Ken Liu on Chinese sci-fi

Source: NYT (12/3/19)
Why Is Chinese Sci-Fi Everywhere Now? Ken Liu Knows
The Massachusetts-based translator has done more than anyone to bridge the gap between Chinese science fiction and American readers.
By Alexandra Alter

Ken Liu outside his home in Stoughton, Mass. Credit… Amani Willett for The New York Times

In the fall of 2012, Ken Liu received an intriguing offer from a Chinese company with a blandly bureaucratic name: China Educational Publications Import and Export Corporation, Ltd. It was seeking an English-language translator for a trippy science-fiction novel titled “The Three-Body Problem.” Liu — an American computer programmer turned corporate lawyer turned science-fiction writer — was a natural choice: fluent in Mandarin, familiar with Chinese sci-fi tropes and culture and a rising star in the genre. Liu had only translated short fiction at the time, though, and capturing the novel in all its complexity seemed daunting.

“The Three-Body Problem” was unlike anything Liu had ever read. A mind-bending epic set in Beijing, Inner Mongolia and on a distant planet, the novel was full of heady technical passages about quantum theory, nanotechnology, orbital mechanics and astrophysics, intertwined with profound moral questions about the nature of good and evil and humanity’s place in the universe. Continue reading

Chinese Poetry and Translation

We are pleased to announce publication of Chinese Poetry and Translation: Rights and Wrongs (Amsterdam University Press, 2019). Open access download here. Order print copies here.

CHINESE POETRY AND TRANSLATION: RIGHTS AND WRONGS
edited by Maghiel van Crevel and Lucas Klein

Table of contents:

Introduction: The Weird Third Thing
Maghiel van Crevel and Lucas Klein

Part One: The Translator’s Take

(1) Sitting with Discomfort: A Queer-Feminist Approach to Translating Yu Xiuhua
Jenn Marie Nunes

(2) Working with Words: Poetry, Translation, and Labor
Eleanor Goodman Continue reading

Winners of 11th Fu Lei Awards unveiled

Source: China Daily (11/25/19)
Winners of the 11th Fu Lei Translation and Publishing Awards unveiled

[Photo/CGTN]

The winners of the 11th Fu Lei Translation and Publishing Awards were unveiled in Chengdu, capital of Southwest China’s Sichuan province on Saturday.

Jin Longge won the top award for literature for the translation of Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s “Castle to Castle,” and the top award for social sciences went to Zhang Gen for his translation of “Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth” by Michel Foucault.

Kong Qian was honored as Best New Translator for translating Kaouther Adimi’s “Our Wealth.”

A total of 44 works competed for this year’s award, including 29 in social sciences and 15 in literature. In September, a list of 10 finalists was announced at a news conference in Beijing. Continue reading

Chinese translation in Spain

Dear colleagues,

TXICC research group (Translation from Chinese into Spanish/Catalan) is glad to announce the publication of two open-access databases which are the result of years of research by some of its researchers.

On the one hand, “El cine chino traducido en España” (Chinese cinema translated in Spain) contains all the films originally produced in Chinese-speaking areas that have arrived in Spain through different channels, such as cinemas, festivals or online platforms. This database seeks to offer a real image of the type of Chinese cinema that arrives in Spain, as well as to provide data to analyse cinema from the perspective of audiovisual translation.

On the other hand, “La literatura china traducida en España” (Chinese literature translated in Spain) is a twin database compiling all the Chinese literature published in Spain and translated into any of its official languages. Its main aim is to provide empirical data to analyse different aspects of Chinese literature through a literary translation lens, e.g. translators’ (in)visibility or the impact of certain literary works through their different editions and translations. Continue reading

A century of China’s new poetry

Source: China Channel, LARB (11/4/19)
A Century of China’s New Poetry
By Kerry Shawn Keys and Ming Di

Six poems by Mo Yan and others, spanning generations – edited by Ming Di
Selected from New Poetry From China: 1917-2017

China’s New Poetry Movement was started in Beijing in 1917 by Hu Shi (1891–1962) and reinforced by the May 4th Movement in 1919. But what was its aesthetic goal, what influence does it still exert on cultural life in China, and what has been challenged? New Poetry From China: 1917-2017, a new anthology, tries to address the many dimensions of the movement, covering works from most of the important poets still relevant today. 120 poets were selected, from Hu Shi to contemporary voices, including dissident poets. Mo Yan and Liu Xiaobo are back to back on the pages, and many other poets are translated into English for the first time. Two major traditions within the New Poetry Movement have been pushing each other forward: Spoken Language Poetry and Neoclassical Poetry, both are experimental in language and form but with different approaches. We hope you enjoy this small sample of six poems below, representing the span of different generations of poets, from Zheng Min, born in 1920, to Su Xiaoyan born in 1992. – Ming Di

Golden Rice Sheaves
Zheng Min 郑敏

Golden rice stands in sheaves
in the newly cut autumn field.
I think of droves of exhausted mothers,
I see rugged faces along the road at dusk.
On the day of harvest, a full moon hangs
atop the towering trees,
and in the twilight, distant mountains
approach my heart.
Nothing is more quiet than this, a statue
shouldering so much weariness—
you lower your head in thought
in the unending autumn field.
Silence. Silence. History is nothing
but a small stream flowing under your feet.
You stand where the rice is, your thought
becoming a thought of the human race.

