Mo Yan's Nobel and Chinese Fiction Exports: Time to "Serve the Reader"?
. . . renewed interest in defining what constitutes a “good” literary translation comes in the wake of the awarding of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature to China’s Mo Yan (莫言). Chinese translation professionals—and government officials keen on expanding the country’s soft power overseas—are searching for lessons to be drawn from Mo Yan’s resounding success.
One key lesson could be that China’s customary academic emphasis on word-for-word translation, in the belief it yields the greatest accuracy, doesn’t actually fly, marketing-wise. The article points out that Mo Yan’s English translator, Howard Goldblatt, edited freely as he translated (连译带改) Mo Yan’s Garlic Ballads (天堂蒜薹之歌), and that the German publisher chose to base its translation on the English too.