and now the last one has come true,” she said at the opening ceremony.
“I remembered Sheng once told me that Leo Tolstoy spent seven years completing War and Peace and revised it eight times. As a translator, he needed to read it at least a dozen times. According to him, he read War and Peace 12 times and spent another six years translating it into Chinese,” Zhao Lihong, the vice president of the Shanghai Writers’ Association, told the Global Times.
Sheng once said that a translator is not a “voice tube,” nor a “translation machine.” Literary translation needs to have emotional resonance, because only when people are touched emotionally can they experience the original work’s
atmosphere. He noted that he firmly believes that a good translation will allow foreign readers to have the same feelings and reactions as native readers.
At the event, Chen Zhi, the president of the Shanghai Literature and Art Publishing House, told the Global Times that in order to completely immerse himself in War and Peace, Sheng wrote the names, identities and personalities of all 559 characters in the novel on separate cards so he could study each and every one.
Publishing a complete collection of all his works was one of Sheng’s final wishes. However, this was no easy task for the Shanghai Literature and Art Publishing House, as the translator’s personal writings were scattered throughout numerous newspapers and magazines.
In order to fully demonstrate Sheng’s literary translation achievements and his personal discourse on Russian and Soviet literature and
translation issues, the publishing house first began working with Sheng and his family in 2014. After years of organizing and editing his translation works, all his writings have been contained in a 22-volume collection.
“No matter how hard life was, he never gave up his translation work. During the editing process, we too were deeply impressed by Mr. Sheng’s incredible focus,” Chen said.
According to a report from The Paper, the entire set contains more than 10 million Chinese characters. Twelve of the 22 volumes contain his translations of Leo Tolstoy’s novels; seven volumes are translations of the writings of Mikhail Sholokhov, who won the 1965 Nobel Prize in Literature, and Russian Romantic writer Mikhail Lermontov; one volume covers Sheng’s personal works in Russian; one volume is a Russian grammar book compiled by Sheng; and one volume contains his translated articles published in various newspapers and magazines over the years.
A display in the Cao Ying Study in Shanghai