Paper Republic: Chinese Literature Matters

'Silent conversation': authors and translators on their unique relationship

“The Ma Jian I translate is a very different entity from the Ma Jian I live with,” says Drew. “There is never any confusion. I never feel I’m translating the words of the person I’ve just had supper with, or who’s just taken our children to the park. Knowing him so well though means I can in some strange way become him, and write the translation not as a friend or a translator, but as Ma would if he were writing the book in English...“


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