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Chinese literature going global; translation first(2)

2014-07-08 11:04 People's Daily Online Web Editor: Yao Lan

According to Humes, translators of literature are treated as professional writers in the West. Many translators request a credit as the co-author when their translation works hit Amazon's book shelves online. The Chinese attitude toward foreign translators changed subtly after October in 2012. Howard Goldblatt's translation of Mo Yan's works helped him win the Nobel Prize. Many have realized that close cooperation with foreign translators, brokers and publishers can be a wise choice.

Humes says that the European Union and the United States' program of "Translator-in-residence" offers accommodation, air tickets and allowances to foreign translators.

Free talent scout

Humes has also noted that many foreign translators are no longer sinologists in college, but rather, promising young people working in China as reporters teachers, etc. Many of them only have travel visas, which cannot guarantee their residence or exchanges with Chinese writers while undertaking translations.

"Those freelance translators are a lesser-known part of a 'supply chain' that brings Chinese writers together with overseas brokers and publishers,. Some of them are acting effectively as literary talent scouts, even without salaries. Once having discovered a work of real quality, they will translate part of it and recommend it to overseas literary magazines or publishers." Humes therefore urges visa adjustments that permit legal stays in China for translators of literature and works on traditional Chinese culture when undertaking such translations.

Transparent Internet Platform

Humes adds that suitable Internet platforms, especially English websites that bring together Chinese and foreign writers, translators, literary brokers and publishers, are also vital for Chinese literature to go global.


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