“You’re stepping on my shadow, please back off,” she said.

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

Nanjing Will Pay You

By Eric Abrahamsen, published

To translate Nanjing writers!

The Nanjing municipal 文联 is teaming up with the Nanjing Municipal Publishing and Media Group to dump some money on the promotion of Nanjing arts and literature. There are many programs getting funding over the next three years, but one of them is particularly relevant to our interests: they're paying translators who successfully publish translations of works by writers in Nanjing.

Here's the link to the official application instructions.

The rules, as I understand them (and I could be wrong), are:

  1. You sign a contract with them before the deadline, which is the end of July, 2015, ie fifteen days from the date of this posting.
  2. Within three years of the signing, you translate and publish either one novel-length work, or two shorter works, by a Nanjing writer.
  3. They pay you either 180,000 RMB (one novel), or 150,000 RMB (two shorter works). Actually it looks like the fee is disbursed in yearly installments.
  4. Step four is usually "profit", but that's already happened in step three.

I'm not sure of the exact definition of a "Nanjing writer". I'm also not sure what happens if you translate the novel, and then no one agrees to publish it, which to be honest seems fairly likely. There are a few other terms and conditions, for which see the full explanation at the link above.

Update: I checked with them, and you don't need to have a novel publication contract in place to apply. They will be reviewing the applications, and making decisions based on likelihood of success, and it's enough that you find a publisher within the three-year term of the contract.

What is there to lose, comrades?


# 1.   

Just remember that you have to 拥护党的领导,遵守法律法规,有较强的事业心和社会责任感,有良好的思想品德和职业道德!

Anna GC, July 15, 2015, 5:57a.m.

# 2.   

You forgot 身体健康, that's actually one of the requirements.

 Eric Abrahamsen, July 15, 2015, 9:12p.m.

# 3.   

List of qualifications reminds me of being interviewed by a China Daily reporter a few years ago about my translation of Last Quarter of the Moon.

At one point she noted (ominously): "Mr. Humes, you don't sound like you love China."

I hadn't been aware that was a prerequisite for my work as a Chinese-to-English literary translator. Now things are a bit more focused. One need merely uphold the Party's leadership . . .

 Bruce, July 15, 2015, 10:39p.m.

# 4.   

Fortunately, I'm too old to apply, so I can be as decadent and unhealthy as I like! Yay!

Anna GC, July 17, 2015, 7:58a.m.

# 5.   

Thanks, Anna. Good to know that we ancients needn't bother applying to translate any Nanjing classics!

Ironically, the "relevant authorities" in certain cities in China seem to recognize that even after 40, at least some literary translators can still do a decent job.

The opening paragraph of a recent press release re: the "Shanghai Translation Grant" includes this statement:

. . . Howard Goldblatt is an international master in translating Chinese contemporary literature and he has translated a dozen works of Mo Yan into English over several decades, which makes him one of the 'contributors behind the scene' for Mo Yan's winning of the Nobel Prize in Literature."

Born in 1939, Goldblatt misses the cut for Nanjing $$ by more than 30 years.

 Bruce Humes, July 18, 2015, 7:37p.m.


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