Translated from Chinese by Ming Di and Kerry Shawn Keys Continue reading

Going Home

Source: China Channel, LARB (11/8/19)
Going Home
By  and 

Taiwanese fiction by Loa Ho, translated by Darryl Sterk
Editor’s note: Loa Ho (賴和), also known as Lazy Cloud, was a Taiwanese poet, born in 1894. A doctor by profession, it was his contribution to the literary republic – overlooked today – that led him to be hailed as the “father of modern Taiwanese literature.” This 1932 story, translated and republished in the new collection Scales of Injustice, was first published in the founding issue of Voice of the South (南音), a literary journal where Taiwanese cultural elites hoped to communicate with the wider public.

If a product is not up to standard in the factory you still have the chance to fix it, but if it makes it all the way to the market and customers don’t like it, it’s useless and will get thrown away. That’s how I felt when I arrived home after graduating from university, like a reject. It was an unpleasant homecoming.

Several days after I got home I lost the courage to go out, because every time I did I met relatives or friends who would say, “Congratulations, you graduated!” Which I found terrifying, because it would remind me that I had left the factory and was en route to the market. In the first few days, of course, I was happy to be reunited with my family after a long absence. I didn’t yet feel lonely. But soon I was used to being home again and realized all the adults in the family were busy, and that most of my younger brothers and sisters were still in school. Playing with the youngest, who were not yet old enough for school, made me happy, but it was embarrassing when I tried to discipline them, because they would always start crying. I really didn’t know how to comfort them. Even playing with them, I often made them cry, which opened me to complaints from the one who was actually responsible for taking care of the kids. So I just sat around at home and felt bored and useless. Continue reading

Notes on the Pekingese

List members may be interested in my translation of a novella by Takbum Gyel, a writer from Qinghai who is well established in the Tibetan literary world. “Notes on the Pekingese” is a surrealist story about ethnic politics and social climbing set in a local government office in Tibet. You can find it here, published as an ebook by Ploughshares Solos: https://www.pshares.org/solos/notes-pekingese

Christopher Peacock <cp2657@columbia.edu>

 

13th Special Book Awards of China (1)

Here’s more information on the book awards.

“Translators from Australia, Canada and Russia were among the winners of the Special Book Award of China, which is the highest honour given to international publishing professionals who have made outstanding contributions to the promotion of Chinese literature and culture overseas.  The award was established in 2005, and has been presented 12 times so far. Over the past years, 123 winners from 49 countries and regions have received the accolade. This year’s awards were made to:

• Bonnie Suzanne McDougall from Australia, Laureate Professor of the University of Sydney and translator who has been instrumental in developing young Chinese translators overseas as well as the publication of such books as Letters Between Two: Correspondence Between Lu Xun and Xu Guangping.
• Daniel Bell from Canada, who has pursued an academic career at Shandong University as well as producing monographs about Confucius culture and Chinese politics including The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy. Continue reading

Fu Ping review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Elena Martín Enebral’s review of Fu Ping (Columbia UP, 2019), by Wang Anyi and translated by Howard Goldblatt. The review appears below and at its online home: http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/martin-enebral/. My thanks to Michael Berry, MCLC literary translations book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

Fu Ping

By Wang Anyi
Translated by Howard Goldblatt


Reviewed by Elena Martín Enebral
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright August, 2019)


Wang Anyi, Fu Ping. Tr. Howard Goldblatt. New York: Columbia University Press, 2019. 296 pp. ISBN: 9780231193221 (Hardcover); ISBN: 9780231550208 (E-book)

The novel Fu Ping (富萍) was first published in the literary magazine Harvest (收获) in 2000. Wang Anyi (王安忆, 1954-) described it as reflecting almost a decade of inquiry, the result of which satisfied her as much as her acclaimed novel Song of Everlasting Sorrow (长恨歌, 1995), for which she obtained the supreme Chinese writing award, the Mao Dun Prize, that same year.[1] With good reason, therefore, we can welcome the recent publication in English of this novel, essential as it is to understanding the creative evolution of one of the most emblematic figures of contemporary Chinese literature, and most especially when translated by the renowned Howard Goldblatt.

