Call for China-based "Translator-in-Residence" Program

By Bruce Humes, published June 12, 2014, 11:51p.m.

I recently made a number of suggestions on concrete steps that could help ensure greater success for the “campaign to take Chinese literature global.” They are detailed in Open Letter to China Literary Exports, Inc..

中华读书报 (China Reading Weekly) interviewed me about my proposal, including the establishment of a Translator-in-Residence program. If you'd like to read the interview (in Chinese), and see the part of the draft text that was deleted just before publication, visit 建议建立驻地翻译基金,积极征募外国翻译家到中国短期居住.

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# 1.   

When we promote Chinese literature, it should not be done as if the subject matter is so low in quality that it needs the assistance from outside. The success of Mo Yan doesn't necessarily mean Chinese literature is very attractive in the eyes of westerners or people around the world. The painstaking promotion of Chinese literature may backfire or just become a real turn-off to those readers who are just turned on by Mo Yan. When you can easily get available a lot of flashy ads by the road side, do you really bother to look at them? Nobody invites Hawkes to translate the Dream of Red Mansion, he does his work of his own accord. If he was not interested himself or he did that otherwise, could he go on? A proper and decent attitude to Chinese literature or western readers should be: Take it or leave it. You are welcomed to be my guest, but our party will go on even without you.You are not so important as the Santa Claus at Xmas or the groom at the wedding night.

Lao Zhang, June 18, 2014, 11:43p.m.

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