Lack Of Good Translations Keep Chinese Literature From Global Readers

Have you ever tried to find a translated Chinese book and couldn’t? It can be difficult to find a translation because many Chinese novels tend to go unnoticed overseas. That’s where the Shanghai Translation Grants come in. Created in 2015, the program is determined to encourage more translations for Chinese works. The grant is awarded to both published and unpublished translations, though this year each work has been published.

“Giving grants to those who can translate Chinese into their native languages is helpful in expanding the influence of Chinese books and Chinese culture overseas,” said Xu Jiong, head of the Shanghai Press and Publication Bureau.

Of the winners, two books translated by Tony Blishen, retired British diplomat, were awarded the grant. Reading Chinese Painting: Beyond Forms and Colors, A Comparative Approach to Art Appreciation by Sophia Suk-mun Law examines the sense of poetry and scenery in Chinese paintings, allowing the reader to understand Chinese art. Aroma’s Little Garden by Qin Wenjun and Wang Jiren is the story of a little girl so in touch with nature that she has a friend that’s a dancing flower.

Nguyen Van Mau, a Vietnamese professor, and a team translated the series A Hundred Thousand Whys, which teaches children all about the fascinating world of science. Dragan Milenkovic translated the novel Shanghai Princess by Chen Danyan, which is the nonfiction story of the fourth daughter of Kwok Bews who goes from a silver spoon life to one filled with intense trials. The last book to receive an award is Dialect and Chinese Culture by professors Zhou Zhenhe and You Rujie, which was translated by a team of five.

Source: Amazon

Source: Amazon

“They are intended to encourage and support foreign translators who are both talented and passionate about introducing good Chinese works to readers in their home countries,” said Xu Jiong, head of Shanghai Press and Publication Bureau.

If you’re on the lookout for a translated work, try The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu which won the Hugo Award in 2015 for best Science Fiction novel. If you’re looking for a longer read, the award winning trilogy by Peter Hessler offers an in depth look at an evolving China as it moves from the ancient world to the modern one, starting with Oracle Bones. For a more serious read, Dream of Ding Village by Yan Lianke is a fictional work, but is based on the real event known as ‘blood boom,’ which is the spreading of HIV through villages due to the selling of contaminated blood.

Source: Amazon

Source: Amazon

Chinese publishers have exhibit thousands of books, but it’s a difficult feat trying to secure deals in the English-language publishing world. These books tend to be scholarly, though increasing the number of translated books is only half the battle, with several books failing to receive the proper marketing.

The Chinese fiction that has made waves for foreign readers are the genres of crime, science fiction, and romance. These genres embrace what’s popular with Western readers. Let’s hope that these beloved works from around the world have more chances for global readers to read their stories.

Pick up a translated work and enjoy!

YouTube Channel: Connor O’Brien


Featured image via Wikipedia

h/t Shanghai Daily