The English edition opens with a note from the author that reveals some of the sources of inspiration for the novel. A trip to Yangzhou (扬州) reminds Wang Anyi of a beautiful poem by Li Bai (李白) that takes her back in time to her childhood and her nanny, who was originally from that town. Poetry and memory fuse to evoke, before her eyes, the image of a face belonging to the heroine of her novel: Fu Ping, a young woman from a village near Yangzhou. Fu Ping moves to Shanghai in the mid-1960s to meet Nainai (奶奶), the adoptive grandmother of her future husband whom she has only seen on a handful of occasions. Wang Anyi links the fate of her heroine with another personal memory: a tranquil journey along the Suzhou River (苏州河) in one of the motorized scows that workers from Subei (苏北) use to transport waste daily outside the city of Shanghai. Continue reading

My Mountain Country

Ye Lijun’s My Mountain Country
Translated from the Chinese by Fiona Sze-Lorrain
Foreword by Christopher Merrill

Contemporary Chinese poet Ye Lijun’s My Mountain Country in Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s translation, with a foreword by Christopher Merrill and an essay by the poet-translator, is just published by World Poetry Books.

Read some poems here and here. To order: SPD (pre-order: Amazon)

In this remarkable English debut, award-winning Chinese contemporary poet Ye Lijun offers readers a lyrical diorama of nature and the inner world. By turns intimate and profound, Ye’s poems in Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s masterful translations make music of everyday silences, and illuminate the invisible openings in our lives. In this vital collection by one of China’s essential literary voices, each encounter is an invitation, wherein a village, a nest, a telescope, or a book proves to be a transient guide to the unknown.

Emerging Translator Mentorship program

Source: American Literary Translators Association Blog (8/20/19)
Meet the 2020 Emerging Translator Mentorship Program Mentors!
by rcldaum

2020 Mentors

Clockwise from top left: Kareem James Abu-Zeid, Mara Faye Lethem, Marian Schwartz, Jennifer Feeley

ALTA is delighted to introduce the 2020 Emerging Translator Mentorship Program mentors! The ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship Program is designed to establish and facilitate a close working relationship between an experienced translator and an emerging translator on a project selected by the emerging translator. ALTA’s Emerging Translator Mentorship Program was founded by former ALTA board member Allison M. Charette. This applications for the 2020 mentorship program cycle will open September 9 on our Submittable page. Continue reading

Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies awards 2018-19

Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards (2018–2019) 
宋淇翻譯研究論文紀念獎 2018–2019
20 August 2019

Dear all,

It is with great pleasure that I hereby announce the result for the 21st Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards (2018–2019) set up by Research Centre for Translation, Institute of Chinese Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards (2018–2019) Special Mention:

CUI Wendong (Department of Chinese and History, City University of Hong Kong)
“Translation, Nation, and Gender: Cultural Adaptations in Short Stories Translated by the Late-Qing Writer Tang Hongfu”, Bulletin of the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy, No. 50 (March 2017, published in March 2018), pp. 1–35.

There are no winners for the standard awards. Continue reading

Chinese Literature Today 8.1

Dear friends,  

You are invited to read or download the newest issue of Chinese Literature Today online during our free promotion period between now and the end of August. 

This special issue on contemporary Chinese poetry features a lovely special section on Hong Kong writer Xi Xi (guest edited by Jennifer Feeley), selected poems by seven contemporary Chinese-language poets (Wang Jiaxin, Che Qianzi, Li Dewu, Hu Jiujiu, Jialu Mi, Huang Chunming, and Chen Li), as well as the latest scholarship on Chinese migrant worker poetry by the featured scholar Maghiel van Crevel.

Ping Zhu, Acting Editor in Chief <pingzhu@ou.edu>

Which Classic?

MCLC Resource Center is pleased announce publication of Yichun Xu and Frederick Bowman’s translation of the first chapter of Which Classic? (何典), by Zhang Nanzhuang 張南莊.

Which Classic? is a ten-chapter comic novella written in the traditional linked-chapter form. Circulated in manuscript form for several decades, it was first published by Shenbao Guan in 1878 and remained an obscure book until it was rediscovered by May Fourth scholars, such as Liu Bannong 劉半農, Lu Xun 魯迅, and Wu Zhihui 吳稚暉, who recognized it as one of the earliest extant novels to make extensive use of Wu-dialect vocabulary. Which Classic? is composed in a peculiar hybrid language that makes use of Wu vernacular vocabulary, classical Chinese, and plain Chinese (白話文). Its heterogeneous language is the source of much of the novella’s humor. Frequently a given phrase will have one meaning when read as plain Chinese but another when read in Wu vernacular. This implied second reading is often silly or obscene and serves to add to the irreverent and tongue-in-cheek tone of the work as a whole. In this translation of the first chapter of Which Classic?, the translators have attempted to convey these multiple linguistic levels as often as possible, but such plays on words are, of course, a particular challenge to the translator. The translators are working on a rendering of the entire novella.

The translation can be accessed here: http://u.osu.edu/mclc/online-series/which-classic/

Enjoy,

Kirk Denton, editor